Treat your pigment spots effectively with Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is considered to be one of the most effective inhibitors of and is the most widely used skin whitening agent for the treatment of various types of pigment spots and hyperpigmentation conditions. 

It is considered the first and best alternative for the treatment of hyperpigmentation, with over 50 years of data on efficacy and safety. We will discover here about the Hydroquinone benefits. Let’s start reading

About Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone has been used for over 50 years and no cases of skin cancer or malignancy related to topical use have been reported.

Hydroquinone is available on prescription in Europe due to its risks for e.g. permanent depigmentation as a result of long-term use. Hydroquinone has been banned in cosmetics and over-the-counter medicines by the European Committee (24. Dir 200/6 / EC) and formulations are only available by prescription.

Available formulations

Hydroquinone is present in concentrations ranging from 2 to 5%. Higher concentrations are more effective but cause more irritation. In some countries, e.g. In the United States, it is readily available in various cosmetic preparations up to a concentration of 2%. However, it is forbidden in Europe, read more below.

Although treatment with hydroquinone alone may be effective in skin whitening treatments, traditional hydroquinone formulations contain other ingredients that promote a synergistic effect to increase effectiveness. 

A popular formulation consists of hydroquinone and a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation, this together with tretinoin has been shown to reduce atrophy associated with the corticosteroid and remove pigmentation by increasing the keratinocyte turnover rate and the penetration of hydroquinone.

Two known inhibitors of glutathione, cystamine and buthionine sulfoximine, have also been reported to be useful in enhancing the inhibitory effect of hydroquinone on pigmentation.

Side effects of Hydroquinone

Recently, there has been some controversy over the use of hydroquinone in hyperpigmentation. Despite the remarkable overall safety of hydroquinone, the chemical has several potential adverse effects.

Examples of these side effects are: erythema, permanent leukoderma, skin irritation, contact dermatitis, cataract, pigmented colloidal millennium, nail pigmentation or discoloration, loss of elasticity of the skin, impaired wound healing, hypopigmentation (lighter skin color) of the surrounding normal skin treated with hydroquinone ( “Halo effect”) and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

An unusual but serious negative side effect of hydroquinone is exogenous okronosis. This condition is characterized by the skin becoming progressively darker at the treated area. 

In exogenous okronosis, homogeneous acetic acid (2,5-dihydroxyphenylacetic acid) accumulates in the dermis which causes a degeneration of collagen and elastic fibers, which is followed by the characteristic appearance of okronosic deposits being manifested by crescent-shaped, ocher-colored fibers in the dermis at the temple, cheeks , jaw and neck. Restoring this condition can be extremely difficult.

Exogenous okronosis is usually associated with frequent use of very high concentrations of hydroquinone for a long time, but can also occur with short-term use of concentrations of 1-2%.

How can I prevent hyperpigmentation from occurring?

Using sunscreen is the most important thing you can do to help prevent hyperpigmentation. It is important to remember that the sun’s rays affect the skin even when it is cloudy, so give the skin the protection it needs every day.

How to prevent hyperpigmentation

Unfortunately, not all cases of hyperpigmentation can be prevented, but there are several ways to reduce the risk of pigmentation in the skin:

  • Try to avoid the sun between 10 and 16. 
  • Sit in the shade or under an umbrella / umbrella to minimize exposure.
  • Use sunscreen products daily, even during colder months.
  • Use moisturizing products regularly to restore the lipid barrier in the skin that helps provide protection from the sun’s UV rays.
  • Avoid itching or pimples on acne, scabs and blemishes. This can lead to inflammation and darkening pigmentation.
  • Make sure your skin care product does not cause a burning or stinging sensation. Irritation may increase hyperpigmentation and melasma.