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Jan 10, 2024

Skin Health

Hydroquinone and Skin Health

What is Hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone, known commercially as Eldoquin Forte, is a skin-lightening medication used to treat hyperpigmentation. It works by disrupting melanin production, the pigment responsible for skin, hair, and eye color. Melanin is produced by melanocytes in the skin, and its excess or uneven distribution can cause hyperpigmentation, resulting in conditions like age spots, freckles, sun damage, and melasma or chloasma, which are dark brown patches often linked to hormonal changes.

This medication, typically in a 4% topical cream form, is prescribed for adults and children over 12 years old. It should be applied to the affected skin areas usually twice daily. However, it is important to avoid applying it near sensitive areas such as the eyes, nose, mouth, or lips, as it can cause irritation. Hydroquinone is available for purchase through the Marley Drug website. Remember, it's essential to follow the prescribed usage guidelines to avoid potential side effects.


Hyperpigmentation is when parts of your skin get darker. This happens when your body makes too much melanin. When you have hyperpigmentation, you might notice dark spots, patches, or areas on your skin that are darker than the rest.

Here are some common types of hyperpigmentation:

  • Melasma This shows up as dark, uneven patches on your face, like on the cheeks, forehead, or upper lip. It's often linked to hormonal changes and can happen due to pregnancy, birth control pills, or being in the sun a lot.
  • Age spots: These are small, dark spots that pop up on sun-exposed parts of your body, like your face, hands, shoulders, or arms. They're mostly caused by the sun's UV rays.
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH): This type happens after your skin gets inflamed. It can come from acne, insect bites, cuts, or burns. When your skin is healing, these areas can turn darker.
  • Freckles: These are little spots of extra pigmentation. They're usually something you're born with and can become more noticeable when you're out in the sun.

Side Effects of Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone can usually be used safely, but sometimes it can cause side effects. Here's what you might experience:

Common side effects
  • Skin irritation: This includes redness, itching, burning, or a bit of peeling where you apply it.
  • Dryness or flakiness
  • Increased sun sensitivity: The treated skin can react more to the sun or UV lights, causing dark spots to return. It's a good idea to use sunscreen and avoid exposure to UV lamps or tanning beds.
Serious side effects
  • Skin sensitivity increase: Long-term use might make your skin more prone to irritation.
    Perform a patch test: Apply a small amount on your skin and wait for 1 day to observe if any skin reactions, such as itching, blisters, and/or a rash, develop. If no reaction occurs or if you only experience mild redness, it’s generally safe to proceed with using this medication.
  • Ochronosis: A rare condition where skin turns bluish-black or dark brown. This happens mainly with long-term or excessive use.
  • Allergic reactions: These are rare but can include severe itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing. If this happens, stop using the cream and seek medical help immediately.

If you notice any serious side effects, stop using Hydroquinone and contact your doctor right away.

Hydroquinone and Pregnancy

The use of Hydroquinone during pregnancy is a subject of concern and should be discussed with your doctor. While there is limited research on the safety of Hydroquinone use during pregnancy, it’s generally recommended to avoid its use, especially during the first trimester, when your developing fetus is most vulnerable to potential risks.

It’s generally recommended that pregnant women be cautious about using skincare products and medications, as many substances can potentially be absorbed through the skin and affect the fetus.


Hydroquinone can interact with other medications and supplements. Make sure to tell your doctor and pharmacist about everything you're taking, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements. Be extra careful if you're using other products that make your skin more sensitive to sunlight, like Tretinoin (Retin-A) or Doxycycline. Always check with your doctor before using Hydroquinone with any other treatments.

Speak With Your Doctor

You should talk with your doctor about Hydroquinone to ensure its safety and effectiveness for your skin condition. Your doctor can assess any potential interactions with other medications you may be using, provide personalized treatment recommendations, and monitor your progress to optimize the outcome while minimizing risks or side effects.

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