Almost everyone worries about those dreaded dark spots in their lifetime – that is, sun spots, age spots, liver spots. (haha ) All joking aside, hyperpigmentation and melasma often require serious treatments. And since 1982, the gold standard in dermatologists’ offices has been hydroquinone, a potent tyrosinase inhibitor that may also work by inducing cytotoxicity in melanocytes. However, even though hydroquinone has been found in numerous studies to be safe (as mentioned in a 2006 review in theJournal of the American Academy of Dermatology ), the ingredient has still been banned in some countries, including France and South Africa, for concerns about increased cancer risk and ochronosis (darkening of the skin) with its use.
With that concern in mind, Stanford University researchers recently developed LumixylTM, a complex of oligopeptides (0.1% w/w) that has been found to significantly inhibit tyrosinase, the rate-limiting enzyme in melanin production. According to a 2009 study inThe Journal of Drugs in Dermatology, Lumixyl TM also improved melasma and overall facial aesthetics in five female participants – a significant finding in such a well-controlled study, though the sample size was small. Still, as researchers report, Lumixyl TM seems to hold great promise for treating hyperpigmentation and melasma. As I learned in a recent opportunity to interview Lumixyl TM scientists, the great promise of Lumixyl TM is the product’s ability to “deliver efficacy similar to hydroquinone, without the potential toxicity”.