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, 24 (8), 528-32



A K Gupta et al. Int J Dermatol.


Canthaxanthin is used as a food-coloring agent, a photoprotective agent in certain photodermatoses, a tan-simulating agent, and a pigment to darken vitiliginous skin. This article reviews the current literature on canthaxanthin and reports the evaluation of oral canthaxanthin as an artificial pigment for the management of vitiligo. Fifty-six patients were studied, using serum canthaxanthin levels, pre- and post-treatment photographs with standard conditions, physician assessment, and patient questionnaires evaluating treatment results. Canthaxanthin was rated "very satisfactory" by 10%, "satisfactory" by 35%, and "unsatisfactory" by 54% of patients. In light-skinned individuals, self-reports were "very satisfactory" in 27%, "satisfactory" in 45%, and "unsatisfactory" in 27%. In dark-skinned individuals, the treatment was less effective. Women were happier with the results than men. Major side effects were red stools and orange palms and soles. Canthaxanthin can be taken orally, is easy to use, and can be a cosmetically acceptable therapy in selected cases of vitiligo.

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