If you have dark skin spots, you’ve probably searched high and low for skin treatments that can help to even your skin tone. Look no further: hydroquinone is one of the most effective treatments you’ll find.
What Is Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone was discovered in the early 1800’s. The substance is found in many plant leaves, such as bearberry, whortleberry and mountain cranberry leaves. It is used in the process of developing photographs, but it’s also been the gold standard for treatment of dark spots for over 50 years.
There has been controversy surrounding the use of hydroquinone. However, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends it. When it's used properly, it is an extremely effective treatment for dark spots.
To understand how hydroquinone works, you first need to understand how your skin color is determined and why you may see dark spots on your skin, regardless of your skin's normal color.
What Controls Skin Color?
Your skin color is determined by a chemical called melanin. Melanin is produced in two forms. One, called eumelanin, appears in brown and black hues. The other form is called pheomelanin, and it appears as red and yellow hues. Melanin is produced by specialized cells called melanocytes. Your skin color is a product of the melanocytes and the type and quantity of melanin they produce.
What Causes Dark Spots?
Dark spots are more common on women’s skin than men’s skin. The spots, often called Melasma, appear for a variety of reasons, including:
- The Sun: Overexposure to the sun can cause the melanocytes to produce more pigment to protect the skin from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays. These spots are often referred to as age, sun or liver spots.
- Hormones: A change in hormones also causes dark spots, as women who have been pregnant may have been quick to notice.
- Skin Irritants: Skin care products that irritate your skin can cause the formation of dark spots.
- Acne: Acne stresses your skin and can cause brown spots after the acne itself has disappeared.
How Does Hydroquinone Work?
Hydroquinone has proven to be effective in reducing dark spots by controlling the production of melanin. It actually inhibits the production of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which allows for the production of melanin.
Hydroquinone has a second effect, which is to decrease the lifespan of the melanocyte cells.
This dual approach is more effective than other skin lightening substances. Inhibiting production of tyrosinase is reversible. However, when hydroquinone reduces the lifespan of melanocyte cells, the effect is permanent. These two actions together increase the effectiveness of hydroquinone in lightening and eliminating dark spots.
How Should You Use Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is most effective when paired with other types of acids that have beneficial effects on your skin. For example:
- Azelaic acid is a helpful exfoliant that can unclog pores and refine your skin’s surface.
- Salicylic acid is another substance that inhibits melanin formation, while clearing blackheads, clogged pores and acne.
- Lactic acid is a natural acid that gently hydrates, lightens and brightens skin.
When other beneficial ingredients are combined with hydroquinone, superior results are seen. For example, the Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Serum contains the highest concentration of hydroquinone available without a prescription, plus a unique blend of ingredients that helps it outperform other hydroquinone products and creams. In addition, it is guaranteed to produce results within four weeks when used nightly.
When you use a product containing hydroquinone, follow these easy guidelines:
- Clean and dry your skin before using the serum.
- Apply the serum to cover the affected areas, but avoid applying it to the surrounding skin, eyes, mouth or any mucous membranes.
- Rub the serum into your skin well.
- Wash your hands after application, avoiding any areas on your hand that have touched the serum.
- Don’t use any other medicated products, including those containing peroxide, on the areas that received the serum.
- Apply hydroquinone first and wait several minutes before applying any non-medicated lotions -- such as moisturizers, cosmetics and sunscreen -- to the treated areas.
Keep in mind that sun exposure will work against the effects of a hydroquinone serum. It’s always a good idea to apply a nourishing moisturizer and sunscreen if you plan to be outdoors, regardless of the time of year. If you have extremely sensitive skin, you may want to use hydroquinone every three days and build up to more frequent use.
Dermatologists recommend long-term use of hydroquinone, alternating between using the treatment and stopping the treatment for set periods of time to prevent the return of recurring symptoms. Typically, you’d use the treatment until the dark spots fade away. Then, when you see the dark spots returning, start the treatment again. You’ll soon find the best schedule for your skin.
How Long Does It Take to See Results?
Hydroquinone is not only effective over the long term, but it’s also quick acting. You can expect to see results after five to seven weeks of use, although that timing will vary depending on the product you use.
Is Hydroquinone for You?
If you’ve been struggling with dark spot removal, you need to try a hydroquinone product like Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Serum. After more than 50 years of use as an effective and quick-acting approach to fading dark spots and Melasma, a product containing hydroquinone may be the last product you’ll need to use!
Looking for a Hydroquinone product that is proven to work? Click here.