What is the Cysteamine Whitening Cream?
The cysteamine whitening cream uses the active ingredient cysteamine, the simplest natural aminothiol produced in human cells – a metabolite of amino acid L-cysteine.
Cysteamine promotes the transport of L-cysteine into human cells. This can be further used to synthesise Glutathione, an antioxidant. Cysteamine inhibits melanin (dark pigment) synthesis in skin cells, therefore reducing pigmentation.
Is the Cysteamine Whitening Cream new?
Initially, oral Cysteamine was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for human use for cystinosis, a rare genetic disorder. However, research has found that Cysteamine has significant de-pigmenting activity such as in melasma.
But despite this, it has never been formulated into a cream due to its unpleasant sulphur odour. Efforts have enabled a stabilised form of a cysteamine whitening cream with reduced odour.
Which pigmentary disorders has the Cysteamine Whitening Cream been shown to be effective?
The cysteamine whitening cream has been shown to be effective for:
- Melasma, particularly epidermal melasma
- Lentigines (sun spots)
- Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation
- Lighten skin colour overall
How does it compare with other depigmenting creams?
Clinical studies have shown Cysteamine Cream to be superior to traditional depigmenting creams such as Hydroquinone in treating melasma.
It is also safer and gentler on human skin due to the fact that it is naturally occurring in human skin cells, and does not have carcinogenic (cancer-causing) potential in long-term use.
How should the Cysteamine Whitening Cream be used?
Cysteamine Cream can be applied any time of the year regardless of sun exposure and is suitable for all skin tones.
The cream is applied to the desired areas with pigmentation once daily and is washed off after 15 minutes using mild soap and water. After drying the skin, a moisturizer is applied.
Other tips on applying Cysteamine
- Cysteamine Cream should be applied once a day on rested, calm skin (evening or morning before a shower) to reduce skin irritation
- Exposure time can be gradually increased after 6 weeks if there are no signs of skin irritation such as redness or dryness
- Sunscreen should still be continued daily
- To maintain its effects, cysteamine cream should be continued at least twice a week indefinitely
How soon should I expect to see results?
A reduction in pigmentation is seen after 6 weeks. Optimal results are seen after 8 – 12 weeks.
Are there any side effects?
As Cysteamine is naturally occurring in human cells, it is a very safe medication. It may cause temporary burning sensation or redness that goes away within 30 minutes.
More persistent skin irritation should be treated with moisturisers. To date, no serious adverse side effects have been reported with Cysteamine use.
Cysteamine Cream should not be used in those with a personal or family history of Vitiligo, a depigmenting skin disorder. It should also not be used by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as no study has been performed during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Can I combine this with treatments?
- Kasraee B. “Deodorized cysteamine* as a depigmenting agent for the treatment of melasma.”Pigment Cell Melanoma Research. 2017;30:e27–e137
- Farshi S. et al. “Efficacy of Cysteamine Cream in the treatment of melasma.”Journal of Dermatological Treatment July 2017
- Mansouri P. et al. “Evaluation of the efficacy of cysteamine 5% cream in the treatment of epidermal melasma: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial.”British Journal of Dermatology (2015) 173, pp 209-217
- Hsu C. et al. “Cysteamine cream as a new skin depigmenting product.”Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2013) 68:4-1 AB189
[7 November 2018] A blog post by Dr. Gabriel Wong
Having graduated from the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine – Dr Gabriel Wong worked in several hospitals in Singapore where he honed his medical acumen.
Fate was at work when he met Dr Kelvin Chua, which sparked his interest in aesthetic medicine.
Growing from strength to strength under the tutelage of Dr Chua, Gabriel developed an eye for detail and beauty – perfectly in tune with aesthetic medicine, a confluence of art and science.
He applies this in a range of non-invasive procedures such as Botox treatments, soft tissue augmentation (Dermal Fillers with the Cannula Method), skin rejuvenation with lasers, and effective acne and acne scar treatments (Fractional CO2 Laser, subcision).
In his free time, Gabriel loves to travel in search of that perfect snapshot. His works of art have won praises by many patients.
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To contact Dr Gabriel Wong, write to .