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Natural options for the management of hyperpigmentation


  • Conflict of interest
    Warren Wallo is an employee of Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc, the manufacturer of AVEENO® products. The preparation of this manuscript was sponsored in full by Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products EAME. James J Leyden MD, Bav Shergill MBBS MRCP, Giuseppe Micali MD and Jeanine Downie MD, are consultants for Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc.

W. Wallo. E-mail:


Facial hyperpigmented disorders are a common complaint in the adult population of all races. First-line topical treatments are usually hydroquinone or topical retinoids, which can cause irritant reactions. The need for better tolerated, yet effective, skin lightening agents that could be utilized by a wider population has led to the investigation of several potential botanical/natural compounds. There are currently many topical cosmetic formulations claiming skin depigmenting effects. A few of the ingredients (e.g. soy) are supported not only by in vitro results but also by a body of controlled clinical efficacy studies; other ingredients, instead, are backed mostly by in vitro data and a few small uncontrolled clinical studies. In this review, we describe the most common natural ingredients used for skin depigmentation and their major published studies: soy, licorice extracts, kojic acid, arbutin, niacinamide, N-acetylglucosamine, COFFEEBERRY and green tea.