New treatment for melasma

The hyperpigmentation disorder melasma can be distressing for patients. It may be managed conservatively by following sun protection measures, avoiding known trigger factors and using cosmetic camouflage

Melasma is resistant to treatment, but therapeutic options that may help to improve the appearance of the condition include skin-lightening products, such as hydroquinone, as well as chemical peels, dermabrasion and laser treatment, all of which may be associated with side-effects.

A prospective, double-blind, vehicle-controlled, randomised study was conducted to assess the efficacy and safety of a new combination of retinoids to treat melasma.

The new treatment incorporates the topical retinoids retinol glycospheres and hydroxypinacolone retinoate, along with other depigmenting ingredients, including N-acetylglucosamine, kojic acid and niacinamide, and photoprotective ingredients.

A team of researchers in Spain tested the new product in 30 patients with melasma. The product was applied twice a day on one side of the face for three months, while the vehicle was applied on the other side.

Standardised photographs were taken three times – at the start of the study, after one and a half months and at the end of the three-month study. The hemifacial Melasma Area Severity Index was measured to estimate any improvement in the patients' condition.

The change in Melasma Area Severity Index score on the treated side was significant compared with the vehicle side, with an improvement of 70%.

No notable side-effects were reported, even though most of the patients in the study had a history of sensitive skin. This new treatment was shown to be efficacious and safe in treating patients with melasma.

Truchuelo MT, Jimenez N, Jaen P. J Cosmet Dermatol 2014; 13: 261-8

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