What is Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent. Essentially, it bleaches the skin by decreasing the number of melanocytes present. Melanocytes make melanin, which gives your skin color. Some skin conditions are controlled by decreasing these melanocytes.
What Does Hydroquinone Treat?
Hydroquinone is used to treat conditions that arise from or are related to hyperpigmentation. These include:
- Melasma (pregnancy mask)
- Acne scars
- Age spots
- Post-inflammatory marks from eczema and psoriasis
While hydroquinone is typically well tolerated, people with dry or sensitive skin may experience further dryness or irritation. This medication tends to work best on lighter skin tones and may actually worsen hyperpigmentation on darker skin tones.
How to Use Hydroquinone
Consistency is crucial in treating hyperpigmentation. It is very important that you use the medicine as your doctor instructs. Your doctor may recommend doing a spot test to determine how your skin will react to the ingredient. To do this, put a small amount of the product on the inside of your forearm. Cover the area with a bandage and wait 24 hours. If you experience any severe itching or irritation, discontinue use.
Otherwise, you can add the product to your normal skincare routine. Apply it evenly across the entire area of skin, after cleansing and toning but before moisturizing. Gently massage into your skin. Be sure to wash your hands after using this medication.
Precautions of Hydroquinone
Always wear sunscreen while using this product and avoid sun exposure as this can make hyperpigmentation worse and reverse the effects of your Hydroquinone treatment. Furthermore, while consistency is important, you shouldn’t use this medication for long periods of time. Always follow the treatment plan of your provider.
Minor side effects such as redness and dryness may occur with this product. These should fade as your skin adjusts to the product.