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JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Periorbital hyperpigmentation: review of etiology, medical evaluation, and aesthetic treatment

Wendy E Roberts
Journal of Drugs in Dermatology: JDD 2014, 13 (4): 472-82
24719068
Periorbital hyperpigmentation (POH) is a common worldwide problem. It is challenging to treat, complex in pathogenesis, and lacking straightforward and repeatable therapeutic options. It may occur in the young and old, however the development of dark circles under the eyes in any age is of great aesthetic concern because it may depict the individual as sad, tired, stressed, and old. While "dark circles" are seen in all skin types, POH is often more commonly seen in skin of color patients worldwide. With a shifting US demographic characterized by growing number of aging patients as well as skin of color patients, we will encounter POH with greater frequency. As forecasted by the US Census, by 2030 1 in 5 Americans will be 65 plus years old and greater than 50% of the population will possess ethnic skin of color. The disparity in the medical community's understanding of POH versus popular demand for treatment is best illustrated when you have only 65 cited articles to date indexed on PubMed line compared to the 150,000,000 results on Google search engine. Most importantly POH may be a final common pathway of dermatitis, allergy, systemic disorders, sleep disturbances, or nutritional deficiences that lends itself to medical, surgical, and cosmeceutical treatments. A complete medical history with ROS and physical examination is encouraged prior to treating the aesthetic component. Sun protection is a cornerstone of therapy. Safety issues are of utmost concern when embarking upon treatments such as chemical peeling, filler injection, and laser therapy as not to worsen the pigmentation. Without intervention, POH usually progresses over time so early intervention and management is encouraged. The objective of this study was to review the current body of knowledge on POH, provide the clinician with a guide to the evaluation and treatment of POH, and to present diverse clinical cases of POH that have responded to different therapies including non-ablative fractional photothermolysis in two skin of color patients.

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