Hydroquinone is used to gradually lighten the skin that has become dark or skin that has developed dark patches due to many skin problems. These include melasma-skin darkening due to exposure to sunlight especially in women using oral contraceptives (birth control pills), during pregnancy, or on hormone replacement therapy during menopause (hormonal drugs to replace deficient hormones in the body), freckles (clusters of dark spots on cheeks, nose, arms, and upper shoulders that start appearing at a very young age) and solar lentigines (also called ‘age spots’ are brown or black spots on the face, hands, shoulders and arms-areas that get exposed to sun light).
How it works
Hydroquinone bleaches the skin by reducing the accumulation of skin pigment called melanin that causes darkening of skin. It interferes with the synthesis of melanin and hampers important processes within cells that produce melanin (melanocytes). The bleaching effect of hydroquinone is reversible (reversible depigmentation).
Common side effects
if you experience any skin reaction., itchy, inflamed skin may occur occasionally. Discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately, Mild to moderate irritation, sore, allergic skin reaction-red
• Please use hydroquinone products carefully. Its skin bleaching action may produce unwanted cosmetic effects if not used as directed.
• Use of sunscreen is a must while using hydroquinone. Avoid unnecessary sun exposures and cover the treated areas with clothing. Even minimal exposure to sunlight can reverse the bleaching effect of hydroquinone.
• Discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately if you develop allergic skin reaction or notice blue-black darkening of skin upon use of hydroquinone.
• Hydroquinone creams are meant for external use on the skin only. Immediately wash-off with water, if the cream gets into your eyes, nose, mouth, or on your lips.
• Do not use hydroquinone creams on broken, irritated or injured skin.
• Do not use hydroquinone creams with other creams that contain peroxides (hydrogen peroxide/benzoyl peroxide). This may produce a dark stain on your skin which can be removed by stopping the use of peroxides and washing with soap and water.
• Do not use hydroquinone creams with other creams that contain resorcinol, phenol, or salicylic acid unless advised by your doctor.
• Please check, if the hydroquinone cream contains sulfites. Such products may trigger allergic reactions in individuals with asthma.
• You may be advised by your doctor to perform a skin sensitivity test to avoid any allergic reaction.
• Do consult your doctor before using hydroquinone, if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or breastfeeding.
Frequently asked questions
Q. Is hydroquinone safe/good for skin?
Yes. Hydroquinone is used to bleach dark patches of skin. It is available as creams to be applied externally and is safe if used as directed, for the prescribed duration by your doctor. Occasionally it may cause side effects-red, sore, itchy, inflamed skin indicating an allergic reaction. Please contact your doctor immediately if you notice any such skin reactions.
Q. Is hydroquinone safe to use on face?
Yes.Hydroquinone is used to bleach dark patches of skin and can be used on the face. It is available as creams to be applied externally and is safe if used as directed for the prescribed duration by your doctor. Please limit sun exposures and apply sunscreens or cover the treated area with protective clothing. Even minimal exposure to sun can reverse the bleaching effect of hydroquinone.
Q. Is hydroquinone banned in India?
No.Hydroquinone is available and is not a banned drug in India.
Q. Is hydroquinone carcinogenic/does hydroquinone cause cancer?
Studies of hydroquinone in animals have indicated some evidences of cancer causing potential (carcinogenicity). However, the carcinogenic effects in human are not known.
Q. Is hydroquinone toxic?
No. Hydroquinone is not toxic if used as directed, for the prescribed duration by your doctor. It is available as creams and meant for external use on the skin only
Q. Does hydroquinone lighten/bleach your skin? Does hydroquinone lighten skin permanently?
Hydroquinone bleaches/lightens dark patches of skin. It reduces the accumulation of skin pigment called melanin that causes darkening of skin. This effect of hydroquinone is reversible (reversible depigmentation) with time and exposure to sun and therefore not permanent.
Q. Does hydroquinone bleach clothes?
No. Hydroquinone has no known effect on bleaching clothes.
Q. Does hydroquinone make skin darker?
Hydroquinone may cause blue-black darkening of skin. This is not the normal effect of hydroquinone. Discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately if you notice darkening of skin upon use of hydroquinone.
Q. Does hydroquinone help acne?
No. Hydroquinone is used to bleach or lighten dark patches of skin. It has no known effect in the treatment of acne.
Q. Does hydroquinone cause redness?
Occasionally hydroquinone may cause side effects – redness of skin, sore, itchy, inflamed skin indicating an allergic reaction. Please contact your doctor immediately if you notice any such skin reactions.