Hydroquinone Side Effects

Hydroquinone side effectsHydroquinone Side Effects

Hydroquinone is a well-known ingredient of various skin lightening products. Hydroquinone, however, is connected to various risks that make the use of such creams inadvisable. Because of the negative effects, cosmetics containing hydroquinone are already banned in all 27 member countries of the European Union.

What is Hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone is an organic compound that controls skin pigmentation. The skin lightening creams that are used to treat dark spots or freckles contain 2% or less hydroquinone concentration.

Though hydroquinone can visibly reduce skin darkness in a couple of weeks, its use has been subjected to serious criticism due to the side effects experienced by many. Various studies confirm the toxicity of hydroquinone and its ability to cause cell mutations. Such mutations can potentially result in malignant formations.

Additionally, the manner in which hydroquinone decreases the skin production of melanin makes the skin more sensitive to the sun. This is one of the most important hydroquinone dangers. The skin becomes more susceptible to the effects of ultraviolet rays, which increases the risk of melanoma and dark spot appearance in the future.


How does It Affect the Skin?

As already mentioned, hydroquinone reduces pigmentation and thus, it can be used to lighten dark spots. There are various hydroquinone side effects, however, that make the application of such skin whitening creams a risky endeavor.

Skin dryness is one of the most common and least serious side effects of hydroquinone topical application. Some people will also experience burning sensation. The severe reactions include rashes, hives, an allergic reaction and chest pain.

The long term use of hydroquinone can result in thick, bumpy skin. Despite the fact that it is one of the most efficient skin lightening ingredients, hydroquinone can cause a number of problems. As a result, the product has been banned in several countries and it still causes controversy in the scientific community.

Should You Buy Products Containing Hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone creams are available for purchase in many countries, including the US. In 2006, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revoked its approval of the substance and began working on a national ban. Yet, hydroquinone creams are currently considered safe and are available for purchase.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) lists hydroquinone as one of the substances that can be used to efficiently treat excessive pigmentation. Its website, however, states that the long term use of such products can cause certain side effects.

To decide whether to use hydroquinone creams, talk to your dermatologist. A professional will be capable of suggesting the best treatment for your dark spots. Performing a test on a small patch of skin will also help you figure out your sensitivity.

There are many skin whitening possibilities and hydroquinone creams are just one of the options. Such creams have been around for a long time and they provide efficient removal of dark spots. The side effects and dangers should be assessed before you decide to start using such creams.

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6 Responses to “Hydroquinone Side Effects”

  1. Lynn Burton says:

    Very interesting article, makes you wonder who is right? Europe must have some solid evidence to backup their ban.

  2. Sharon says:

    Hi Lynn,

    Thank you for your comments. I agree with you, there’s no smoke without fire as they say.

  3. Joely Henderson says:

    I believe it should be banned everywhere if it really is toxic and is able to cause cell mutations, then it could seriously affect some people!

  4. Sharon says:

    Hi Joely, thanks for the feedback.

    I agree with your comment, it certainly is food for thought.

  5. Kelsea Bowman says:

    I never knew Hydroquinone had these affects, thanks!

  6. Sharon says:

    HI Kelsea

    Yes, it is important to know the full risks of Hydroquinone before using it, also thanks for commenting.

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