Hydroquinone cream is used as a skin bleaching agent to lighten freckles, skin discoloration and other problems associated with skin trauma, pregnancy, use of birth control and hormonal imbalance. The agent works by inhibiting an enzyme reaction the the skin cells. It can also be used as a prescription ointment for other conditions as determined by skin specialists. The main use of the agent is to reduce or control melanin production. As much as most people use hydroquinone to fade their skin color, hydroquinone is basically used in mainstream cosmetic products to minimize the appearance of hyper-pigmentation (an excess of pigment).
How It Works
Hydroquinone basically works by decreasing the production of the melanin pigment, which in turn increases the breakdown of melanosomes in the pigment cells of the skin. This is achieved through the inhibition of tyrosinase, an enzyme that is used in the production of melanin. Due to the major ‘depigmentation’ effect of hydroquinone creams, it can be used to treat a number of conditions, some of which I mentioned above.
Effectiveness Of Hydroquinone
In most cases, the skin starts to lighten after about four to five weeks of treatment. Sometimes the results take a little bit longer to be visible but if no visible results are achieved after a period of three months, it’s usually advised to stop using the cream. The effectiveness can be increased by staying away from the sun or wearing protective clothing and using SPF15+ sunscreen. When undergoing treatment, an individual is advised not to use tanning salons or sunlamps – for obvious reasons – unless you like sunburn. Hydroquinone should be used as directed or as prescribed until the desired results are achieved, after which it should then be used only as much as it is needed to maintain the results.
How Long It Takes To Work
In most cases, the effects of the cream become visible after about four to five weeks of constant usage. The effects are reversible most of the times especially if the patient does not use the cream to maintain the results. However, changes in the pigmentation can be permanent, hence it is important to seek medical guidance from an expert before starting any treatment with it. Testing the sensitivity of your skin is also crucial before starting out properly. If there are no side effects felt after one day, then it is typically considered OK to start the treatment process proper.
Possible Side Effects
Hydroquinone has however also been marked as potentially carcinogenic, and therefore it’s usage needs extra precautions even if it is an over the counter version. Opinions do vary though, and some countries still actively prescribe the product, whilst others have now banned it altogether. If this worries you then there effective natural whitening products now available.
Different people have different reactions to hydroquinone creams. This is why it is advisable to test it out on a small area of the skin before wholly commencing the treatment. For some patients, the cream causes dry skin while for others, the agent causes a (often temporary) burning sensation and redness on the skin.
However, if you are concerned about age spots or other pigmentation problem, you can always try it out. Just talk to a skin specialist or your doctor first.