When you’re trying to find the perfect skincare products for your routine, sometimes all it takes is one short glance at the ingredients list to have you questioning all your choices. Skincare ingredients lists can be a confusing place to be, especially when you’re faced with dozens of unfamiliar names. We all want to know what we’re putting on our skin and whether it’s really safe for us, so we think it’s important to educate our customers as much as we can so you can feel confident in the products you buy.
One ingredient that you may see a lot of, especially in products that are targeted at lightening dark spots, is Hydroquinone. But, what is it, and are there any side effects that you should be concerned about?
What is Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is essentially a skin lightening agent that bleaches the skin by limiting the production of melanin (the hormone in our bodies that darkens our skin and can lead to hyperpigmentation and dark spots). It decreases the number of melanocytes, which make melanin, to gradually lighten your skin tone over time and reduce the appearance of dark patches.
Hydroquinone is supposed to help with acne scars, age spots, freckles, melasma and post-inflammatory marks that are caused by psoriasis and eczema. You may not have heard of this ingredient before, but you may be surprised to find that it’s used in a lot of skincare products you can find on the shelves.
What products commonly use Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is a common ingredient in many different products, especially in the skin care industry. It’s normally the main ingredient in products that are specifically targeted at lightening the skin. products like dark spot correction treatments and other skin lightening serums/creams/lotions.
Why is Hydroquinone controversial?
Hydroquinone has had a bit of a tricky history and has been banned in certain countries many times due to people damaging their skin by using high concentrations of the ingredient. The ingredient has got a bad reputation for itself as companies started to formulate products that used it in very high doses – which does not have any benefits for the skin. In general, Hydroquinone is safe to use on the skin – when applied in small doses and used for short durations – but customers need to be careful about the products they’re using to ensure it contains the optimal dosage.
What are the side effects of using Hydroquinone?
A lot of people that use Hydroquinone won’t notice any side effects however, there are people that will experience some side effects as a result of using products that contain this ingredient. Some of the main side effects include:
- Skin irritation (burning and stinging)
- Inflammatory reactions
- Exogenous Ochronosis
If you have dry or sensitive skin, you are far more likely to experience these side effects compared to people who have normal or oily skin. This is because Hydroquinone is a harsh ingredient that can sometimes be a bit too strong on certain skin types. Also, if you have a medium-to-dark skin tone, you may also notice that Hydroquinone makes your hyperpigmentation even worse. In some cases, long term use of hydroquinone can result in exogenous ochronosis and leukoderma.
Although this popular ingredient is used in many products that are currently on the market, we’re not a big fan of it as it’s not well-tolerated by everyone. We’re all about creating products that everyone can use, not just a select few, which is why we don’t use Hydroquinone in our best-selling Meladerm.
What are good alternatives to Hydroquinone?
Because there has been a lot of controversy about Hydroquinone, many companies have started to formulate their products using other natural skin brighteners. Some of these ingredients include:
- Kojic Acid
- Vitamin C
When we were formulating Meladarm, we wanted to focus on some of the most effective skin brighteners that create a powerful cocktail to tackle hyperpigmentation. In Meladerm, you’ll find:
- Azelaic Acid
- Alpha Arbutin
- Mulberry Extract
- Lemon Extract
- Vitamin C
- And many more incredible ingredients
Meladerm has been formulated so that you can feel good about the products you’re putting on your face and have peace of mind that you’re using natural, effective ingredients. Not only do we steer clear of Hydroquinone, but our products are also formulated without parabens, mineral oil, petrolatum, sulphates and phthalates – they’re also vegan and completely cruelty-free.
If you want to maximize the benefits of using natural skin brightening products, we’d also recommend adding a good SPF, Vitamin C, and AHA Exfoliating Serum into your routine. All of these products will work in combination to boost brightness, clear your complexion and reduce the appearance of dark spots.