Hydroquinone Utilization For Age Spots: Good Or Bad?

October 2, 2010

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I am quite confident that if you are or had been suffering from age spots or other problems involving the skin, you most unquestionably have run across the term hydroquinone. However, this must be the first time you have learned of this term if age spots or modifications in skin condition are not one of your problems. Hydroquinone, a chemical compound, has been very useful in the specialty of medicine, particularly in dermatology, and in other various industries as well. Because of its ability to “whiten” the skin by minimizing melanin production, it is considered to be an effective “whitening” material. Its specific use is to lighten age spots, scars or other dark lesions on the skin or to smoothen the skin color.

As an/a component of topical creams, hydroquinone is either employed solo or together with other chemicals. It is available in several potencies: two percent, four percent or even beyond four percent. Hydroquinone two percent is available as an over-the-counter drug in some countries. But hydroquinone four percent and above can be availed of only if you have a doctor’s prescription. And other doctors themselves sell these topical applications that have higher concentrations of hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone is used primarily because of its ability to minimize the production of melanin – the pigment found in the skin and responsible for the variation in skin color. Tyrosinase is the enzyme that creates melanin and hydroquinone impedes it from doing so. You begin to notice its effectiveness after applying the hydroquinone for one month. Therefore, doctors recommend this treatment regimen for its usefulness and considerably harmless property.

It may be considerably effective in lightening the skin but it also has its own downsides. Because hydroquinone works by decreasing the production of melanin, individuals using this are therefore more exposed to the dangers of the sun’s ultraviolet rays – both UVA and UVB. As a result, users become more prone in developing skin cancer. Since the liver and the kidneys work twenty-four hours to metabolize and excrete the drugs we put into our bodies, injury to these organs is one adverse effect of hydroquinone and almost other drugs as well. Like also any other medication, this can possibly cause allergic reactions manifested by breathing difficulties and inflammation of the face and the oral organs. Some might mistakenly see sunburns as age spots or skin hyper-pigmentation and horribly apply hydroquinone on them – making the condition worse. Other unwanted adverse effects are skin discoloration, particularly bluish to black, formation of blisters, skin irritation, itchiness and redness.

In the United States, in the year 2006, the availability of hydroquinone as an over-the-counter drug was prohibited. The cause: the increased occurrence of cancers in rats that are administered with hydroquinone. Though this only applies to rats and not to human beings, as of yet, some still view hydroquinone as a possible cause of cancer. 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. Whichever may be true, once unusual changes appear, go to your doctor immediately.

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