In this article, which is not sponsored, we will talk about hydroquinone: what is it, what is it, advantages and disadvantages of its use, how to use and product suggestions.
1 – What is hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is an organic compound that is present in human food, as in tea, coffee, pears and wheat products. This substance began to be used to lighten the skin in the 50’s and the first study on its effectiveness was made in 1961, which today makes it one of the most investigated topical substances ever.
2 – What is hydroquinone for?
Hydroquinone is used to treat hyperpigmentation of the skin to combat dark spots. This substance helps to inhibit the production of melanin by the cells, avoiding its accumulation in the areas of the skin affected by the spots.
3 – Is Hydroquinone dangerous to health?
Dermatological studies have shown that the topical use of hydroquinone in the skin is not a health hazard, as the concentration of this substance is very low in this case and human metabolism is able to cope with it (recall the presence of this substance compound in the food itself). Studies showing the most deleterious effects of hydroquinone were based on very high exposures to this substance.
4 – What are the advantages and disadvantages of dermatological use of hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is very effective in treating all forms of hyperpigmentation, including melasma. With the proper care, which we will discuss later, we obtain excellent results in reducing skin blemishes in a relatively short time, and it is possible to obtain good products with hydroquinone at reasonable prices.
However, incorrect use of hydroquinone may not only render it ineffective, but also seriously aggravate hyperpigmentation or cause the so-called “rebound effect,” which occurs when the spots reappear even more pronounced. Another disadvantage is that the topical use of hydroquinone usually causes skin irritation, causing scaling, redness and some burning (these effects tend to disappear with prolonged use).
5 – How to properly use hydroquinone?
Ideally, you should consult a dermatologist to get a more accurate diagnosis of your problem, even because you need a prescription to get products with higher concentrations of hydroquinone. In addition, the dermatologist may tailor the treatment to your situation and clarify any questions you may have.
If you do not want to or can not consult a dermatologist, there are several products with hydroquinone that you can buy without a prescription (see point 6 of this article), in person or online. In this case, please note the following recommendations:
• Should be treated with hydroquinone in the coldest season of the year because the skin is very sensitive to sun and heat;
• Treatment should not be longer than 16 weeks;
• To get the skin to hydroquinone, start by using it every other day (at night), allowing you to move to daily use and possibly apply it morning and evening;
• It is mandatory to use a sunscreen with SPF / SPF 50 and iron oxide in its composition, in order to protect the skin from the sun, but also from visible light (from computer screens, for example) – see details about this in our article: https://goldandbeauty.com/en/2018/07/14/the-best-sunscreens-of-2018/;
• For the duration of treatment, this sunscreen should be applied in the correct amounts every 2 hours, even if you do not leave the house;
• Apply hydroquinone to the areas to be treated, right after the moisturizer and before sunscreen;
• When using hydroquinone, observe the indicated quantities and do not apply any more acid or depigmenting products;
• During hydroquinone treatment, do not exfoliate or any other cosmetic treatment;
• Avoid exposing your face to the sun directly during treatment (for example, wearing wide-brimmed hats even when driving);
• Hydroquinone treatment should be completed at least 1 month before making beach or pool so that the skin recovers and the skin barrier is regularized before exposure to heat and sun;
• The use of hydroquinone should always be temporary and not recommended for pregnant women.
6 – Which products to choose?
Hydroquinone comes in various forms, such as gel, cream, etc. As already mentioned, in higher concentrations you need a prescription to buy hydroquinone in the pharmacy, which can be incorporated into manipulated creams, made specifically for you by the health professional.
Hydroquinone also appears in several depigmenting products that can be obtained without a prescription, with varying degrees of concentration and associated with other ingredients. Note, however, that the 4% concentration of hydroquinone is the one that has the best results.
We recall that the effectiveness and results obtained with these products depend on the strict compliance with all the recommendations listed in point 5 of this article. Applying products with hydroquinone without the correct use of a suitable sunscreen, for example, is counterproductive and can seriously aggravate your problem!
Our selection includes only products that explain the % of hydroquinone contained in its composition and whose marketing is duly authorized by the competent authorities for such – we strongly advise against using products of dubious origin and composition unknown, often advertised as miraculous and whose consequences for your skin and overall health can be very negative!
Here are some suggestions for hydroquinone products:
• The trade name varies (Triluma, Lumacip, Vitacid Plus, Triderm, Suavicid, etc.), and a generic name can also be used. We speak of a cream whose composition has 4% hydroquinone, 0.05% tretinoin and 0.1 mg fluocinolone acetonide. There are numerous studies that prove the high efficacy of this cream in the treatment of all forms of hyperpigmentation, with lasting results.
• Hydrospot 40 mg / g gel (4% hydroquinone).
• Pigmentasa 40 mg / g cream (4% hydroquinone).
• Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum (2% hydroquinone).
• PCA Skin Pigment Gel (2% hydroquinone).
• Zenmed Skin Correct + (2% hydroquinone).
• Ambi Fade Cream (2% hydroquinone).
It is important to remember that it is essential to use the products according to their indications and to take into account all the recommendations in point 5. Bad experiences with hydroquinone are mainly due to distractions, such as not reapplying sunscreen in a sufficient quantity of 2 in 2 hours, use an excessive amount of product to try to get faster results, etc.
On the other hand, here is the appeal to always use certified products with the advertised composition. The problems of hyperpigmentation (especially melasma) are very difficult to combat and greatly affect self-esteem, causing anxiety and distress. This makes people very sensitive to promises of “miraculous” home-made products and recipes, especially when accompanied by fantastic “personal experiences.” Do not be fooled. The skin is the largest organ of the human body and has to be treated with the utmost care. Do not waste resources and hope, at best you will achieve transient improvements and at worst you will suffer severe aftereffects. Make informed choices and be very, very wise! This advice is being given to you by someone who has struggled with these problems from a very early age and has tried dozens and dozens of possible solutions – I will tell you about it throughout my work, accompany me by subscribing to the blog!