[ Note from hobby: I split the following 5 posts from the chemical peeling thread. This deserves its own thread.]
As a long-time lurker whose found his questions amply answered by the search feature, I haven’t felt the need to contribute. There are many very intelligent posters here with analytical curiosity; most problems aren’t long for the world before solutions are forged from a combination of pointed Internet searches and quick informational breakdown. I’m entirely grateful for this fact.
This problem of discoloration has irked me for quite some time. Like hobby first hypothesized in 2003, my feeling is that hemosiderin is responsible for the more severe and long-lasting discoloration recalcitrant to superficial exfoliation and “healing salves” (arnica, vitamin K, etc.). Of course, to presume all discoloration is the result of hemosiderin deposits ignores the very real possibility of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which forms under similar conditions (damage to capillaries and dermal/epidermal inflammation). With the latter, treatments such as hydroquinone or kojic acid would be effective as the condition is melanin-caused. Unfortunately, hemosiderin is an iron decomposing product and is infamously stubborn to post-operative treatments when it occurs (hemosiderin staining occurs amongst 10-30% of scerlotherapy patients, largely when injecting the sclerosing agent incorrectly into superficial veins). Most of this is well-known, and I’m probably belaboring the obvious.
Hobby’s feeling that the most efficient means of dealing with hemosiderin deposits is medium-depth chemical peeling gels with my train-of-thought. In fact, the only mentioned treatment amongst the very few medical articles referring to hemosiderin staining is medium-depth trichloroacetic acid (TCA) peeling, generally of 10-25% concentration which is sufficient to penetrate to the papillary dermis, hypothesized to be the site of most hemosiderin deposition. Although demonstratively effective thanks to hobby’s exploratory self-trial, this treatment bears a few obvious disadvantages:
1.) It’s painful. While “no pain, no gain” is certainly a justified philosophy when dealing with an aesthetic condition causing sufficient anxiety to warrant suffering through a few minutes of stinging, it’s undeniable a gentle, painless treatment would be preferable (if it indeed exists).
2.) Downtime. Medium-depth peels cause destruction down to the papillary dermis—the uppermost layer of the dermis just below the basal layer of the epidermis—as well as inflammation of the reticular dermis, the middle layer of the dermis comprising most of the skin’s volume. A resting time of 7-10 days is necessary for proper healing, with 3-4 weeks of rest being ideal before subjecting treated skin to minor trauma (at the very least indicative of the trauma caused by PE). This makes a medium-depth peel inconvenient, especially if performed in the midst of active PE.
3.) Inconsistency. Although once thought to be the by-product of the collodion in the wart remover composition, later trials by other members revealed even “pure” acidic compounds (ethyl-based) suffered the hit-or-miss effectiveness of missing patches of discoloration. While errors in burning could certainly be corrected with future burns, all this goes to contribute to the inconvenience of downtime.
Negative aspects aside, when medium-depth peels presented the only viable solution to hemosiderin deposition one could hardly weigh the disadvantages heavier than the benefits. If that’s not obvious enough foreshadowing, there perhaps exists another option:
Summary: Using thioglycolic acid in concentrations ranging from .5-30% to remove hemosiderin deposits, specifically after sclerotherapy. If you are looking for the Cliff Notes, the theory is as follows: Thioglycolic acid is a strong attractor of metals; it forms complexes with metal ions when introduced. Given it’s strong affinity for binding, if thioglycolic acid could penetrate sufficiently deep through the epidermis into the papillary layer to bind with hemosiderin, the formed compound could then be more readily eliminated by the body’s waste removal. Since it’s reaction with the skin produces nearly no side effects except in cases of inappropriately-prolonged exposure, it provides a safe and simple solution to the dilemma of hemosiderin deposition.
Or, so the story goes. What instantly set off a red-flag is the fact this information is provided on a “free patent” website; given a proposed product neither confirms nor denies it’s effectiveness by virtue of having been granted a patent, what’s written could simply be hogwash. While such skepticism is certainly justified, I still felt curious; who would argue so stridently for the effectiveness of a chemical/biological interaction for the sake of selling a product? Perhaps that’s best left unanswered.
OK, so perhaps the source isn’t entirely reputable. In any event, the proposed mechanism is safe, and the active ingredient is readily available. Thioglycolic acid is a well-established and effective depilatory, typically present in powered formulations as calcium thioglycolate. What was once (and, from my own experience, still should be) toted on this forum as an effective alternative to pubic shaving, Magic Shaving Powder includes as an active ingredient calcium thioglycolate (in it’s gold and platinum-canned products). My own personal experience: Prior to summer of 2007, I used the platinum Magic Powder for removal of scrotal/shaft hair. Application would often extent upwards to just before the circ scar for the sake of completion. During this period I incurred no lasting discoloration. For comparison, during this time I used fairly vigorous high-erection jelqs and moderate clamping, two exercises which historically often contribute to discoloration. Can I be certain the MSP prevented hemosiderin deposition? Of course not. But, since the intensity of my PE has not increased since then—only the level of spotty discoloration—it is a possibility.
I have now completed two full applications of the platinum Magic Shaving Powder to my penis. This includes the whole penis—even the glans. I do not find any burning nor noticeable pain for the event. Afterwards, the skin on the penis is much smoother, and it works very well as a depilatory; only very sparse stubble remains. The discoloration, thus far, is largely unchanged. Since I have only completed two applications (performed every-other-day), I cannot be sure of it’s effectiveness. My assumption is that chemical complexing is not an instantaneous process as chemical peeling would be, thus requiring either more time or more applications before a noticeable effect could be achieved. I may be incorrect in that assumption.
I will update my progress in this thread, whether there be progress or none at all. I do hope I’m not shifting too far from the initial subject; I just felt this information would best be suited here instead of in another passed-over post on discoloration. If it need be moved, I apologize.
This is the least I can do to give back to a forum which has given so much to me. Although my excursion into the unknown bears none of the risk hobby’s did with his salicylic acid application, I hope it offers some answers all the same. Good luck to all of you!