Hydroquinone used to be prevalent in skin lightening treatments until people began noticing some troubling side effects. In fact, the reactions experienced by some people prompted scientific studies to take a closer look at the ingredient, and those studies exposed some very real dangers.
Some countries have gone so far as to ban the use of hydroquinone and its derivative products from all skin lightening treatments.
Let’s take a look at why …
Hydroquinone can cause dramatic allergic reactions in some people. Some patients reported feeling burning or stinging sensations, as well as difficulty breathing and facial swelling. Needless to say, any severe allergic reaction should be considered a medical emergency.
Some skin lightening creams recommended heavy, extended use, and that’s when the FDA and other regulatory agencies noticed some strange skin discolorations presenting in hydroquinone users. Patches of blueish-gray skin, yellowish-brown skin, and overly thick skin began showing up on people who used hydroquinone in large quantities.
Prolonged use of hydroquinone can lead to increased photosensitivity, meaning that users become much more susceptible to suffering bad sunburn. People who use hydroquinone are advised to avoid all tanning beds and sunlamps as well as direct sunlight. Sunburn can become serious, even after brief exposure, if you’re taking hydroquinone.
This may be related to the fact that overuse of hydroquinone can disrupt melanin production on a massive scale, leaving you with little to no natural sun defense.
If taken in large quantities, hydroquinone is toxic to human beings. People who have become intoxicated may feel dizzy, experience seizures or fainting, or have nausea and vomiting, or even shortness of breath. Any of these symptoms should be considered a medical emergency and receive attention right away.
Some studies recommend taking hydroquinone for no more than 5 days in a row, and only a few times a year – if it’s taken at all.
Studies are still under way today to determine whether hydroquinone is a carcinogen – meaning: Does it cause cancer? This startling possibility was raised after hydroquinone use was linked to an increased number of cancer cases. While the studies are not yet concluded, many experts agree that it’s best to avoid using hydroquinone until the risk can be ruled out.
Hydroquinone was a popular skin lightening ingredient in the past, but it’s far from the only choice. There are much safer, all-natural products on the market now which pose no risk to the user. Gentle but effective products, such as those offered in the Zeta White 3-step system, are a better alternative.
Your health should be the chief concern when considering any cosmetic product. Remember to only deal with businesses that are regulated, safe, and which stand behind their products.