Hydroquinone is a chemical complex—crystalline in form—that is often used in skincare products to remove pigmentation. It is also known as quinol and has a scented base that is used in over the counter skin lightening cream with concentrations of 2% or less. Concentrations higher than 2% require a prescription from a physician.
Melanin and Skin Pigmentation
Pigment in the skin is called melanin. Melanin protects the skin against UV rays, but excessive exposure to the sun or scarring may cause an overproduction of melanin, the darkening the skin. People with lighter skin have less melanin than people with darker skin, which is why Caucasians require more sun protection than someone with dark skin.
Skin lightening cream for Hyperpigmentation
People with skin conditions like hyperpigmentation, age spots, or sun damaged skin may want to take steps to even out their skin tones. Hydroquinone is one of the most popular ingredients in skin lightening cream used to bleach or reduce discoloration in the skin. It is a dynamic bleaching agent that retards or stops melanin production while breaking down any existing melanin.
Types of Products
Hydroquinone is often found in bleaching or skin lightening creams or lotions that are designed to be used over time. It is an easy way to bleach the skin, and it can be done at home without the need for dermabrasion or other treatments that are more time consuming and costly. These hydroquinone creams are a convenient and cost effective way to treat spots that can worsen if left untreated.
Use of Hydroquinone
Before using Hydroquinone in skin lightening cream, you should test a small amount on your skin to see if it causes any reaction or irritation to the skin. Cleanse the area thoroughly, apply the skin lightening cream to the designated area, and massage it gently into the skin. For best results, apply it to a dark area you plan to treat as it will lighten normal skin. Always wash your hands thoroughly after each application. Hydroquinone in skin lightening cream is applied twice daily and you usually see results in approximately three weeks, although actual results could take up to four months. Timelines vary with each individual.
Are There any Side Effects?
Some people experience skin irritation that usually clears up on its own when they discontinue using the skin lightening cream. Side effects could include redness, itchy skin, other types of dermatitis, or allergic reactions. If the condition continues or you develop other symptoms like crusty skin or swelling, contact a physician immediately. Do not use hydroquinone if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Hydroquinone should not cause a reaction when used with other medications you may be taking, but consult your physician if you have any questions about compatibility.