Treating Pigmentation: Tyrosinase Inhibitors (Correctives)

There are multiple approaches one should take when addressing hyperpigmentation, but inhibiting tyrosinase is one that is very important!

"Tyrosinase plays as a rate-limiting enzyme in the synthesis of melanin, therefore, controlling the activity of enzyme by tyrosinase inhibitors is an essential step in diminishing hyperpigmentation!"

Whether we are treating sun-induced pigmentation or PIH (Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation), inhibiting tyrosinase is an important step in getting rid of discoloration.

"Melanins, the main pigment primarily responsible in the skin, hair and eyes pigmentation of human, are produced by melanocytes through a process called melanogenesis".

"Melanogenesis and skin pigmentation are the most important photoprotective factor in response to ultraviolet radiation damaging from the sun and skin photo-carcinogenesis - more widely known as “sun spots.”'

On the other hand, Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH) is an acquired hypermelanosis occurring after cutaneous inflammation or injury that can arise in all skin types, but more frequently affects skin-of-color patients.

"Cutaneous inflammation can be caused by various things such as an allergic reactions (ex. From an insect bite), contact dermatitis, papulosquamous diseases like psoriasis, medication-induced PIH from hypersensitivity reactions, or cutaneous injury from irritants, burns, or cosmetic procedures, acne vulgaris, atopic dermatitis, and impetigo".

In September of 2020, the FDA made changes to hydroquinone regulations and it is no longer offered as an OTC treatment for pigmentation, however, it can still be prescribed by an MD, therefor if that is your tyrosinase inhibitor of choice- make an appointment with your dermatologist.


There are many other ingredients that work wonderfully to help diminish the look of hyperpigmentation!

Kojic Acid





Tranexamic Acid

Licorice Root

Ferulic Acid

Azelaic Acid

Ellagic Acid


A lot of brightening or skin-tone evening products will have one of these ingredients or a combination (or a combination of one and an exfoliant). The product you choose does not have to have every one of these ingredients to be effective - choose one that suits you and use daily, you should see improvement in about 12 weeks. I find it helpful to document every 4 weeks. To your naked eye it may seem as though progress is stagnant, but photos don’t lie!


PMID: 20548876

PMID: 29709918

PMID: 30734608

PMID: 20725554


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