Ethnic Skin Care and Pigmentation
The following information is provided by Marie Piantino, LE, co-owner of MS Skintechnical, Phoenix, and a Healthy Aging editorial advisory board member. Healthy Aging, in cooperation with MS Skintechnical, is proud to offer this checklist for patients. An electronic version is also available on the “Patient Handout” section of

What causes uneven pigmentation?

For individuals with a lot of pigment in their skin, an injury such as a burn may result in post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. First, the site of injury will turn red and become sore. Next, the individual will see gradual darkening of that area.
Resurfacing products

Light discoloration can be corrected by a pigment lightener containing ingredients such as: Kojic Acid (8%) – Derived from mushrooms (aspergillus) and found to inhibit melanin formation. L-Arbutin (6%) – A strong lightening from bearberry. Found to be a melanocyte inhibitor, it works on lightening the dark spots and hyperpigmentation and is nontoxic. Songyi Mushroom Extract (Tricholoma Matsutake) – Helps even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation. It will naturally lighten the skin without causing redness and irritation. Lumiskin™ (Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Diacetyl Boldine) – Enhances skin’s lightening and inhibits tyrosinase activity. Melanostatine® 5 – (Water and Dextran and Nonapeptide-1) A biomimetic peptide specific antagonist of the MelanocyteStimulating Hormone that inhibits hyperpigmentation and tyrosinase activity.
Prescription lighteners

Some products designed to resurface the skin also can cause irritation, resulting in the area getting sore or dry, then dark.

Acne can create trauma to the skin, as there is bacteria involved in creating infection. The area will turn red and eventually starts to heal, only to leave a brown mark where the acne occurred. This is another form of inflammatory hyperpigmentation that can be treated with topicals. Some acne products that contain salicylic acid can help with the break out and pigmentation, but it is helpful to use an anti-inflammatory and sunscreen.

Irregularly high hormone levels can create a higher production of melanin activity, which may result in certain dark areas. Sometimes it can be from medication, so consult a physician.

What helps reduce uneven pigmentation?
Topical skin lighteners

Hydroquinone is an ingredient that can be sold either through an aesthetician in 4 % or less or, for a higher percent, via a prescription from a dermatologist. It’s important to also use sunscreen to avoid the hyperpigmented area darkening even more.

Products designed to help remove excessive pigmentation are available by prescription from a physician, through a professional aesthetician or over the counter, depending on what’s needed for the severity of the discoloration.

For more health and beauty tips, go to our patient resource center at


This patient education handout further explains an issue related to your health. This handout is a general guide only. If you have specific questions, discuss them with your physician.

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