Hydroquinone is a powerful skin-bleaching agent used to lighten dark patches of skin. Dark patches of skin may be melasma, agespots, and post inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone is the gold standard for getting rid of hyperpigmentation. However, here’s an abridged version of everything you need to know about hydroquinone.
How Does Hydroquinone Work?
Hydroquinone works by decreasing the production and increasing the breakdown of melanosomes in melanocytes. It does this by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase, the enzyme needed to make melanin. Melanin is the pigment that gives the skin it’s color.
So when you use topical hydroquinone, it controls the melanocytes and gives you more even-toned skin over time. You can see these results in as little as four weeks.
Side Effects of Hydroquinone
Possible side effects is also part of everything you need to know about hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is usually well tolerated but it can still pose a few risks in some cases. Side effects include
- Ochronosis (A persistent blue-black pigmentation)
How to Use Hydroquinone
It is important to patch test any product before use and hydroquinone is no different. Most people can safely use hydroquinone products twice a day. Usually after cleansing and toning, but before moisturizer. And of course you run the risk of ruining your clothes if you don’t wash your hands after application. Remember that skipping sunscreen will set back all the progress you made to fade your melasma or hyperpigmentation.
Most dermatologists will advise to not use hydroquinone for more than 5 months at a stretch.
Is Hydroquinone Safe?
There has been a lot of scaremongering surrounding hydroquinone lately however it is relatively safe for use. I saw little to none improvement in my discoloration but I’ve also seen it work like magic for others. It actually makes me mad that it didn’t work for me.
I would recommend hydroquinone products if the user will follow their derm’s advice to the letter. It is definitely not for everybody especially me. I found more favor with other hydroquinone alternatives.
Hydroquinone Products that Work
Even though it did nothing for me, these are hydroquinone products most people swear by.