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Pigment Cell Res. 2001 Jun;14(3):155-60.

Approaches to increasing skin melanin with MSH analogs and synthetic melanins.

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Department of Dermatology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8059, USA.


Increased public awareness of ultraviolet (UV) radiation-induced skin cancers has lead to new interest in technologies for protection from sun exposure. Although many sun protection formulations are available, few of them attempt to achieve that provided by melanin itself, i.e., wide-spectrum absorbance of radiant energy coupled with anti-oxidant activity from a single product. In that regard, technologies in two separate areas are at or near the commercialization stage: 1) hormonal enhancement of natural skin melanin content, and 2) inclusion of natural and synthetic melanins in cosmetic formulations to impart melanin-like color to the skin. In this article, these approaches are briefly summarized using as examples Melanotans I and II, superpotent analogs of the melanin-stimulating hormone melanocortin (MSH), and Melasyn, a group of plant-derived synthetic melanins that have successfully been incorporated into cosmetic formulations for use as sun protectants and as cover-ups for problems resulting from uneven pigmentation, such as seen in vitiligo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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