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July 1975

Melanization and Therapy for Psoriasis

Author Affiliations

Needham, Mass

Arch Dermatol. 1975;111(7):928-929. doi:10.1001/archderm.1975.01630190118024

To the Editor.—  The recent interest in photosensitizers in the treatment of psoriasis1-4 underscores the fact that many known modalities for treating this disorder are associated with increased melanization: natural and artificial ultraviolet irradiation (with and without photosensitizing agents), grenz irradiation,5(p1,215) arsenicals,5(pp1,215,1,266) and crude coal tar. Yet, increased melanization itself has not been considered responsible for the beneficial effect of these modalities.I have considered the possibility that increased melanization itself may be a mechanism for suppressing psoriasis. The low incidence of psoriasis in blacks (and perhaps other dark-skinned races) supports this possibility.To test this hypothesis, I initiated a preliminary study of the effect of topical melanins on psoriasis in July 1974. A synthetic melanin produced by auto-oxidation of p-benzoquinone at alkaline pH (benzoquinone melanin) was selected because it has a higher solubility than melanins derived from the oxidation of dopa or catecholamines. A 6%

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