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How to Use Hydroquinone Cream

by Ella Goodman 20 Jun 2018

BannerHydroquinone is one of the most respected skin lightening ingredients in use today. It is used to treat the darkened areas of the skin that are present in skin discolorations such as Melasma, age spots, freckles and acne scars.

If you’re concerned about your skin discolorations, chances are you’ve done some research of your own that has lead you to the discovery of Hydroquinone. It’s quite common for people to be interested in trying a non-prescription strength formula but have questions about how to use it properly.

Over the counter skin lightening products can contain up to 2% Hydroquinone, and stronger formulas of at least 4% can be obtained via a doctor’s prescription. Many people find that they’re happy with the results of an over the counter strength formula, however, the only downfall is not having a medical professional to detail exactly how to apply Hydroquinone.

We’d like to help answer your questions about Hydroquinone and how to use it for safe, maximum effectiveness.

Hydroquinone Directions for Safety and Results

To achieve the best results with any Hydroquinone product, it’s important to follow the directions closely. This is especially important to remember that if you’ve used a different product in the past, that the same directions for application and use may not apply.

This is because products can be formulated using a different strength of Hydroquinone and complementary ingredients. These small differences can produce significant differences in how a skin lightening solution should be used.

Keeping this in mind, we’d like to provide answers to some of the most common questions and concerns about how to use Hydroquinone products.

I’ve been curious about trying it. What are the secrets to using Hydroquinone and how to apply it?

There are no real secrets to using Hydroquinone, however there’s one important first step that often gets overlooked - applying a small amount to a test patch of skin before applying to larger or more sensitive areas. Apply Hydroquinone to a test patch at least 24 hours before using on your facial area. If no redness or itching occurs, it’s likely that you’ll handle the treatment well.

It’s equally important to start with clean, dry skin and to apply the solution to just the affected area by rubbing it in gently, but thoroughly.

Additionally, take care to wash your hands or any other skin surfaces that may have come into contact with Hydroquinone during application since it can also lighten normal skin.  

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Can I use Hydroquinone near my eyes?

It’s recommended that Hydroquinone not be used near or on mucus membranes, including the eyes. This includes using it for dark undereye circles. The type of discoloration that appears under the eyes is often caused by something other than hyperpigmentation, such as a combination of thin skin and dilated blood vessels just beneath the surface.

If you get Hydroquinone in your eye, you should immediately flush with water and remove contact lenses if you’re wearing them. Flushing for at least 10 minutes is usually sufficient, but it’s always best to contact a medical professional for further guidance.

Can I use Hydroquinone without sunscreen?

It’s not recommended, and here’s why.

Hydroquinone works by disrupting the skin’s pigment cells that produce melanin. It’s an excess of melanin that’s behind the hyperpigmented areas you want to lighten. It’s important to know that melanin also works to protect your skin from the sun. The most notable demonstration of this is how fair skinned people, with less melanin, are more susceptible to sunburn, premature aging and an increased skin cancer risk compared to people with darker skin tones.

This means that any area treated with Hydroquinone is extra sensitive to sun damage, and it becomes crucial to use a protective, high quality sunscreen.

With sunscreen, cosmetics and all other products you might use, you should apply the Hydroquinone first and let it dry completely before applying anything else.

Once I start Hydroquinone, how many days until I see results?

The answer to this question has many variables, including the concentration of the product, the complimentary ingredients used, your skin type and the severity of your hyperpigmentation.

Hydroquinone is not an instant fix for skin discoloration issues. It is absorbed through the skin, where it works on a cellular level to stop the processes that cause hyperpigmentation. This takes a little time.

Some people may notice results rather quickly, within a few days to a week, However, generally takes up to a couple of weeks to start seeing noticeable results for most people. If you’re interested in accelerating the results of Hydroquinone treatment, it’s key to take exceptional care of your skin, including mild cleansing and gentle exfoliation.

What is the safety of Hydroquinone for long term use?

Most people will find that short term Hydroquinone use is sufficient for treating their skin discolorations. However, more severe case may take longer to treat. It’s advised that Hydroquinone treatment be suspended after 3 months so that your skin can take a hiatus of at least 4-6 weeks.

Hydroquinone has been shown to be safe for short-term use, but there’s a lack of reliable evidence on the effects of long term use. What we do know is that prolonged use can cause irritation in the skin, and in rare cases, a condition where melanin production rebounds and causes further discoloration. To get maximum effectiveness it’s important to follow the guidelines and give your skin a breather every few months.

Hydroquinone is the only proven skin lightening agent allowed by the FDA. When used properly, it’s powerful, effective and safe.

Discover an efficient skincare brightening serum and learn how to use hydroquinone on face here.

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