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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Black Pepper Treats Skin Pigment Disease

Vitiligo is a skin pigment condition where areas of the skin lose normal pigment color and turn white, leaving the skin spotty and patchy in color. The disease is highly visible and can not only affect patients emotionally and psychologically, but when treated with phototherapy using UV radiation (UVR), a common treatement for vitiligio, can also increase their chances of developing skin cancer.

It is estimated that one in 100 people are affected with the disease and while the most popular treatment for the disease is corticosteroids applied to the skin, less than 25% of patients respond successfully to the treatment.

To try and find a better treatment for vitiligo, a team of researchers from King’s College London took the compound that gives black
its spicy flavor – piperine – along with its synthetic derivatives, and applied it to the skin of mice. This was done alone and followed by ultra violet radiation (UVR).

When piperine (and derivatives) were used alone, an even light brown color could be seen within six weeks. It stimulated pigmentation. Combined with UVR, the skin became darker still in a shorter amount of time and lasted longer than the results of peperine alone. The combined treatment with UVR also gave a more even pigmentation.

Scientists are excited about the results of the study and believe that it is unquestionable: peperine stimulates melanocytes – the skin’s pigment cells.

Beta Carotene

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