Hydroquinone Side Effects – A Comprehensive View

Hydroquinone is considered safe by the medical community and is an FDA-approved drug. This is normally available on prescription but hydroquinone cream with lesser concentration can also be bought over the counter.

hydroquinone in the usaIn 2006, the FDA proposed a ban on over the counterhydroquinone products. This was because studies on rodents have shown that it has cancer-causing properties. Furthermore, some people who use it have developed more skin problems such as darkening or  gray spots on the skin.

This ban was however lifted and is no longer in effect today (buthydroquinone remains  banned in some countries in Europe, Japan, and Australia). 

We don’t know if the FDA will look into this again, but right now, all we know is that many of the people in the medical community consider it as a safe product to use.

The Question – Should You Use It?

Hydroquinone is the prime ingredient in many lightening and bleaching products. It is the one ingredient that has research backing to prove its effectiveness.

However, it seems that the longer it’s used, hydroquinone becomes less effective and can even cause a darkening of the skin!

Apart from the possible carcinogenic effect on humans, the Dermatology Online Journal of UC Davis  has presented an article showing multiple lesions on the skin of women in Mali who have used products that contain hydroquinone. Granted that there could be other possible causes of these lesions (such as other ingredients in the cream or too much hydroquinone concentration), no one really knows.

Are you willing to take that risk? That is the question.

What Should You Do?

There are two ways you can go about this if you are really bent on lightening your skin.

You can forget all these studies about the hydroquinoneside effects, go your merry way and keep using the cream and hope that it will do you any harm. 

And another thing that you can do is to look at natural whitening ingredients considered safer thanhydroquinone such as kojic acid or arbutin.

If You Disregard Hydroquinone Side Effects and Use It…

… then make sure that you use the cream exactly as directed.

  • Preferably go to a doctor before you start a treatment. Ask which over the counter treatment you can use for your skin.
  • Apply the cream thinly on your skin. A bit goes a long way with hydroquinone. Don’t start thinking that applying more will make you white faster. Doing so could be more harmful in the long run.
  • Avoid prolonged periods of sun exposure. Make sure you use a sunscreen as your skin becomes very sensitive to the sun with the use of hydroquinone
  • Refrain from using any harsh products.
  • If you experience any severe hydroquinone side effects such as burning or severe itching (a little tingling is normal), any lesions or allergic reaction, stop the treatment and visit your dermatologist if the problem doesn’t go away.

The Alternative Lightening and Whitening Solution

I don’t use any products that contain hydroquinone. I’m just not willing to gamble my life on a whitening cream.

However, I do use creams that contain other whitening ingredients to control any skin pigmentation that I have. I also use lotions and soaps for the rest of my body.

There are many other products in the market that do not have hydroquinone but can also give the same effect. I have had great success with Meladerm Skin Lightener and use kojic acid soap for the rest of my body.

My suggestion is to give these products a try before you take your chances and use hydroquinone.

Important: Hydroquinone is not advisable to pregnant or nursing mothers.

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