"Potent depigmenting cream with an efficacy comparable to hydroquinone"

Global-Dermatology cysteamine hydroquinone melasma.jpg

Comparison of Cysteamine with Hydroquinone on Skin Depigmentation

Comparison of the skin depigmenting effect of Cysteamine cream with Hydroquinone

  • L-cysteamine (alpha-mercaptoethylamine) is a potent skin depigmenting agent known since more than 4 decades. However, due to its very offensive odor, it has never been used as a topical depigmenting agent. Recently, a new technology has become available that permits to significantly reduce the odor of L-cysteamine in topical preparations, making it utilizable as a topical depigmenting product.
  •  In this study, we have compared the depigmenting effect of cysteamine cream with 4% topical hydroquinone. Six were treated once daily for 10 days with cysteamine cream and on the other side with 4% hydroquinone cream. Six controls were treated with the vehicle alone.
  • Dermacatch® colorimetry was performed at the beginning and at the end of the study. Biopsies were taken at the end of the trial and were processed for H&E, Fontana-Masson, Melan-A, HMB-45 and spectrophotometric melanin quantification in the splitted epidermis.
  • Dermacatch colorimetry and melanin quantitation in the splitted epidermis confirmed the significant depigmenting effect of both formulations. Histologic and immunohistologic examinations confirmed the depigmenting effect of cysteamine cream as well as hydroquinone and provided clues to the understanding of the mechanism of action of cysteamine. No statistically significant difference was found between the epidermal melanin content in cysteamine treated samples and hydroquinone treated skin.
  • Cysteamine cream appears to be a potent depigmenting cream with an efficacy comparable to hydroquinone and might be considered for the treatment of skin hyperpigmentary disorders in future.

Pourahmadi M., Ahmadi S., Bazafkan S., Zahraie N., Hsu C. from Jahrom University Medical School, Jahrom, Iran, and Lignon Medical Center, Geneva, Switzerland

Presented at 17th Meeting of the European Society for Pigment Cell Research (ESPCR)  – Geneva, Switzerland