Hydroquinone has received a poor reputation over the years. Most of the misinformation about this ingredient stems from misuse and a lack of education. People have continued to put the ingredient in a bad light by simply basing opinions on the worst cases of misuse of hydroquinone. Others simply don’t understand what this ingredient does. When trying a new product that has active ingredients in it, it is important to understand what those ingredients treat. Clear Essence’s Platinum and Anti-Aging lines contain small and appropriate concentrations of hydroquinone and we want all of our customers to feel safe and to know what this ingredient does for the skin.
Hydroquinone is one of the few FDA approved skin-lightening ingredients. It can be a great treatment to even one’s skin tone by fading discolored skin such as freckles, age spots, sunspots, and other discolorations created by hormone changes, acne, or injury to the skin. Chemically speaking, hydroquinone decreases the formation of melanin. Melanin is the pigment in the skin that gives it its color. Melanin is also a natural UV protectant. Hydroquinone is found in stores in concentrations of 0.5% to 2%. The FDA has regulated that no more than 2% concentration can be purchased over the counter. A doctor must prescribe any product that contains a concentration higher than 2%. A concentration of 12% prevents the production of melanin altogether. When hydroquinone is properly formulated it is not a harmful ingredient and there is no substantial research proving otherwise.
Some may say that hydroquinone causes cancer yet, “hydroquinone happens to be a potent antioxidant and there is even research that shows that workers who handle pure hydroquinone actually have lower incidences of cancer than the population as a whole (Paulaschoice.com).” The only cases in which a patient did develop cancer or an issue of darker colored skin are those who did not use sunscreen in conjunction with the ingredient. Since melanin is our natural UV protectant it is important to realize that one’s skin may become sensitive to the sun after displacing the dark spot or discoloration. Although it is always critical to use sunscreen to prevent damage to the skin, it is even more important when using a product to lighten discolorations.
Research has indicated problematic skin reactions are rare and more often than not, minor. The most startling risk is a skin disorder called ochronosis, which is a bluish tint of the skin. This is caused by long time use of a high concentration of hydroquinone. Again, not using sunscreen will cause the area to re-darken and can sometimes make the area even darker due to the inhibition of our natural UV protection, melanin.
The correct way to use hydroquinone is by following the instructions on the drug facts label or package. Also, before using it is recommended to do a “test patch” by applying a small amount to a small area of healthy skin (such as inner wrist) to make sure an allergic reaction does not occur.
Clear Essence skin care products that contain hydroquinone always adhere to the FDA regulation of 2% concentration. Some of Clear Essence’s skin lightening products also contain SPF 15 so that an extra layer of sunscreen does not have to be applied! As you can see it is important to know the ingredients you put on your skin and how to properly use the skin care products in your daily regimen. Although it is trendy to say a product is all natural, science can sometimes give us the most effective results to ensure our skin is always flawless! The key is remembering proper use of these ingredients in healthy concentrations!!