A blog post by Dr. Gabriel Wong
What is Cysteamine?
Cysteamine is 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, which can be further used to synthesize Glutathione, one of the most powerful antioxidants. Cysteamine inhibits melanin synthesis in skin cells, therefore reducing pigmentation.
Is Cysteamine really that new?
Oral Cysteamine has already been approved by US FDA for human use for cystinosis, a rare genetic disorder. Cysteamine has been shown by researchers in laboratory studies to have significant de-pigmenting activity, but it has never been formulated into a cream due to its very unpleasant sulphur odour. New technology has enabled a stabilized form of cysteamine cream with significantly reduced odour.
Which pigmentary disorders has it been shown to be effective?
Cysteamine cream has been shown to be effective for:
- Melasma, especially 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 Cysteamine 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 a mild soap and water. After drying the skin, a moisturizer is applied.
Some 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 moisturizers. To date, no serious adverse side effects has 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 in pregnant or breastfeeding women, as no study has been performed during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- 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
Having graduated from a leading medical school in the Asia-Pacific region – 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.
Despite his young age, Gabriel has garnered a loyal following due to his unique gift, which he applies in a range of non-invasive procedures such as Botox treatments, soft tissue augmentation (Dermal Fillers with the latest virtually painless 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 the in search of that perfect snapshot. His works of art have won praises by many patients.
For more information, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To contact Dr Gabriel Wong, write to email@example.com.