The hyperpigmentation spots are a very frequent cutaneous alteration especially in the female sex and are characterized by an increase, localized or widespread, of melanin in the skin with normal or increased density of the cutaneous melanocytes. Excess melanin can be deposited at the epidermal and / or dermal level. In the first case there will be a brown pigmentation, in the second a bluish gray hue.

The most frequent forms are solar freckles, post-inflammatory inflammations and melasma. Solar freckles are single spots typically found in the photo areas exposed above all to the face, neck, décolleté and back of the hands. They have a negative social impact as they are considered a sign of aging in fact they are present in more than 90% of Caucasians over 50 years. Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation occurs after an inflammation that has affected the skin, such as acne, burns, peeling, cryotherapy, especially in subjects with high phototype.

Melasma is a hyperpigmentation that affects the female sex and dark skin types in 90% of cases. The locations on which it manifests are those photos exposed: the forehead, the cheeks, the upper lip and the chin. It can occur with a single spot but usually the spots are multiple and symmetrically arranged on the face.

All the stains affecting the face have a psychological impact on the quality of life, also aggravated by the fact that in many cases they tend to resist treatment and / or relapse frequently.

The common topical agents currently used for the treatment of hyperpigmentation are hydroquinone, retinoids, glycolic acid and azelaic acid (Lynde 2006). However, these compounds can cause adverse effects, mostly in the form of skin irritation.

Hydroquinone, a very effective depigmenting agent, has been used for many years for the treatment of hypermelanosis in concentrations greater than or equal to 4%. However, at high doses it often causes irritation, presents the risk of toxicity related to prolonged use and can rarely produce unpleasant skin hypopigmentation called ocronosis. For this reason the use of hydroquinone as a skin witening agent has been banned. The use and sale and purchase of hydroquinone in the member countries of the UE is prohibited by the Cosmetic Regulation 1223/2009.

It is for this reason that the search for effective lightening molecules continues, burdened by a lower risk of side effects and new cosmetic formulations.


In our study, we evaluated the effectiveness of a new active lightening effect on volunteers with hyperchromic facial spots.