Hydroquinone is a topical cream used to lighten dark patches of skin like freckles, sun spots, hyperpigmentation, melasma, etc. The medication works by slowing the production of melanin within the skin; melanin is the pigment that gives human skin and hair color.
How to apply it:
- Hydroquinone should be applied either once or twice daily, depending on the instructions from your dermatologist.
- The cream should be applied directly to the darkened areas you are seeking to lighten; not the entire face.
- Typically it is best to apply hydroquinone after any other topical treatment.
How to make the most of the treatment: Sun Protection.
Sun exposure darkens your skin (think sun tanning). In order for hydroquinone to remove your blemishes, you need to protect yourself from the sun as much as possible. Opt for shade whenever you can. Wear a hat and/or protective clothing. And apply sunscreen of at least 30 SPF every day, preferably one that contains zinc oxide.
What you can expect from your treatment?
Hydroquinone is not an overnight fix. It takes 4-6 weeks of consistent treatment to see a noticeable difference. After that your blemishes will keep improving as long as you stick with it.
Other things to consider:
- Do not use hydroquinone when using benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or other peroxide products. Sometimes a temporary dark staining can occur when these treatments are combined.
- Do not leave medication open or exposed to air for longer than you need to. The medication will expire and become ineffective if left exposed to air for a long period of time.
- Hydroquinone will make your skin more sensitive to the sun. Make sure to wear sunscreen of SPF 30+!
- Hydroquinone shouldn't be used indefinitely, since long-term use can cause discoloration of the skin (something called ochronosis). You should follow the instructions of your dermatologist.