Authors: Vanessa Ngan, Staff Writer, 2005; Updated: Dr Ian Coulchild, Consultant Dermatologist, East Lancashire NHS Trust, Lancashire, UK. Copy edited by Gus Mitchell. September 2021.

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Hydroquinol, Quinol, Para-dihydroxybenzene, p-Dihydroxybenzene, Hydrochinone, p-hydroxylphenol, Hydrochinonium, Hydroquinol, Tequinol, 1,4-Benzenediol, Benzene-1,4-Diol
Skin bleaching product, Mechanism of action of hydroquinone, Use of hydroquinone and efficacy, Side impacts of hydroquinone, Depigmenting cream

What is hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening agent provided topically for the therapy of hyperpigmentation.

Who offers hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone is many typically offered in bleaching creams by patients aged 13 years and also over through a dark skin form. It can be supplied, often in combicountry via various other drugs, to treat:

Hydroquinone may likewise be provided as a pretreatment prior to fractional laser treatment or chemical peels.

Skin problems that might be treated via hydroquinone

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What are the contraindications with hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone must not be used by individuals allergic to hydroquinone or any of the excipients in the formulation such as the preservative metabisulphite.

Tell me even more about hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone is used in a cream or lotion formulation in a concentration of 1-5%. It is frequently found in a mix formulation via various other skin lightening agents such as topical retinoids (to boost efficiency) and low potency topical steroids (to reduce irritancy).

In New Zealand also and also many type of other nations, hydroquinone is just available on prescription, and also might must be compounded by the pharmacist.

Hydroquinone have to be distinguiburned from monobenzyl ether of hydroquinone which can reason irreversible pigment loss.

Mechanism of activity of hydroquinone

Hydroquinone ligh10s epidermal, yet not dermal, pigmentation by reducing the production of brand-new melanin:

Reversible inhibition of tyrosinase, an enzyme associated in converting L3,4-diphenylalanine to the skin pigment melaninSelective damage to melanocytes and melanosomes.

How to use hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is applied topically simply to the hyperpigmented skin just, twice daily for 3 months, after which time many patients preserve their improvement by making use of it twice each week. If there has been no benefit after 3 months of therapy, then the hydroquinone must be quit. Management of the underlying cause of the hyperpigmentation is also recommfinished.

When initiating hydroquinone treatment, it is advisable to:

Start with a test location about 1 cm in diameter. If tright here is no irritation or redness within 24 hrs, the cream can be offered more extensively on the influenced areas.Apply a thin film initially everyday and if tright here is no irritation after one week, the application frequency deserve to be raised to twice a day.Do not use close to the eyes or mouth.Do not use any kind of various other topical medication, particularly benzoyl peroxide.Treatment should be disongoing if undue redness, scaling, itch, or weeping occurs.

What are the benefits of hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone is especially effective for the therapy of postinflammatory hyperpigmentation which is unmost likely to recur gave the underlying inflammatory dermatosis is likewise managed.

In melasma, 70% of sufferers notification clearance or reduction in pigmentation through twice everyday hydroquinone provided for three months. This development deserve to be preserved in 50% of individuals through twice weekly application.

Response of melasma after three months of hydroquinone

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What are the disadvantages of hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone does not treat pigmentation in the dermis.

Melasma deserve to be resistant to therapy and usually requires combicountry treatment and multiple therapeutic ideologies, of which hydroquinone is one component.

What are the side effects and also threats of hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone can cause mild irritant call dermatitis once used in concentrations over 4%. A short drug holiday and/or application of a topical steroid will certainly commonly clear up the reactivity.

Commercial formulations of hydroquinone contain the preservative metabisulphite, which have the right to reason an allergic reaction.

Top Priorities have been raised about the security of hydroquinone in Europe, Japan, and also the USA due to:

High dose oral hydroquinone leading to cancer in rats, but after 50 years of topical usage there have actually been no instances of cancer reported in humans

Other reported cutaneous adverse impacts of hydroquinone include:

The security of topical hydroquinone has not been establiburned in pregnancy and also lactation.

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New Zealand also approved datasheets are the official source of information for prescription medicines, including apshowed uses and danger information. Check the individual New Zealand datasheet on the Medsafe webwebsite. If you are not based in New Zealand, we imply you refer to your nationwide drug approval firm for better information around medicines (eg, the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration and the US Food and also Drug Administration) or a nationwide or state-apconfirmed formulary (eg, the New Zealand also Formulary and New Zealand Formulary for Children and also the British National Formulary and British National Formulary for Children).