October 5, 2021

Hydroquinone is a skin lightening topical skincare product to treat common hyperpigmentation skin concerns. Hydroquinone comes in both over-the-counter and prescription-strength forms.

About the Procedure

Hydroquinone is both an over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription-strength skin lightening or skin bleaching topical skincare product. Hydroquinone functions to reduce hyperpigmentation by decreasing the activity of melanocytes or skin pigment (melanin) producing cells. Historically, there have been concerns about the safety of hydroquinone, however, current guidelines from the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) suggest hydroquinone is safe in certain concentrations. Hydroquinone can be used to treat acne scars, melasma, age spots, freckles, and other post inflammatory skin lesions. While using hydroquinone, patients should limit sun exposure and use a quality sunscreen to protect skin, enhance results, and mitigate side effects.

The goal of hydroquinone is to lighten pigmentation and skin tone concerns.


Hydroquinone addresses concerns such as:

Recovery Notes

There is no recovery time associated with hydroquinone use, however, there are some considerations to take while on hydroquinone therapy. Hydroquinone can increase skin sensitivity and dryness so diligent skin care with a quality moisturizer, limited sun exposure, and use of a broad spectrum sunscreen is necessary.

Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for hydroquinone therapy is an individual with normal or oily skin who is looking to correct the appearance of acne scars, age spots, melasma, and age spots.

Not Recommended For

Hydroquinone is not recommended for those with dry or sensitive skin or individuals with dark skin tones as hyperpigmentation can be worsened.

Side Effects

Potential side effects of hydroquinone use include skin redness, dryness, irritation, flaking, and peeling. In severe cases, a condition called ochronosis may occur, which is development of papules and blue-black skin pigmentation.



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