Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Hydroquinone was used in skin care to temporarily lighten pigmentations such as freckles, pregnancy mask and age spots by inhibiting the process that leads to discoloration. In the United States, the FDA estimated there were at least 65 companies selling more than 200 products containing hydroquinone in an array of over-the-counter products (up to 2% strength) and prescriptions (up to 4%). The most common preparation was a 3% topical solution generally applied twice a day on non irritated skin (eye and mouth areas must be avoided).

Hydroquinone has been shrouded in controversy since 2001 when it was banned in Europe following clinical tests showing it was the cause of leukemia in mice when used in large doses for a long period of time. Japan, Australia followed suit with the United States and Canada placing serious restrictions on the use of hydroquinone in cosmetics. There are now many other options to lightening pigmentation that are effective without the side effects or aggression of this compound. Some may take a little longer to show results, but there is no question they are much safer. Stay tuned . . .