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Friday, 15 February 2008

A component of black pepper may offer future help to people with vitiligo, a condition that causes pale patches to develop on the skin.

Black pepper could cure skin condition

Extract from the Telegraph:

"A key component of black pepper could offer hope to people suffering vitiligo, a condition that causes pale patches to develop on the skin.

A study on mice found that the compound piperine, which makes black pepper pungent, can stimulate the skin to produce pigment.

Some derivatives of the compound created in the laboratory have a similar effect, the study showed.

Results were better when the compounds were used alongside a standard therapy involving ultraviolet light.

Vitiligo is a fairly common condition that affects around one in 100 people in the UK.

It causes pale, white patches to develop on the skin due to a lack of the pigment melanin.

Melanin gives the skin its colour and helps protect it from the sun's harmful rays.

Vitiligo is commonly noticeable on the face, neck and hands and can be particularly pronounced in people with darker skins.

The research by King's College London was published in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Professor Antony Young, a photobiologist at St John's Institute of Dermatology at King's and one of the study's authors, said: "We have shown that topical treatment with piperine stimulates even pigmentation in the skin."

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