If you’ve been looking for ways to deal with pigmentation or want to whiten your skin, then you’ve probably heard of or even tried hydroquinone.
It is widely used in anti-pigmentation and skin whitening products. However its use can come at a cost to you, especially when used long term.
So what are they? Scroll down to find out all that and more!
What is hydroquinone and how does it work?
Hydroquinone is an organic compound that’s a derivative of benzene. You can typically find it in the form of creams, gels, lotions or soaps. It is usually marketed for “skin lightening” or “skin whitening”.
According to the National Toxicity Program, hydroquinone lightens your skin by killing melanocytes (the cells that carry melanin or pigment in your skin) and blocking your skin’s production of melanin.
Without a doubt, hydroquinone is very effective for treating hyperpigmentation issues. However, its safety is highly questionable.
Why is hydroquinone bad?
You might have heard of the bad reputation for hydroquinone. The reason behind this is because studies have shown that hydroquinone has carcinogenic (cancer causing) effects when applied to your skin. It is considered toxic to your cells and mutagenic.
Long term use of hydroquinone can also causes exogenous ochronosis. When this happens, your skin turns a bluish and black colour.
Other side effects of hydroquinone use to your skin include:
- Increased exposure to UV radiation
- Sensitivity to sunlight
- Increased risks of getting hyperpigmentation
- Contact dermatitis and skin irritation
- Thick, leathery, and bumpy skin
What are some of the safer alternatives?
Hydroquinone has long been the gold standard for skin whitening. However with all the new evidence that it may be doing you more harm than good, I’d personally stay away from it.
While products efficacy vary by manufacturer and individual product, some of the safer alternatives you should consider are:
- kojic acid
- glycolic acid
- lactic acid
- vitamin C
- alpha arbutin
These ingredients can work very well to help lighten your skin without the risks associated with hydroquinone.
Make the safe decision and avoid topical skin lightening products that contain hydroquinone, even in small concentrations.
Medik8's 7-in-1 Intense Brightening Serum - White Balance Click
White Balance Click is the latest formula from the long-term Medik8 anti-pigmentation research program. Medik8 researchers have scoured the literature and identified 7 key ‘routes’ to whitening. Hydroquinone free formula.