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Hydroquinone Side Effects

Hydroquinone Side Effects

Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent which is used to treat skin problems like freckles, acne marks, etc. But improper use of this cream can lead to some side effects. Learn more about these side effects, in this article.
Hemangi Harankhedkar
Hydroquinone cream has been a popular choice among individuals who need a quick remedy for skin disorders like freckles, dark spots, melasma (brown patches on the skin) and dark skin tone. These freckles and other spots on the skin normally occur due to a number of reasons, like the use of birth control pills, pregnancy, skin injury, aging, etc. The reason for the enormous popularity of this cream is the visible result it guarantees. But the safety of its usage has its own share of controversies, and many countries have banned the sale of the cream over the counter. Hydroquinone, which is the primary content of these creams, is an aromatic compound, and there is suspicion that overuse of this compound can cause cancer (it is listed as a potential carcinogen). The cream helps in controlling the production of melanin, which causes darkening of the skin. Let's take a look at the side effects that can occur due to the use of this cream.

Side Effects of Hydroquinone
The main reason for the popularity of hydroquinone is its low price as compared to other skin treatment options. Moreover, it guarantees good and quick results. The following side effects should not be ignored, and if they don't subside with time, you should either stop using the cream or consult a dermatologist.

The effects normally diminish with time as the skin gets used to the change, but in some people, the side effects may worsen. So before you start using the cream, it is advised to test the suitability of the cream on your skin, under the supervision of a dermatologist. Take a look at the common side effects below:
  • The initial application of the cream may cause mild burning sensation on the skin.
  • The use of this cream may also lead to reddening of the affected skin area.
  • Persistent use of the cream may also cause itching and swelling of the skin, along with a tingling sensation.
  • Skin dryness is another common side effect of the cream.
  • The use of the cream also leads to increased skin sensitivity. The skin becomes much more sensitive and doctors generally recommend to stop the use of harsh soaps.
  • With the constant use of this cream the person becomes sun sensitive, and has to compulsorily apply sun screen.
  • The severe side effects of hydroquinone include - allergic reactions like rashes and hives, swelling of mouth and lips, excessive reddening of skin, formation of blisters on the skin, appearance of blue and black pigments on the skin (the condition is called exogenous ochronosis), etc.
Precautions for Usage

The above were some of the common symptoms noticed in patients. The symptoms may differ from patient to patient, so it is always better to consult the doctor in the repeated occurrences of some wrong signals. You should follow some precautions before you use the cream on your facial skin to avoid severe side effects. Take a look at the precautions which are given below,
  • The cream should not be used during pregnancy, and even by breastfeeding mothers.
  • You should use it only under the prescription of a doctor, as the varying concentration levels in this cream can harm you.
  • You should avoid using this cream around the eyes, to prevent skin rashes and other side effects.
  • Products which contain peroxides like hydrogen peroxide, should not be used with the cream, as it may cause dark staining of the skin. If used accidentally, you should at once clean your hands with some medicated soap, and if the signs persist, consult your physician immediately.
Not all individuals are susceptible to the side effects though. In some individuals, the side effects tend to get ignored, which results in long term side effects like formation of brown patches on the skin. So it is best advised to use the cream under the supervision of an expert.