Hydroquinone: A Useful Pigmentation Remedy
Hydroquinone has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) because of its proven benefits in treating various types of skin conditions. However, for some consumers, hydroquinone has become an old friend that seemingly turns off easily. They might have used it for many years, relying on the assurances of their dermatologist or, often times, some Internet pharmacy could never suggest a drug that would harm them. But over the years, many of those same consumers develop entirely new pigment issues in the places where they’ve faithfully applied hydroquinone to treat freckles and acne.
Hydroquinone isn’t the only skin lightening dark spots drug out there. There are several other substances that have the same chemical makeup as hydroquinone, and can produce side effects including severe pigment changes in your skin. You may not suffer from these other substances, but if you’ve used hydroquinone, you’ve probably noticed that your pigmentation has returned. Hydroquinone isn’t the only chemical you should avoid once your pigmentation has returned.
The other popular lightening agent that’s used in tanning booths is dihydrotestosterone (DHT). DHT can act in a manner similar to hydroquinone, however, it doesn’t cause those side effects that can so negatively affect those with darker skin. For most people, DHT will do absolutely nothing to help your complexion. Still, there are some who should wait three months before reapplying any skin lightening product containing dihydrotestosterone, including all hydroquinone formulations.
In addition to hydroquinone, another popular ingredient in skin lightening products is called argireline. While it too is a derivative of hydroquinone, argireline is less likely to trigger side effects. This is because argireline has been shown to be at least as effective as hydroquinone when applied topically. It also helps make the skin to absorb more of the ingredients in topical formulas, which can be beneficial if you have a sensitivity to sun exposure. For most topical use of argireline will not be problematic, but it is better for your odds if you avoid sun exposure altogether while you’re using such a formula.
If you do find that you are sensitive to sun exposure, you may want to look for a prescription that contains at least a small amount of hydroquinone for treating pigmentation problems. When you apply it topically, you’re combining a powerful oxidizer with a powerful anti-inflammatory, all in one solution. When used this way, your chances of causing inflammation are significantly lessened, even though the same ingredients are still being used. Of course, this is not an option most people have in hand. For those who do have options, and choose to use argireline or another hydroquinone derivative, their success rate with it appears to be quite promising.
Hydroquinone is found in many prescription eye cream products, and is also commonly used as a sunscreen for those with severe cases of acne. While many other sun protection agents have been found to be ineffective when used topically, recent studies show that hydroquinone provides significantly effective protection from the sun when used in a formula designed for treating pigmentation problems. This is particularly true for those with darker skin pigmentation issues.
There have been some concerns surrounding the use of hydroquinone for treating age-related pigmentation, because it has been found to cause certain types of skin cancer. However, there have been very few reported cases of this occurring. The majority of the reported cases involved very rare forms of tumors, and they have either remained isolated or have been found to be benign. The use of hydroquinone to treat age-related pigmentation has been largely considered safe, even if prolonged exposure to the chemical could cause some form of side effects. Those who are concerned about side effects should speak with their physician.
Hydroquinone, like all other antiaging ingredients, can cause side effects if you are sensitive to it. Melasma is the name given to a pigmentary problem that presents as age spots or “black skin tone.” Hydroquinone, like all other hydroquinone derivatives, will not correct age-related melasma. It is best to consult your dermatologist for a precise dosage based on your skin tone and condition. Hydroquinone for melanoma should be considered as a possible treatment for only those patients whose melasma and other pigmentation disorders are already very serious and only under the strictest of medical supervision.