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Home » Cosmetic Products: An Overview by a Dermatologist » Hydroquinone – Benefits, Risks, and Proper Usage

Hydroquinone – Benefits, Risks, and Proper Usage

Hydroquinone Overview: 

Hydroquinone is widely used currently for its effectiveness in lightening the skin and reducing the unwanted spots. It is an organic compound with a chemical formula of Benzene-1, 4-diol or quinol. It is US-FDA approved cosmetic agent, used in different beautification products for men and women. 

Hydroquinone is mainly used in cosmetics and makeup to glow and remove stains from the skin. It is the best option for the treatment of hyperpigmentation and lightening the dark patches of the skin. 

The hydroquinone is either used alone or in combination with other cosmetics ingredients to potentiate the skin lightening effect and treat other conditions. Hydroquinone should be used consistently for a prolonged period, but not more than three months if there is a lack of progression, for better and optimal results.

Hydroquinone Mechanism: 

Hydroquinone bleaches and gives a glowing effect to the skin by targeting the melanocytes amount in the skin. It decreases the melanocytes which produce melanin that give color to the skin, hairs, and eyes. The abnormal or high concentration of melanin is responsible for pigmentation and the creation of dark spots on the skin. So hydroquinone controls the melanin production, reduces it which results in the increase lightening of the skin and decrease or removal of the stains or dark spots.

Uses of Hydroquinone: 

Hydroquinone is used for decades in cosmetics for different purposes. It repairs the uneven tone of the skin and removes any spots due to hormonal changes. It increases the lightening of the skin, reduces the fine lines and wrinkles, and give a fair look to the skin. Apart from its use in beautification products, it is also used to treat the marks such as acne scars, age spots, freckles and clear it, which lefts after different accidental and dermatological conditions such as burn, psoriasis, and eczema

Hydroquinone should not be used for the treatment of infectious dermatological conditions, in that case, better to ask your dermatologist or physician.

Hydroquinone Safety: 

There are lots of questions arose regarding the safety of Hydroquinone. As it was considered that the use of hydroquinone produces adverse effects. Even banned and recalled from the market in some countries like Canada and Europe but US –FDA approved it and stated that the adverse effects are due to the mercury in the formulation, and a concentration of 2 percent over the counter use of hydroquinone is safe and effective for cosmetic use to obtain the desired lightening effect.

Before Use of Hydroquinone: 

It is better to check and assess the current condition of your skin as the use of hydroquinone on dry and sensitive skin may worsen the skin condition and results in more dryness and irritation. So remember it works better on the normal and oily skin surface. 

Individuals with darker skin tone should also first contact their dermatologists, as hydroquinone may increase the spots on dark skin tone and give a negative result.

Special precautions regarding the use of Hydroquinone: 

Sunscreen should be used after the application of hydroquinone or hydroquinone containing products. In case of side effects such as rashes, cracking, stinging, redness or any other skin reaction contact your dermatologist immediately. Don’t use or apply it on broken or cut skin or eyes and also wash your hands after application of hydroquinone.