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Bye Bye, Dark Spots! Everything to Know About Thiamidol for Hyperpigmentation

Photo by Ayo Banton/Getty Images

What do vitamin C, retinol, tranexamic acid, kojic acid, and niacinamide all have in common? They fight facial hyperpigmentation for all skin types and skin tones, including sensitive skin. These are the pesky dark spots that accumulate over time, thanks to sun exposure—without adequate sun protection—among other things. The skin condition is one of the biggest skin concerns due to melanoma potential and appearance (there’s nothing like a dark spot to get in the way of your pursuit of a flawless face). 

While we’re at it, you can add newcomer thiamidol to the list. The molecule has only made waves within the last few years, and mainly in Europe. Truthfully, there really isn’t a ton of information out there about the dark-spot interceptor, but with the help of key dermatology experts and our own research, we’re here to bring you as much as we can. Once you learn more, you’ll understand why regular use of thiamidol for skin is an asset. Keep reading for everything we’re able to provide about incorporating thiamidol into your skincare routine.

About the Experts: 
Noreen Galaria, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of INNER GLOW nutraceutical vitamins. 
Martin Smith, MD, is a double board-certified allergist and immunologist at The Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, and cofounder of UNTOXICATED SKINCARE.

What Is Thiamidol?

Helps Fade Pigment

Thiamidol has been compared to hydroquinone, an extremely powerful (and controversial) lightening ingredient. Many professionals advise against hydroquinone, and it’s also been banned in parts of the world. In fact, hydroquinone is on the IPSY Out List. While minimal research exists on thiamidol, from what we know, this ingredient has a similar ability to help fade pigment, but without irreversible side effects like ochronosis

“Hyperpigmentation is a major concern that affects an estimated 80 million Americans,” Dr. Galaria says. “It’s caused by excess brown pigment or melanin. We know that the production of melanin can be increased by UV exposure, injury (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), and certain medical and hormonal conditions.”

Helps Prevent Pigment 

In addition to fading already-existing pigment, “Thiamidol has been shown to block tyrosinase and therefore slow hyperpigmentation,” Dr. Galaria says. “As the skin cells shed in the top layers of our skin, patients gradually see their brown patches or pigment spots fade. That said, the treatment of pigment and especially melasma is most effective when done multi-modally with an approach that includes sunscreen, vitamins, and topical treatments.” 

Are There Any Side Effects?

Though there have been only small studies that have evaluated thiamidol’s safety, Dr. Smith says up to 8% of people can develop an allergic reaction called contact dermatitis. “This is a delayed allergic rash that can happen two to four days after application and can last for three weeks,” he explains. 

Due to the high risk of allergic reaction, “I’d absolutely recommend anyone new to thiamidol do a patch test first,” the doctor advises. “This can be done on a small area of your forearm where you apply the product twice daily for a week. Contact dermatitis is unfortunately a risk for most ‘actives' you find in skincare products, which is why I created my own skincare line that eliminates 128 of the most common allergens in skincare.”

How to Use Thiamidol for Your Skin

While little research is available on thiamidol formulation, what we do know is that EUCERIN had it packed into a serum, meaning we’d apply it the way we would any other serum. We’d start by cleansing the skin, applying the serum, letting it sit for at least a minute, and then topping it off with moisturizer and SPF.

Because products with thiamidol are tough to track, we’re recommending a few favs that can potentially have similar results. The vitamin C–based GOLDFADEN MD Light Treatment - Dark Spot Corrector helps with sunspots, melasma, and acne scars. We also stand by the cult-favorite MURAD Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum for those pesky isolated dark marks.

Want in on all the IPSY fun? Take our Beauty Quiz now to get started with your own IPSY beauty subscription. Already an IPSY member? Refer your friends to earn points, which you can use toward products. Either way, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram and TikTok @IPSY.

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About the author
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira
Dahvi Shira is a Los Angeles-based beauty writer, who has a passion for hair, makeup, and skincare. She contributes regularly to Mane Addicts and her blog, Skyelyfe. Her work has also appeared on Glossy, People, E!, Sweety High and more.
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Article Last Updated May 20, 2024 12:00 AM