Hydroquinone cream

Hydroquinone Cream

Hydroquinone cream

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This product requires a prescription. There is no compounding without a prescription for "office use" per FDA regulations.

Hydroquinone 6%, 8%, and 10% Cream

Hydroquinone cream, sometimes referred to as a “bleaching” cream, decreases the formation of melanin in the skin. It is used to lighten areas of darkened skin such as freckles, age spots, chloasma, and melasma. It can reduce hyperpigmentation that results from acne and sun damage. Hydroquinone works by inhibiting tyrosinase – an enzyme that is essential for the production of melanin.

Skin Lightening

Many skin conditions that involve hyperpigmentation can be treated with hydroquinone.

Melasma: Melasma is a common condition characterized by brown patches on the face – in particular on the forehead, chin, and cheeks. Hydroquinone is frequently prescribed for reducing the appearance of melasma. Proper sun protection must always be a part of melasma treatment, especially when using hydroquinone.

Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation: After acne is brought under control, there are often areas with red marks and discoloration that remain. A lightening agent may be used to even out the skin tone and reduce the appearance of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. It is important to note that this treatment will not work if there is active inflammation. While it may be prescribed for treating acne scars and hyperpigmentation, it is not a good treatment for active acne flare-ups.

Sun Damage/Other Hyperpigmentation: Exposure to UV radiation is a leading cause of premature aging. Age spots, also called sun spots, are the result of unprotected or prolonged exposure to UV radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Hydroquinone may reduce the appearance of age spots and other blemishes on the skin.

Commercial Availability

Commercially available hydroquinone is available in strengths up to 4% with a prescription. There are several brand-name medications with this ingredient including Tri-Luma and Obagi. Higher strengths like 6% and 8% must be made by a compounding pharmacy. Hydroquinone 4% was actually available over-the-counter for some time until the FDA made all preparations prescription-only in 2006. Now only the 2% strength is available over-the-counter.

Treatment and Results

Before using hydroquinone, it is usually best to do a patch test on your arm by applying a small amount and waiting 24 hours to see if there is a reaction. This will help prevent a more severe reaction on the face if you do happen to be sensitive to this drug.

It will take some time using hydroquinone consistently to start to see results. However if after 3 months of treatment there are no results, usually doctors will recommend discontinuing treatment. While this treatment works well for many individuals it does not work for everyone. Other lightening treatments may be more effective in these cases like those that are vitamin or plant-based.

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