Warning: 7 Facts You Need to Know Before Starting With Hydroquinone

It is hard to talk about skin lightening without involving hydroquinone. For over 50 years, hydroquinone has been used as an effective skin lightening agent and is actually considered the ‘gold standard’ for depigmenting agents in US. However, its use has also been linked to some harmful effects which have attracted some controversy concerning its use.

This has put it at the centre of both negative and positive interest in equal measure. So, what is this that always keeps people talking about hydroquinone?

Here are 7 facts you need to know before starting with hydroquinone:

#1 - Hydroquinone Should NOT be used together with Peroxides

Peroxides are used to treat a wide range of conditions due to their anti-infective properties: Hydrogen peroxide is used as a mouth rinse to relieve irritations such as the ones caused by cold sores.

The solution is also used topically to treat skin-pigmentation conditions like seborrheic keratosis which are benign tumours that manifest as dark lesions.

Another common peroxide is Benzoyl Peroxide, an antibacterial solution used to treat acne and also as a skin lightener.

While hydroquinone and peroxide-infused products are similarly used to treat and lighten skin, using them at the same time causes the skin to stain. The stains are however temporary and can be removed by washing with soap and water. The whole inconvenience can, however, be completely avoided by not combining their use.   

#2 - Hydroquinone SHOULD always be Used with Sunscreen

With proper use, hydroquinone can effectively lighten your skin. However it causes the skin to be highly sensitive, a condition which can be made worse by exposing yourself to sunlight. Hence its recommended that HQ creams should always be used with sunscreen.  

To this end, you will find many HQ creams to contain sunscreen. You should, however, read the label to ensure that the sunscreen is of high SPF (sun protection factor) rating. Go for creams with sunscreen whose SPF rating is 30 or higher. If your skin is overly sensitive, wear protective clothing in addition to using sunscreen.   

#3 - Hydroquinone is Made from CRUDE OIL

Hydroquinone can be found in nature from certain organisms; however, it's usually created in a lab. In nature, it’s found in Agaricus hondenis mushrooms and the bombardier beetle, an insect which sprays the substance as part of its defense mechanism.