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April 28, 1962


JAMA. 1962;180(4):321-322. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050170053011

Although the depigmenting action of monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone (monobenzone) was discovered more than 20 years ago and has aroused much interest, especially among physicians and basic scientists concerned with cutaneous pigmentation, the practical usefulness of this compound in the management of pigmentary disorders has been beset with most serious and yet intriguing difficulties and limitations. One difficulty is the high incidence of primary irritancy and allergic sensitization encountered with the topical use of this material. A more unusual and even greater problem is the lack of predictability of its effect on cutaneous pigmentation. Many persons fail to develop any depigmentation from monobenzone, whereas others develop unsightly and sometimes apparently permanent, spotty, locally complete depigmentation which may even extend to areas not treated. Still others may actually hyperpigment following application of the substance, and some may even develop a most bizarre, spotty leukomelanoderma. This latter situation has been encountered especially