Considering Hydroquinone Cream?
Hydroquinone is considered to probably be the most effective skin bleaching cream in existence today. It’s used by many to treat and fade liver spots, melasma, freckles, acne scars and other forms of skin discoloration.
Some use it to lighten an entire area, such as the face. Because it’s so powerful and produces results fast, it’s important to follow directions closely.
There has been some controversy surrounding this powerful ingredient. In the US, hydroquinone 2% concentration and below is available over-the-counter. Hydroquinone 4% cream is a popular strength found in prescription versions. Please understand this blog is only about the over-the-counter strengths. We do not promote any prescriptions here.
I’ve researched various forums and reviews to find out more what others were saying about their experiences with these skin lightening products. It seems that no one denies that it works. Whether it was to fade acne scars or treating melasma, it seems that everyone agrees that this is extremely effective at lightening or “bleaching” the skin, and doing so very fast.
The controversy surrounding hydroquinone cream is not whether or not it works, but whether it is completely safe to use or not. To understand these concerns, it’s important to first take a look at the history of how it has been used during the last fifty or so years.
In some parts of Africa, lightening of skin is extremely popular. In fact, you could compare the popularity to that of tanning in the US. For example, In South Africa and Saudi Arabia it has been said that as much as a quarter of the adult population uses skin lightening products. For years, many people there used extremely strong concentrations of hydroquinone. This in itself is probably dangerous, but to make it worse, some used these whitening creams for years or even decades. Compare this to the US, where it’s typically applied only for a few weeks and in much lower strengths. So millions all over the world have used this ingredient, but the question is whether or not it’s safe?
Is it safe?
In studies done with rodents, it was concluded that there is “some evidence” that it is a carcinogen, or in other words, something that can cause cancer. Findings included leukemia, kidney, and liver problems. It should be worth mentioning that extremely high amounts of hydroquinone were used and it was administrated orally (but who eats face cream, right?!)
So there are two sides of the argument here. Some state that if a substance promote cancer in high concentrations, it’s not safe to use no matter how little the amount. Others make the case that humans do not orally ingest hydroquinone, and the amounts used in the studies are far more than a human would use (I read one place they used up to thousands of times the normal dosage on rats).
What’s my take on it? Well I’m not doctor so I can’t give you any medical advice, but on a personal note, I feel safe when using it as directed for a short, reasonable amount of time. I mean artificial sweeteners have also been found to cause cancer in rodents when used in high amounts… and they still put that stuff in half the food and drinks out there! I would imagine many other substances we use regularly would cause cancer if you consumed hundreds or thousands of times the regular amount, too!
It’s important to follow the directions closely when using hydroquinone creams or any skin bleaching product for that matter. Also, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to ask your dermatologist for advice about it, too. There are literally hundreds of different bleaching products out there that contain this ingredient. Some of my favorite are PCA skin care products. Why? Because they only manufacture cosmetic skin products, instead of trying to over-extend themselves into other area. I love their products and they’re reasonably priced. I also like to buy Kinerase skincare too. They also have a number of great formulations for hydroquinone cream. The bottom line is that many people agree this ingredient is the fastest and by far the most effective way to get the job done.