Topical Botanical Helps Acne With Postinflammatory Hypopigmentation



NEW ORLEANS – Topical bakuchiol cream, derived from a botanical that has been used for centuries in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine, is a novel treatment for facial acne vulgaris that may be particularly well suited for patients with Fitzpatrick skin types III-VI because of their vulnerability to postinflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Results of a small, open-label, pilot study indicate that 0.6% bakuchiol cream (also known as UP256 or Bakutrol) is effective and very well tolerated in this setting, Dr. Alan R. Shalita reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology.

Bakuchiol is a proprietary analog of resveratrol, found in the skin of red grapes. Bakuchiol is derived from the seeds of the babchi plant, Psoralea corylifolia, long used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine to treat a variety of skin diseases, including psoriasis, fungal and bacterial infections, and alopecia. It is believed to have antimicrobial, antiscarring, and anti-inflammatory properties, especially for inflammatory diseases that are mediated by cyclooxygenase and lipoxygenase, noted Dr. Shalita, professor and chairman of the department of dermatology at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, Brooklyn.

The 16-week study included 13 patients aged 12-30 years with facial acne vulgaris and Fitzpatrick skin types III-V. Of these 13 patients, 12 had acne-related postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH). Eligibility was restricted to patients who had been off topical antiacne medications for at least 14 days, off systemic antibiotics for 30 days, and off oral retinoids for 2 years.

During the study, 7 of 13 (54%) subjects achieved a greater-than-35% reduction from baseline in inflammatory acne lesions, and 5 (39%) had a greater-than-35% decrease in noninflammatory lesions. A greater-than-35% reduction in total lesion count was documented in three patients.

Acne-related PIH was judged clear or nearly clear at 16 weeks of follow-up by Investigator’s Global Assessment in 5 of 12 (42%) affected patients.

The only adverse event occurring in the study was mild skin dryness and peeling, noted by one patient. No one experienced itching or erythema.

Bakuchiol cream and other topical formulations of the botanical are being developed by Unigen, a natural products company involved in cosmeceuticals, dietary supplements, and animal health. Dr. Shalita declared having received research grants from and/or serving as a consultant to numerous pharmaceutical companies involved in acne therapies.

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