Many people seek out hydroquinone because it's effective in treating a variety of skin pigmentation issues, specifically hyperpigmentation due to age spots, freckles, acne scars or an uneven skin tone. However, skin-lightening treatments may cause serious side effects and even lead to cancer.
Hydroquinone is the only skin bleach that's been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, though its status is currently on the rocks due to a high incidence of side effects. It works by stripping away dark spots on the face to create a more even skin tone overall. This helps the skin develop a solid colour. Several treatments are usually required to get the desired results. These creams are available by prescription and may be applied at home or in your dermatologist's office depending on the strength.
Sensitivity to Light
Using hydroquinone makes your skin extremely sensitive to light. Don't go outside in the sun or wear clothing over treated areas if you do. Wearing sunscreen with SPF 15 is another way to protect your newly treated skin from the harsh rays of the sun.
Hydroquinone creams do carry numerous side effects. For instance, they can cause your skin to be red and itchy. Your skin may also dry out or a stinging or burning sensation may develop. This is all normal, though your symptoms should go away soon after the cream has been removed from your skin.
Some people should not use hydroquinone, especially those who use peroxide-based facial cleansers such as benzoyl peroxide. When used in conjunction with hydroquinone, peroxide can cause stains on the treated skin. These stains are temporary, but can still be unsightly and troubling.
Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use hydroquinone creams because they can cause birth defects. Likewise, those who have sensitive skin are best to avoid using this treatment since allergic reactions can occur. An allergic reaction to hydroquinone often characterises itself as severe pain, burning, itching or swelling of the treated area. If this happens to you, quit using the cream immediately and consult a doctor. Use of hydroquinone has been closely monitored because it contains carcinogenic substances, and may lead to cancer. People with liver or kidney disease should not use hydroquinone.
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