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What is Hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone, in the past, was the standard ingredient for skin lightening treatments. Until recently, it was thought to be the safest and most effective treatment for hyperpigmentation, including age spots, melasma, sun damage and other discolorations. However, new research suggests that there may be serious side effects associated with long term use of synthetic hydroquinone. Just recently the FDA also announced its plans to possibly remove hydroquinone based products from store shelves and limit its use to only prescription based medications. Consequently, many manufacturers have begun to produce natural alternatives which mimic the skin lightening properties of hydroquinone. Ingredients such as kojic acid and licorice have become quite popular along with more advanced ingredients like Alpha-Arbutin. When combined, these ingredients can often produce results that even surpass hydroquinone but without the associated risks. Skin lighteners have come a long way in the past few years. With all the available information on the internet, consumers can now educate themselves about the skin bleaching products they buy.

Many dangerous skin lightening products are imported from countries where legal regulations are not thoroughly enforced. One of the most dangerous ingredients found in these products is mercury. Though use of mercury in skin care products is illegal in the United States, many skin lightening products still contain this extremely toxic ingredient. Mercury poisoning is known to cause neurological and kidney damage and may also lead to psychiatric disorders. The effects of mercury have been well documented in hundreds of studies on both rats and humans. Often permanent nerve and brain damage can also occur with long term exposure. For good reason, the FDA bans the use of mercury at even minute concentrations in all skin care products manufactured in the United States. However, it is nearly impossible to control all of the illegally imported products that come in to the country every year.

Topical steroids are also found in various imported skin lightening products. Though topical steroids do have their use in prescription based ointments, they should not be used by individuals without the supervision of a medical professional. Illegal use of steroid based products can lead to the thinning of treated skin, stretch marks, infection and other serious side effects.


Below is a short list of informational articles on the web. Skin lightening is a relatively small industry and reputable information is sometimes hard to find. We have compiled these links to assist you in your own research and help better your understanding of the skin lightening process. Please check back for periodic updates.

If you would like to suggest a link, please email us.

List of dangerous skin lightening products Link
FDA proposes hydroquinone ban Link
The dangers of hydroquinone Link
Toxicology and health risks of hydroquinone Link
The United Kingdom bans hydroquinone Link
FDA warning of mercury in bleaching creams Link
The dangers of mercury in lightening creams (1) Link
The dangers of mercury in lightening creams (2) Link
Safe skin lightening ingredients Link
Safety assessment of cosmetic ingredients Link
Overview of skin lightening (safe and unsafe) Link

As a pioneer and leader in the creation of safe skin care products, we feel the need to make customers aware of the many low-grade & dangerous products currently on the market. Our website contains dozens of articles and links to reputable sources which provide factual information regarding the safety of skin lightening creams. The Civant team puts your safety above anything else. Our products contain absolutely no hydroquinone, mercury, steroids or other harmful bleaching substances.

"Although the full extent of the dangers of hydroquinone, the active ingredient in the skin bleaching creams are still unknown, U.S. studies have linked it with leukemia, liver damage, and thyroid disorders. Animal studies show that it could cause mutations in developing fetuses." - Judi Vance

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