Hydroquinone is a topical agent used as an active ingredient in a number of different creams that require a prescription from a doctor, and it is used for reducing skin pigmentation, or for bleaching the skin white.
There are many dangers with using a powerful cream like this for longer than a few weeks, and in this article I will discuss the potential side effects of using this chemical in a product, whether under the advice of a doctor or not.
Because of the many dangerous side effects associated with this potentially deadly substance, several countries have banned hydroquinone, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has proposed a ban on most prescription and over-the-counter hydroquinone products.
What are the conditions that people are developing from prolonged use of this substance? Well, some people, (especially naturally dark skinned people using the product for long periods of time), have developed a blue-black skin discoloration after using hydroquinone, and this condition known as ochronosis can also cause gray-brown spots and tiny yellow-to-brown bumps, as well as skin thickening, or the opposite condition, a thinning of the skin.
People may develop photosensitivity, which means that they are susceptible to getting sunburnt, and when the cream is applied to sunburnt skin, it can make it extra sensitive.
In tests done on rodents, there was an increased risk of getting cancer when large amounts were ingested or applied through the skin, although no such studies were proven in humans.
Some people are allergic to the hydroquinone compound, which is not really that surprising as it is a toxic chemical which when ingested or built up in the blood to a certain level of toxicity can produce hallucinations, fever, nausea, and insufficient oxygen in the blood.
Due to all of these reasons, it is not recommended that anyone take a cream containing hydroquinone for longer than a couple of weeks at a time, and only under the strict supervision of a qualified physician.
Alternatives To Hydroquinone
There are many FDA approved alternatives that do not require a prescription, and are easily available over the counter, or online, which are almost as effective for bleaching the skin, but much safer.
You may have heard of arbutin, glycolic acid, kojic acid, and sepiwhite MSH among other tried and tested chemicals which do work as effective skin lightening cream ingredients, but without the harsh and dangerous side effects of hydroquinone.
Michael Jackson was one famous celebrity who used the powerful prescription medication all over his body, and some would say that it was quite obvious that he was poisoning himself, even if some of that poisoning was from other substances.
It is becoming more of a fashionable thing to do these days among all types of people around the world, from Hollywood celebrities, to Asian peasants, to the kid next door with nasty freckles on his nose.
The key is to understand how the process works, what chemicals are safe to use, how to apply them to your skin, and what you can expect the results to be.
This cream is commonly used for the treatment of vitiligo, and you can learn more about the alternatives to hydroquinone by visiting the links on this page.