Melasma Remedies - Ted's Q&A

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Remedies Needed for Exogenous Ochronosis

Posted by M on 09/15/2008

I find your email on earth clinic and I really appreciate all your comments on the web. I would like to ask you about EXOGENOUS OCHRONOSIS and if you know about it. How can I treat it? is it completly different from melasma? Am I gonna be disfigure for the rest of my life? I developed that condition after 6 yrs of using 2% hydroquinone agent on my face. Now my face has hyperpigmentation on my chicks, nose, forehead and mouth area. I am desperate. I can't even go out and I am young! I regret using those product! They should be banned in every country. I would appreaciate for all your information. Thanks
Sincerely, M

Replied by Ted
Bangkok, Thailand
391 posts

Dear M:

There are a couple of ways used that can lower overall excessive pigmentation, where my favorites are licorice extract and magnesium ascorbyl phosphate. A licorice extract solution can be applied or taken internally for overall lightening, but the magnesium ascorbyl phosphate is often use to apply to the area. At least that's the general remedy that has to do with excessive melanin.

However, that's not really a solution for your case I believe.The problem here concerns the excessive or long term use of hydroquinone which causes the face to become worse off, or became hyperpigmented. The cause might be due to excessive burning of the skin from hydroqunione, which resulted in too much free radicals, or the excessive repairs caused by damaging effects causing the discoloration.

This happens really easy and the effects can be described as similar to the excessive use of AHA (alpha hydroxyl acid) a couple of years back to lighten the skin colors, which in long term actually darkens the skin or caused patchy discoloration of the face. This occurs because the AHA causes the upper skin to peel off before their time causing less protection against UV from the skin underneath. This in turn causes the skin underneath to suffer from radiation burns of the UV sun, which in turn causes excessive hyperpigmentation. The bad news is that hyperpigmentation can result in mild scarring by the tender skin underneat causing a permanent patchy hyperpigmented skin for a very long time.

So the damaging effects of hydroqunione works in similar ways of Alpha lipoic acid, with one clear differences. The hydroquinone only depigments only the upper part of the skin layers which protects the UV radiation. When this happens, the UV radiation digs deeper into the skin causing hyperpigmentation. In other words you are getting radiation burns even more so with the application of hydroquinone. When this happens for a very long time, scarring from hyperpigmentation is noted and the conditons becomes a permanent one since radiation burns in this case is a deep one. Once the outer layers is no longer protecting any harmful radiation, it is the lower skin layers that suffer the greatest damage.

A simpler, but milder approach around this problem is quite simple: prevention. This means that the skin is protected by UV radiation, improve circulation to remove free radicals, such as iron which ACCELERATES the hyperpigmentation. Iron is often the major cause of hyperpigmentation and a mild chelation therapy, is used. In my opinion a mild iron chelation therapy is to wash the face with green tea and then rinse the water completely off and this should reduce free radical iron, thus lessening the oxidative and damaging effects of iron is one possible way. The other route is to drink green tea once or twice a day, but with baking soda 1/4 teaspoon added so not as to cause constipation from the drinking of green tea. Green tea actually contains tannic acid, or tannins and if my budget is low on green tea, I also drank 1/8 teaspoon of tannic acid dissolved in one or two liters of water, which has the same chelation effects of free radical iron removal from the body. Tannic acid and tannins is interesting in that if you leave the water over night or a couple of days it becomes a dark color, totally black if the drinking water is high in metals such as iron, lead, cadmium and possibly mercury dissolved in the drinking water. If the body has low free radical irons, the skin gets lighter, suffer less damaging effects from radiation burns, but what happens if I already HAVE that hyperpigmentation from excessive use.

One easy way is to prepare a mixture of aloe vera oil, mixed with rice oil (which filters out UV radiation naturally) with a little amount of lavender oil to reduce allergy. The effects of the use of some aloe vera, typically anywhere from 1-10% concentration of aloe vera to help regeneration and reduce burns. Aloe creams would work also to reduce the burns and radiation burns. Vitamin E will aid in recovery and circulation if that is mixed too of any amount. Interestingly this is not applied everyday on the face, but once every other day.

As a further possibility is a twice a week or once a week use of castor oil to clean the face using a white towel. The castor oil has one unusual property: it's oil is thick and when we wipe this with a white towel it cleans deep into the skin possibly removing some discoloration in the process. How dark that is can only be noticed after wiping 2-3 times with castor oil should be more then sufficient and then this is one either once or twice a week, equally spaced.

There are a couple vitamins I believe is necessary for normal skin, one is 500 mg of Inositol, 500 mg of magnesium citrate, 1000 mg of sodium ascorbate, and 200 i.u. of vitamin E.


10/08/2008: M replies, "Dear Ted,

Thank you so much for your information and for taking time to answear my questions. What do you think of sulphur or MSM to lighten the skin. There is a website ( that promote 100% sulphur vitamin pills to lighten skin. She is originally from China and claimed to be the living proves of it She even has a book about it. I have search online forum and some people claimed that it did work. However, the doses are extremly high such as 12,000 of sulfur a day. Do you believe that to be possible? and what do you think on the high dose? is it dangerous? Thanks



10/08/2008: Ted replies, "Dear M: MSM, sodium thiosulfate (a dechlorinator) and other related sulfur compounds tend to lighten the skin, but their effects are different. For example the sodium thiosulfate is great in removing heavy metals and reduce oxidative free radicals and toxins in the body. MSM has an effect of detox although somewhat differently, but it does remove free radicals and with less oxidative free radicals does have some effect of lighten the skin, but on a deeper level since both cases they were taken internally. As to MSM dose people have differences in tolerable dose. Taking too much may cause extreme thirstiness for water and some effects of dehydration, for example. Garlic is a related sulfur compund and also has oxygenation effects from trace germanium compounds which clears the skin although somewhat less effectively then sodium thiosulfate for example. The only thing I can say is people have different tolerable dose and this varies greatly. Some cannot stand taking more then 250 or 500 mg. some can take much larger dose. My own experience indicated that I don't need to take a large dose since the point is to remove sufficient free radicals that tend to cause darkening of the skin. Taken too much can lead to allergies or skin outbreaks too, especially another form of MSM, which is DMSO. I prefer a starting with small dose taken rather than a large dose such as 250 mg and is to be drank with plenty of water. Much of the rejection of alternative medicine in fact is due to people taking too large doses, suffer from side effects then completely abandoning the whole thing. Therefore, it is best to start from the low end first for a couple of days, see its improvement before moving up a larger dose. 12,000 mg I think is too much but for someone with a bad arthritis condition this may be a close target necessary to reverse this condition, but the objective was for degenerative pain rather than a skin problem. Taking too much might also lead to skin problems too hence it is best to start on low end of the dose with plenty of water. The MSM has a detox effect in removing free radical, too much may also strain the system too much for some people, especially people who has been exposed to a lot of environmental pollution found in food and air.