New horizons in treating disorders of hyperpigmentation in skin of color

Semin Cutan Med Surg. 2012 Jun;31(2):133-9. doi: 10.1016/j.sder.2012.03.001.


Pigmentary abnormalities are among the most common reasons why patients with skin of color visit a dermatologist. Hydroquinone has been a cornerstone for the treatment of hyperpigmentation; however, concerns regarding adverse effects have prompted a search for alternative agents. Some promising topical treatments include soy, licorice, rucinol, mulberry, niacinamide, ellagic acid, resveratrol, and dioic acid. Oral agents, primarily used for the prevention of postprocedural hyperpigmentation, include procyanidins, tranexamic acid, and Polypodium leucotomos. Advances in Q-switched lasers, intense pulse light, fractional photothermolysis, and the advent of tretinoin peeling add to the clinician's armamentarium for treating hyperpigmentation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Administration, Topical
  • Chemexfoliation / methods*
  • Dermatologic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Dermatologic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroquinones / adverse effects
  • Hyperpigmentation / ethnology*
  • Hyperpigmentation / prevention & control
  • Hyperpigmentation / therapy*
  • Laser Therapy / methods*
  • Radiation-Protective Agents / adverse effects
  • Skin Pigmentation*


  • Dermatologic Agents
  • Hydroquinones
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • hydroquinone