More than Skin Deep: Dermatology Compounding for Pigmentation Disorders and Children’s Skin Issues
When you think of the dermatologist you may think of high school and acne, but modern dermatological practices are extremely sophisticated. Dermatology compounding is an extremely hot area for specialty compounding pharmacy providers; this is in part a function of the increased ability of health care providers to treat visible skin conditions with compounded prescriptions. In short, although dermatology compounding can definitely help clear skin, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s examine some of the conditions for which compounding can be extremely effective, making it a profitable option for pharmacies and dermatology practices.
Dermatology Compounding for Acne
Acne vulgaris, mostly known as acne, is a common skin problem that for many people is also chronic. Acne vulgaris is caused by the blockage and/or inflammation of the hair follicles and the sebaceous glands that go with them; together these are called the pilosebaceous units. Compounded topical medications such as topical spironolactone gel are popular in the treatment of mild to moderate acne vulgaris. This is because topical spironolactone appears to be effective for dermatology patients with increased sebum secretion. At least one research study found that 5 percent spironolactone topical gel reduced the number of acne lesions in acne vulgaris patients. Compounded topical medications including 4 percent nicotinamide are also effective in the treatment of acne and, unlike the use of clindamycin, for example, do not present risks associated with the production of resistant microorganisms.
Custom Compounding for Lice and Scabies
Head lice are actually parasites that can cause infections on the heads of people. Because head lice itch, most people who get infestations in their hair scratch their scalps. Breaking the skin in this way can cause infection, referred to as pediculosis. Scabies are also parasites; these breed and eat under human skin. They cause annoying and painful itching and can cause grey lines to appear on the skin.
Concerns about microbial resistance and the possible health risks associated with the use of permethrin have led pharmaceutical and healthcare professionals to research effective alternative therapies, especially those that can be used repeatedly without risk. Some parents opt for herbal compounded medications alone. Others choose to use ivermectin custom compounded for topical use, or custom compounded for more tailored oral use. Another alternative is 1 percent topical lindane lotion which can be compounded for topical application overnight.
Specialty Compounding for Melasma and Vitiligo
Melasma is a condition that results in the hyperpigmentation of portions of the body, especially the neck and face, that are exposed to light. It is exacerbated by birth control pills, pregnancy, and sunlight exposure. Several custom pharmacy treatments for melasma can be compounded, including chemical peels with alpha lipoic acid (ALA), azelaic acid, glycolic acid, kojic acid, or trichloroacetic acid, combined or singly. Custom compounded creams containing glycolic acid, hydroquinone, sunscreen, and vitamins C and E are also effective and popular with various dermatology and cosmetic specialist practices. Azelaic acid, hydroquinone, and kojic acid are also known for their anti-aging properties.
Vitiligo is a disease that causes the skin to lose color in blotches. Vitiligo is unpredictable; it can impact any part of the face, body, and hair, and once it strikes, how much color is lost from the skin and the rate of loss will vary. Melanin in the eyes, hair, and skin is the normal source of pigmentation; vitiligo comes about when melanin producing cells die or stop working properly. Some research has found that vitiligo patients have high levels of hydrogen peroxide in their epidermis which causes low catalase levels. Compounded topical prescriptions of pseudocatalase cream that is UVB-activated has been shown to effectively remove epidermal H2O2. This is turn can help the skin regain color in many cases. Topical base with phenylalanine has also been shown to assist vitiligo patients. This is because L-phenylalanine is essential to the proper functioning of melanocytes, cells that create pigment in skin.
These fascinating ways that custom dermatology compounding can assist patients are just the beginning. Next time, we will finish out our roundup in this lucrative and high-demand area for compounding pharmacy providers.
For information about dermatology compounding and other topical medications, please contact Pharmaceutica North America. We are proud to be your resource for high-quality bulk compounding materials, and can advise you about treatment regimens and effective carrying agents.