Let’s unpack this popular ingredient!
Skin bleaching, skin lightening, and skin brightening all refer to one central ingredient: hydroquinone (HQ). It is the only FDA approved skin lightening ingredient in the U.S. and is very effective in fading dark spots. This popular product has become a controversial topic in Black skincare, so we are going to give you the facts and bust all of the myths associated with hydroquinone.
HQ works by decreasing the amount of melanin being produced in the treated area. Melanin is the compound in skin that gives us our color. One critique of HQ is that it causes skin darkening rather than skin lightening. Because melanin is the substance that give protection from UV rays, the skin will become more sensitive once the melanin production begins to slow down. If the treated area is not protected by some sort of sunscreen, the skin can become darker. To combat this, it is imperative that the treated area is followed up with sunscreen. Some hydroquinone products, like Clear Essence’s Skin Beautifying Milk with SPF 15, already include sun protection. This type of product is great because it protects the skin while evening out complexion.
While hydroquinone is very effective and works wonders for many people, it may not work the same for everyone. To see how your body will react to a certain product, it is important to test the product on yourself prior to actually using it. The best way to do this is by applying a small amount of the product on the inside of your arm and waiting 24 hours. If you notice any type of irritation, try using a product for sensitive skin instead. There are Black skincare products, such as those found in Clear Essence’s Lemon Plus Vitamin C Line, that help to fade dark spots without hydroquinone.
“I’ am proud of my complexion, I don’t want to bleach my skin!”
A common misconception about hydroquinone is that anyone who uses the chemical is ashamed of their skin color. This is the unfortunate stigma associated with HQ. Anyone can get dark spots, whether it be from acne or injury; hydroquinone can diminish those tell-tale scars. African American Skincare is all about embracing and enhancing our natural hues. When used properly, hydroquinone does exactly that, it enhances the beauty of the natural skin complexion