Age Spot Treatment Options – Hydroquinone
If you already have an age spot or other skin pigmentation problems, you are probably aware of hydroquinone. However, if you have only just developed your first age spot and have never heard of hydroquinone, then read this very carefully. Hydroquinone is an active ingredient that is used in a number of ways but most notably used in the field of medicine especially dermatology. Because of its capacity of skin whitening by minimizing melanin production, it is considered to be an effective “whitening” treatment. Specifically, hydroquinone can be used in lightening various skin lesions such as an age spot, pimple scars, birth marks and freckles or in making uneven skin color even.
As the main ingredient of many bleaching creams, products containing hydroquinone are available in various strengths. It can be found in two percent, four percent or even stronger concentrations. In some countries, you can buy these topical lotions which have two percent hydroquinone over the counter or without a prescription. Yet hydroquinone of four percent and higher can be bought only if you have a doctor’s prescription.
The reason why hydroquinone is common in dermatology is mainly because of its capacity to decrease the generation of the pigment inherent in the skin, melanin – which gives our skin its color. This is due to its capacity to stop tyrosinase from doing its function – generation of melanin. Effects of this are usually evident after a month of applying hydroquinone. Therefore, dermatologists recommend this treatment regimen for its usefulness and considerably harmless properties.
It can be considerably effective in whitening the skin but there are also some negative points. Because hydroquinone works by minimizing the levels of melanin, individuals using this are therefore more at risk to the dangers of the sun’s ultraviolet rays – both UVA and UVB. For that reason, people who use hydroquinone have a higher risk of skin damage leading to skin cancer if they expose themselves to the sun. Similar to any other medication which is absorbed into the body through the skin, this can damage your liver and kidneys – the organs which are accountable for the metabolism and excretion of drugs. Another effect similar with most drugs is the possibility of an allergic reaction – breathing problems and inflammation of the face and the oral parts of the digestive system. Now, if you unintentionally use hydroquinone on injured skin or sun-burnt skin, mistaking the latter for age spot or problems with pigmentation, you can worsen the injuries’ or sunburns’ state. Other bad effects that arise when using hydroquinone are the permanent modification of the skin’s color, usually bluish to black and the appearance of skin vesicles and itchy, irritated and reddish skin.
The United States government inhibited the selling of hydroquinone as an over the counter drug in 2006. This is because studies have shown that the application of hydroquinone was responsible for cancers in rats. Though this only applies to rats and not to humans, as of yet, some still view hydroquinone as a likely cause of cancer. Although some people still can purchase hydroquinone for treating an age spot or other form of pigmentation, in concentrations of two or four percent over the counter in parts of the world. As a general safety reminder, if you observe unusual changes, stop the treatment and see your doctor.