Hydroquinone Cream – Know All about It


Hydroquinone Cream can be used by your doctor to treat certain skin conditions. It is usually used as a skin bleaching agent for freckles, age spots and skin discolorations caused by birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy or skin problems as a result of pregnancy.It works by blocking an enzyme chemical reaction in skin cells. You should not use the cream if you are pregnant or if you think that you might be allergic to it because of previous experience with skin bleaching agents.


Consult your health care provider before using it since some medicines are known to interact with it although no general side effects have been reported. It is recommended by the manufacturer of the cream that if you are pregnant or are breast feeding or if you are allergic to certain medications and foods that you not use the cream without consulting your health care provider. If none of these conditions apply to you, and you decide to use hydroquinone cream as a skin bleaching agent, follow the directions on the label exactly or as recommended by your medical professional.

As with most bleaching agents, a test of the product is recommended by applying hydroquinone cream to a small section of skin and waiting 24 hours for any signs of allergic reaction like redness, irritation, blistering or itching. If any of these conditions appear, consult your doctor. If there is no allergic reaction, the usual application is applied to a washed and dried area of skin evenly by rubbing it in. If you are planning to use the cream on the hand that you use to rub it in, you don’t need to wash it after applying it. You should use only one dose at a time.

While you are treating your skin with the cream, stay out of the sun or avoid exposure to the sun. If you go out, wear a sunscreen and cover the areas of your skin treated with cloth. It is only meant for use on skin and should not be allowed to get into your nose, mouth, lips or eyes. If the cream makes contact with any of these areas, wash them out immediately with water. Likewise, don’t use the cream on cuts or near areas of bruised or damaged skin.

There are some known negative reactions of hydroquinone cream and other chemical bleaching agents like hydrogen peroxide, phenol, salicylic acid and other medicines. Products containing sulfites which are used by asthma patients can adversely affect hydroquinones bleaching properties and should not be used while taking the medication. There are known severe allergic reactions like hives, rash, breathing difficulties, chest pain, mouth, face, lips or tongue swelling as well as blistering, skin discolorations looking like bruising, stinging and other irritations. Children under 12 should not use it.

There are some reports of hydroquinone cream being linked to cancers. As with all drugs that can affect your health in what appears to be not completely known manners, the assistance of a health care provider should be enlisted before using.

Hydroquinone cream is a popular skin lightening or skin-bleaching substance that can be applied on the body or face to lighten areas of darkened or hyperpigmented skin such as melasma, age spots , chloasma and of course freckles.

In most countries including the US and Australia, 2% preparation is available without a prescription, as products with hydroquinone are only available in certain countries. In Canada, hydroquinone is available in 2% and 4% format for common usage without a medical prescription and are readily available from most pharmacies.

How does it Works

Hydroquinone helps to stem the production of melanin, meaning that it will prevent the skin from producing the substance that develops its dark color. Hydroquinone, however, only enlightens the skin and does not bleach it, contrary to beliefs. What it really does is control the and minimizes the production of melanin by restraining the growth of tyrosinase, the enzyme that created melanin. And in doing so, hyperpigmentation is inhibited.

How effective is hydroquinone cream?

Skin lightening will be obvious after four weeks of treatment in general cases. In some cases, it may take a longer while to see satisfactory results, about 8 to 12 weeks. However, if no skin lightening improvement is seen after using it after 12 weeks, then treatment should be discontinued.

Side Effects

There are not much side effects. Major side effects include itching, swelling, crusting, severe burning and unusual skin discoloration.

Examples of severe allergic reactions- difficulty in breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the tongue, mouth or face, blistering, rash, hives, excessive dryness, redness, stinging, or irritation of skin.

Extended use of hydroquinone has been linked to the development of exogenous ochronosis. Hydroquinone creams may contain sodium metabisulphite, which may results in allergic reactions like anaphylaxis in some sensitive people.

How to Use it

Hydroquinone cream can be used in many ways. The best practice is as follows: when applying the cream for the very first time, use the cream only at a small portion of the skin. After a whole day, check the skin for any itching or reaction. If the reaction is positive, stop using the cream as soon as possible. Please consult with medical professional for consultation.

Hydroquinone Products

Hydroquinone is readily available in skin lightening products such as Clinicians Complex, Neostrata, Ultraquin, Glyquin XM, Black & White and Ultraquin. All contain sunscreen/skin lightening options. Neostrata, Ultraquin, Glyquin XM and Ultraquin have the extra benefit of glycolic acid, an exfoliant that improves the effects of hydroquinone cream by removing dead skin cells from the skin.