Our expert says:
Hi Lee, thank you for the question and my apologies for the delay with your answer.
Hydroquinone decreases the formation of melanin in the skin. Melanin is the pigment in skin that gives it a brown color. Hydroquinone topical is used to lighten areas of darkened skin such as freckles, age spots, chloasma, and melasma.
Precautions and Directions:
This medication may be harmful to an unborn baby.
Do not use hydroquinone topical on skin that is sunburned, windburned, dry, chapped, or irritated, or on an open wound. It could make these conditions worse. Wait until these conditions have healed before applying hydroquinone topical. Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, or skin cleansers, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime. Do not use other medicated skin products unless your doctor has told you to.
Avoid exposure to sunlight or artificial UV rays (sunlamps or tanning beds). Hydroquinone topical can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and sunburn may result. Use a sunscreen (minimum SPF 15) and wear protective clothing if you must be out in the sun.
Use this medication exactly as directed on the label, or as prescribed by your doctor. Do not use it in larger amounts or for longer than recommended. Hydroquinone topical is for external use only. Wash your hands before and after applying this medication, unless you are treating a skin area on your hand. Apply the medication to clean, dry skin. Apply just enough medication to cover the affected area. Avoid applying to the unaffected surrounding skin. Rub in the medication gently and completely. Avoid getting this medication on your lips or inside your nose or mouth. Hydroquinone may cause numbness of these areas. If the medication does get on any of these areas, rinse with water.
It is important to use hydroquinone topical regularly to get the most benefit. Store hydroquinone topical at room temperature away from moisture and heat. Your skin may be more sensitive to weather extremes such as cold and wind. Protect your skin with clothing and use a moisturizing cream or lotion as needed.
Avoid using skin products that can cause irritation, such as harsh soaps, shampoos, or skin cleansers, hair coloring or permanent chemicals, hair removers or waxes, or skin products with alcohol, spices, astringents, or lime. Do not use other medicated skin products unless your doctor has told you to.
Using hydroquinone topical together with benzoyl peroxide, hydrogen peroxide, or other peroxide products may cause a temporary staining of your skin. This staining can usually be removed with soap and water.
Hydroquinone topical side effects:
Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficulty breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat. Stop using hydroquinone topical and call your doctor if you have severe burning, stinging, or other irritation of your skin after apply the medication.
Less serious side effects may include mild burning, stinging, itching, redness, or irritation of treated skin.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Tell your doctor about any unusual or bothersome side effect.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal
advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.