Age Spots & Hydroquinone
The term hydroquinone is probably a familiar term for you, particularly if you are suffering from age spots or pigmentation problems of the skin. However, this may be the first time you have learned of this term if age spots or modifications in skin condition are not one of your troubles. Hydroquinone, a chemical compound, has been very favorable in the bounds of medicine, particularly in dermatology, and in other different industries as well. Due to the chemical’s properties, it has been considered as one of the few chemicals successful in making the skin whiter, in general. It is particularly successful in helping individuals be free from the appearance of age spots, unsightly dark skin lesions and uneven skin color.
Topical creams for various skin conditions might contain hydroquinone singularly or incorporated with other chemicals. It is available in two percent, four percent or greater concentrations. In other countries, you can purchase topical creams which have two percent hydroquinone without presenting a prescription. But without a doctor’s prescription, you will not be able to use a stronger hydroquione-containing topical cream. Or if you are currently inflicted with age spots or other skin conditions necessitating the need for topical creams with higher concentrations of hydroquinone, you can buy them from your own dermatologist.
Hydroquinone works by hindering the skin from generating superfluous melanin – the pigment being the reason for the existence and variation in our skin color. This is because of its capacity to inhibit tyrosinase from carrying out its function – creation of melanin. You begin to observe its efficacy after applying the hydroquinone for one month. Dermatologists actually consider hydroquinone an effective and relatively safe skin lightener.
It may be considerably effective in lightening the skin but it also has its own downsides. With the application of hydroquinone on the skin, it decreases the melanin and eventually increases the skin’s vulnerability to ultraviolet radiation – both UVA and UVB. As a result, users become more prone in developing skin cancer. As with any other medications, hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity are its most serious adverse effects. Hydroquinone can also commence an allergic reaction making the person breathe hardly and making the face and the parts of the digestive system swell. Some might mistakenly see sunburns as age spots or skin hyper-pigmentation and unfortunately apply hydroquinone on them – making the condition worse. Skin discoloration from the normal color into blue or black, skin irritation, itching and redness, along with the formation of abscesses are still some of hydroquinone’s unwelcomed effects.
In the United States, in the year 2006, the availability of hydroquinone as an over-the-counter drug was prohibited. This is because studies have shown that the application of hydroquinone caused cancers in rats. Even though it is not yet validated that hydroquinone can cause cancer in human beings, some still presume otherwise. However, in some countries, especially those that do not have strict laws regarding medications, hydroquinone – two percent or four percent – continues to be sold not only in drugstores but also in cosmetic stores. Unless more studies are done to prove or disprove hydroquinone’s carcinogenic property, extreme care should be observed in its use.