Hydroquinone Cream

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.


  1. elli

    Hello! I’ve been using a bleaching cream 4-1. I just would like to know that how could i gradually taper it, measures actually, that i can do, until i can fully change my routine, because i actually dont want to be so dependent of this bleaching cream due to its properties, that i know could have any long term effects to health. And also if using bleaching cream, is there any maximum time frame that you could actually use it, coz i read some articles thru net that it is usually just used for 1 to 3months and you should stop it? Tha nk you.

  2. Barbara

    I recently moved to Florida (lots of sun comparing to The Netherlands) and now I have melasma on my forehead and upper lip…Can anyone recommend an over the counter Hydroquinone cream brand that works? Thank you!

  3. Regina

    I used 10% alpha hydroxyl and 12% hydroquinone for about a week and large brown spot came off of my face, etc. Of course they do not sell that high of a dose anymore but it so worked:)))) What side effect is anyone talking about. I used it off and on for 10 years. I have spots again and cannot find a good product!!

  4. Mone Cald

    Thanks for your information,
    In other words you recommend to ask the Doctor first! This is a topic medication and as any medication there are side effects at different levels. It could be a natural or synthetic enzyme tyrosinase inhibitor. For sure it works! no more copper on our skin, the problem is the side effects when the treated skin is exposed to the UV-rays…mmm a good sunscreen lotion is a must, or go out like a vampire, at night only.

  5. Janice

    Is it possible to apply this cream on inner thigh as I used to have rashes and it has left me with dark scar on it??

  6. vasu

    I have been using hydroquinone 2% cream for 2 years I am really happy with the results and I am applying it on the face everyday please let me know how long can I use this cream and what are the side effects? Please suggest me in this regard


    • Shayma

      According to what I’ve read. you’re supposed to be using it on and off every four months. Not continuously. And for the other four months that you’re not using it, use an alternative like kojic acid, and stay away from all sorts of products that contain peroxide and resorcinol.

  7. Lis

    I’ve been using Hydroquinone 4 %c ream for about 2 weeks on my face for a dark spot. The spot has gotten much darker now and I’m on the verge of quitting. Any comments would be very much appreciated.

    • josh

      the spot gets darker if you don’t use sunblock. Some bleaching, not all will make the skin thinner. Hydroquinone makes your skin sensitive to light and you can “tan” easier but if you have marks on your face those spots “tan” quicker in proportion to the surrounding skin. This is also true once the spot is gone you need to apply sunblock for several months until your skin readjusts to not having the cream on anymore or the spot comes back.

    • Rob Hyman

      Try to dab the cream only on the dark spot. If you get it on the surrounding area, that area will lighten up also, making the dark spot seem to stay just as dark. I hope I explained that clearly.

  8. tasha

    I have been using this hydroquinone cream for three months but on the first week of the month for seven days, and it has worked for me.. but I have very bad discoloration under my neck from all the shaving because of the pcos.. if you don’t know what that is you can Google it… so im going to up mines to two weeks for the months under the neck and see how that works for me… but give it time it works.. I wish I can post pictures hire good it is..

  9. Dee

    How much is the hydroquinone 4 cream? I am using 2% over the counter. Does the over the counter 2% cream work to get rid of acne scars?

  10. Diamond

    The hydroquinone cream really works. I’ve been using this cream for like a week now to remove the dark spots and to tone my skin. I already see a difference. I have very sentitive skin but no side effects for me. I love it……..

  11. Thomas

    Let me start off by saying people should be realistic about their expectations. This product does work. For Hydroquinone Cream 4, you need to allow at least 3 months to see any difference. For Hydroquinone Cream 8, you need to allow at least 2 months to see any difference. Be patient. You will see the results.

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