Dermatology: how to manage facial hyperpigmentation in skin of colour

Siddiq Moolla, Yvette Miller-Monthrope


Hyperpigmentation disorders, such as post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma, are common conditions affecting all skin types. These conditions are largely benign and are influenced by numerous endogenous and exogenous factors impacting melanocyte activity and melanin production. Current treatment modalities for these conditions fall into broad categories, including photoprotection, topical and systemic therapies, chemical peels, and laser or light-based therapies. Biological differences in skin of colour require additional consideration when deciding on treatment and management. This narrative review provides an inclusive summary of these conditions and compares the current treatment options with a specific focus on skin of colour. Photoprotection and sunscreens protective against both UV and visible light are recommended for all individuals. Topical therapy is the recommended first-line treatment, with the gold standard being hydroquinone, which can be used alone or in combination with other agents. Chemical peels and laser or light-based therapies are also effective adjunctive methods of treatment; however, caution should be taken when used in patients with richly pigmented skin due to the increased risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

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Accepted: ; Published: .


Moolla S, Miller-Monthrope Y. Dermatology: how to manage facial hyperpigmentation in skin of colour. Drugs Context. 2022;11:2021-11-2.

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