If you’ve been looking for ways to deal with age spots or skin discolorations, then you’ve probably heard about hydroquinone cream. First of all, don’t worry – you are not alone. Hydroquinone is an effective pigmentation treatment, however, there are newer treatments that work far better and don’t have the health risks associated with it. Many people have problems with skin discoloration that can be caused by many factors, including acne and skin sports caused by aging. And many have successfully used hydroquinone cream to eliminate, or at least reduce the appearance of skin discoloration. However, before using the hydroquinone cream, it’s important to understand how it works and its possible side effects.
Hydroquinone is a medicine
There are several varieties of hydroquinone cream, which mainly differ based on how concentrated they are. Creams with a hydroquinone concentration of 2% or less are usually sold over the counter, while stronger versions need a prescription. Because hydroquinone is a medicine, it’s important to take extra precautions when starting a skin care routine with this cream, even if you buy the over the counter version. Better yet, talk to your doctor beforehand, just to make sure that you are healthy enough to use the cream, especially if you are using other creams or medications to treat a skin condition.
How it works
In simplest terms, hydroquinone cream is a way to gradually bleach your skin by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, which is essential in the production of the pigment melanin. Melanin is the pigment in our skin that plays a huge role in determining our complexion, and more importantly plays an active role in absorbing UV radiation from the sun. When hydroquinone cream inhibits tyrosinase, less melanin is produced, and this creates a lighter appearance of the skin in the treated area.
Because of its broad depigmentation effects, hydroquinone cream can be used to treat a variety of conditions, including age spots, freckles, scars from acne, and other conditions that cause skin discoloration. The effects of the cream usually become visible after about four weeks of regular use, and are reversible most of the time. However, in some cases the change in pigmentation can become permanent, so make sure to talk to your doctor before starting a hydroquinone skin care routine.
Effects of the sun
Although it’s always important to protect yourself from the damaging effects of the sun, it is even more so important to do when you are on a hydroquinone skin care regimen. As mentioned previously, hydroquinone lightens the skin by reducing the amount of melanin produced within skin cells, which is a pigment essential for protecting you from harmful UV radiation. Therefore, the skin areas that are being treated with hydroquinone have lower natural defenses against the sun’s harmful rays, and you need to take extra precautions to protect it from long lasting damage.
Therefore, make sure to use sunscreen if you are going to go outside after using hydroquinone cream, and better yet, try to schedule the application of the cream during times of the day when you’re not likely to go outside.
Possible Side Effects
Keep in mind that different people react differently to hydroquinone cream. We all have different chemistry and there’s always a chance that the cream is not a good match for you. When you start using hydroquinone cream, test it out on small patch of skin first, and wait for about 24 hours to see how your body reacts. For some people, the cream can cause excessively dry skin, or you might experience redness and a burning sensation. It’s also important to note that the cream should not be used if you are pregnant or are breast feeding, even if you’re using the over the counter version.