British researchers at King’s College in London have demonstrated in mice that piperine – the compound that gives black pepper its spicy, pungent flavor – helps stimulate pigmentation.
Piperine was shown to be particularly effective when combined with phototherapy (light)treatment using ultraviolet radiation. The research provides support for the future clinical evaluation of topical piperine and its derivatives as treatments for vitiligo. Vitiligo results in skin whitening due to destruction of melanin; it’s a condition that pop star Michael Jackson has attributed his gradual skin whitening to. Melanin is the pigment which gives skin its color and is of particular concern in people with darker skin.
Treatments for Vitiligo
Current treatments for vitiligo include steroids applied to patchy skin and phototherapy, but many people don’t respond to steroids and phototherapy can increase the risk of skin cancer.
When used alone, piperine stimulated pigmentation to an even, light brown color within six weeks. When aided by radiation, the result was even darker skin in about the same period of time.