The Facts About Hydroquinone

By Medically reviewed by Hello Doktor Medical Panel

For a long time, hydroquinone is a skin-bleaching agent. Many beauty products use it to lighten areas of darkened skin. It can be used in the treatment of freckles, chloasma, age spots or acne scars. More than 50 years, it has been established as the most effective ingredient for potentially fading and lightening skin. This article below can show you the facts of them.

Until now, hydroquinone is still the top effective active ingredient in whitening. However, in the U.S, according to FDA statistics, the number of products containing hydroquinone has decreased from 206 without brakes (in 1993) to 151 (in 2007) and by 2009 only 32 products. What’s behind these numbers?

How does Hydroquinone work on the skin?

The process that prevents skin pigmentation of hydroquinone can be briefly described below:

Melanocytes are pigmented cells (called melanin) in the epidermis. There are many longitudinal tassels reaching the top cell layer of the epidermis to bring the melanin bags up here.

Melanin plays a role in protecting the skin from the effects of ultraviolet radiation. That is why after sun exposure, your skin will become darker. Whites are less likely to have melanin bags when exposed to sunlight. If exposed to the sun for long without the protection of these “guards” melanin, you are very vulnerable to skin cancer. Melanin is formed only in the presence of an enzyme called tyrosinase. And hydroquinone is the inactivating emulsifier.

No tyrosinase, no melanin. This is the reason why the skin will not be protected by its natural mechanism anymore. But this is not the main reason why hydroquinone is less popular in whitening products.

The controversy surrounding the safety of hydroquinone

According to the FDA, in 1982, hydroquinone levels below 2% were considered safe. But by 2006, the FDA again withdrew its release from 1986 on the safety of hydroquinone after some studies suggesting that hydroquinone penetrates the skin causing liver and kidney disease in mice. Until now, however, no studies have confirmed that hydroquinone is capable of causing pathological changes in humans. So there are no official conclusions from the FDA. We only know that hydroquinone is still approved for use in over-the-counter (OTC) products and is the only FDA-approved active ingredient in treating hypertonic disorders.

In 2006, the American Academy of Dermatology recommended that 4% hydroquinone used under the supervision of a physician is safe. And it is effective in treating hyperpigmentation disorders. According to a recent report by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) in 2014, the safe level of Hydroquinone permitted in cosmetics was 1% or less. But we cannot use it continuously for a long time. According to this report, even with such concentrations and uses, hydroquinone is only safe for use in long-lasting cosmetic products. Also, in nail care products, hydroquinone is still considered safe.

Hope this article gives you a little knowledge about hydroquinone. Which is an effective whitening ingredient but there are also a lot of arguments about the safety.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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