Treating hyperpigmentation in darker-skinned patients

Saedi, N.; Ganesan, A.K.

Journal of Drugs in Dermatology Jdd 12(5): 563-567


ISSN/ISBN: 1545-9616
PMID: 23652952
Document Number: 15778
The treatment of hyperpigmentation in darker-skinned patients (Fitzpatrick skin phototypes III-VI) has remained challenging for dermatologists. No studies have been conducted on hyperpigmentation under the eyes, axilla, and neck in darker-skinned patients. This survey was designed to assess current treatments of hyperpigmentation in these areas. With approval from the institutional review board at the University of California, Irvine, an electronic survey was sent to practicing dermatologists that contained 18 questions regarding the approach to evaluating and treating hyperpigmentation under the eyes, in the axilla, and along the neck. Fifty dermatologists completed the survey, and 46 (92%) reported treating patients with darker skin. The ethnic groups treated were Latino (97.8%), African American (97.8%), Middle Eastern (77.6%), and Asian (88.9%). Thirty-six reported treating patients with hyperpigmentation under the eyes, and 22 (61.1%) thought the hyperpigmentation was a result of idiopathic increase in melanin deposition. Forty-two responded to treating hyperpigmentation in the axilla, most of whom thought it was related to acanthosis nigricans (69.0%) or contact dermatitis (59.5%). Forty responded to treating hyperpigmentation on the neck, most of whom treated the condition with hydroquinone (66%). Treatments for these 3 areas were not found to be effective. Hyperpigmentation under the eyes, under the arms, or on the neck is a significant problem in darker-skinned patients that is refractory to currently available treatments, highlighting the necessity of developing treatment approaches directed toward this population. Two cases of hyperpigmentation on the neck are presented, describing a new entity that primarily affects dark-skinned individuals.

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Treating hyperpigmentation in darker-skinned patients