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Dermatol Surg. 2005 Jul;31(7 Pt 2):886-9; discussion 889.

Review of skin-lightening agents.

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Department of Dermatology, Dermatology and Aesthetic Center, Boca Raton, Florida 33486, USA.



Multiple agents are available for the treatment of hyperpigmentation, a cosmetically important condition seen most often in middle-aged and elderly individuals and resulting from exposure to ultraviolet light, certain drugs or chemicals, or the existence of disease. Many skin-lightening agents cause skin irritation and require months of use before results appear, and some agents are only partly effective.


To help dermatologists make an informed decision when choosing a depigmenting agent.


A review of all depigmenting agents used alone and in combination, including its natural properties and information about safety, efficacy, and optimal dosing.


The speed of efficacy and type and extent of side effects vary greatly among depigmenting agents. Knowing the properties associated with each agent enables a physician to choose a product that will best meet a patient's expectations and minimize adverse reactions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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