Facts about Hydroquinone Skin Lightening


Hydroquinone, or quinol, is an organic compound that is derived from benzene. The substance is one of the most commonly used ingredients in topical skin lightening products, including complexion enhancing creams, lotions, gels and even soaps. This article offers useful information on hydroquinone skin lightening and it can be very useful, especially if you’re considering using a product containing this substance as your skin brightening solution.

How Does Hydroquinone Skin Lightening Work?
Hydroquinone lightens skin by inhibiting the formation of melanin (a ubiquitous pigment responsible for skin and hair color). Unlike skin bleaches, the compound only disrupts the synthesis as well as production of melanin on the skin. Then, it removes the layers of dark skin cells, revealing a newer, lighter and more radiant complexion underneath. This makes it a very strong skin lightening agent.
Effectiveness and Safety of Hydroquinone Skin Lightening
The effectiveness of hydroquinone in brightening the skin is undisputable. It’s actually one of the few skin lightening substances available in the market that can guarantee you results within a very short period of time, and it also provides one of the most effective treatments for hyperpigmentation or “liver spots.” By applying hydroquinone on your dark skin twice daily or as directed by a physician, you should start experiencing its skin lightening effects after about four weeks. To quicken the lightening process, you can combine it with an alpha hydroxy acid.
However, the safety of hydroquinone as a skin lightening solution has always been, and still is, a subject of debate in both cosmetic and scientific circles. In the U.S, the FDA revoked its previous approval of this substance in 2006, and went further to propose a ban on all over-the-counter skin care preparations containing more than 2 percent hydroquinone. In addition, based on several studies that had been carried out on rats and humans, the agency observed that hydroquinone may contain potential carcinogenic properties. Its use in many countries around the world has been banned, including the member states of the EU. But the substance still features on a variety of cosmetic products even in these countries.
Guidance on Using a Hydroquinone Skin Lightening Product
Hydroquinone is largely very well tolerated. By using a hydroquinone lightener appropriately, you can easily achieve a brighter, more radiant skin that you can be proud of. Before you use a hydroquinone cream, gel or lotion, you should test for skin sensitivity by applying it on a small area of your skin. If nothing happens after 24 hours, you can go ahead and apply the product on the areas you want to brighten. But if you happen to feel itchy or get skin redness, you should stop.
After testing the product, you need to clean and dry your skin. Then, rub the preparation onto your skin well using just enough amounts. While applying, avoid sensitive areas with mucous membranes, such as the mouth, nose and the eyes. After the application, wait several minutes before applying any other cosmetics that you intend to wear. Note that, such cosmetic must be non-medicated. Don’t forget to stay out of the sun or use a sunscreen to avoid potential skin irritation.
Potential Side Effects of Using Hydroquinone Skin Whitening
When properly used, hydroquinone is generally considered to be a safe and effective skin lightener. But this doesn’t mean that it cannot produce undesirable results. Most of its side effects are mild. The most common one is redness or mild stinging on the applied areas of the skin. This usually goes away once the skin becomes accustomed to the substance.

Severe side effects are not common, but they may occur, especially when a skin lightening solution with more than 2 percent of hydroquinone is applied. They include skin irritation and sensitivity as well as allergic reactions such as rashes, dizziness, swelling of the eyelids and breathing difficulties. Many studies have shown that, if taken orally or when used for long, hydroquinone may lead to exogenous ochronosis – a skin disfiguring disease that manifests itself as blue-black pigmentation. Some people have also reported getting a variety of side effects, such as hives, discoloration and tongue or skin swelling. If you ever get any of these symptoms after using hydroquinone or any other skin care product, you should immediately stop using the substance and seek medical attention.

Hydroquinone Skin Lightening Precautions

There are a number of practical steps that you can take to avoid hydroquinone side effects. First, you should never use a skin lightening product with more than 2 percent hydroquinone without the guidance of a medical professional. The strength of hydroquinone in topical products varies considerably, and it’s not surprising to find preparations with even 4 percent concentration being sold illegally over the counter. To be on the safe side; if you’re not sure about the nature of the hydroquinone in a particular product, you should avoid it.

Heightened skin sensitivity is the most common side effect of hydroquinone skin lightening treatments. You can adequately deal with this problem by wearing a quality sunscreen to protect your skin. Avoiding prolonged sun exposure is also logical. Any burning sensation, which may result, can be reduced through the use of a skin care regimen rich in Vitamin E, aloe vera or shea butter. These ingredients will moisturize your skin, and boost its suppleness and elasticity. If you’re using hydroquinone to treat skin hyperpigmentation or liver spots, you shouldn’t apply the product on the normal skin. Don’t forget to check the skin lightening agent for sensitivity.

When you’re using a hydroquinone product, ensure you follow the directions provided on the hydroquinone packaging or as directed by a dermatologist. Note that, the substance is only meant to be used only on healthy skin. If you have a wound, irritation, or a skin infection, you should avoid it. Studies have shown that hydroquinone can affect the process of wound healing. If the preparation happens to get into your eyes, nose or mouth, you should immediately flush it out with plenty of water.

Lastly, hydroquinone skin lightening is not recommended for people with sensitive skin, pregnant women, or breast feeding mothers. If you fall into any of these categories, you should first consult your doctor before considering this complexion enhancing option.

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