Hydroquinone: Before and After Photos


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Hydroquinone, a skin-lightening product used for hyperpigmentation and other skin conditions, can even reduce dark patches. Throughout this article, we’ll go through the uses for Hydroquinone, the side effects, the way it works, and results of taking it, and the safety associated. We’ll also discuss hyperpigmentation and the causes for the condition, as well as other conditions that may benefit from using Hydroquinone.

What is Hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching product that helps relieve the symptoms of those with Melasma or hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone lightens the skin as hyperpigmentation can cause dark spots and patches.

Hydroquinone is a lotion that can be applied multiple times daily in order to help lighten the affected areas. It can be purchased both over the counter or prescribed by a doctor at a higher dosage. Those with hyperpigmentation may be looking to lessen the darkness of their hyperpigmentation, and Hydroquinone can do that.

Photos like the above show results from consistent use of the product. When used effectively, Hydroquinone works to eliminate the dark patches that many find on their skin.

What is Melasma and Hyperpigmentation?

Melasma, or hyperpigmentation, is a skin condition that causes dark grey and brown patches on the skin. Though it isn’t for sure, it’s thought that an error with melanocytes, causing them to produce too much color, is what causes Melasma. That may be one of the reasons that Melasma is more present in those with darker skin.

Melasma is also more likely to become present in pregnant women or those experiencing rapid changes in hormones. Longtime sun exposure on the skin can also produce Melasma.

The neck, shoulders, and upper lip are common areas to see Melasma though it can appear anywhere on the body.

Is There a Cure For Melasma?

While there are home treatments (such as the over the counter Hydroquinone dose) and doctor-prescribed options, Melasma is technically incurable. The condition can be contained and essentially reversed but not permanently eliminated. There is also a chance for the condition to flare up again if left untreated.

It’s believed that sunlight and hormone changes  are the most common causes of Melasma, so they can often trigger flare-ups in those with the condition. While it’s possible to reduce sun exposure to keep the condition at bay, hormone changes may come randomly or unexpectedly, meaning it can be hard to contain the condition indefinitely.

Limiting sun exposure and wearing protection against the sun is a great way to reduce triggers to the condition. Short amounts in the sun can create new patches and worsen hyperpigmentation.

Other Conditions That Call For Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone works well for conditions other than Melasma. Many conditions affect the skin tone that may result in patients needing a skin-lightening cream. 

Dark Spots

While Hydroquinone is a skin lightening product regarding hyperpigmentation and Melasma, it works well to fix simple dark spots that anyone can experience due to sun exposure or age. Many skincare products are available with Hydroquinone added to eliminate or reduce dark spots on the skin.

If you find that you don’t suffer from Melasma but have begun noticing dark spots due to age or sun exposure, over the counter Hydroquinone doses may help even your skin tone.


Ochronosis is another skin condition that creates an uneven skin tone. It is usually apparent on the face. Ochronosis occurs when the homogentisic acid builds up inside connective tissue. The result is a blue/black hyperpigmented skin condition.

Hydroquinone can work well for Ochronosis in the same way it works for Melasma. You can lessen the condition with regular application.

How Does Hydroquinone Work?

Hydroquinone works in a way to lighten the skin that may have darkened due to Melasma. Hydroquinone works by stopping the production of melanocytes present. The excess melanocytes cause the darker skin, so lessening the number of melanocytes affecting the skin will diminish the Melasma.

Coming in lotion form, Hydroquinone will be applied two or more times daily to the skin unless otherwise directed. Following the directions on your Hydroquinone package is the best option, as you don’t want to lighten any areas of your skin that aren’t affected by Melasma. The lotion should be applied to the skin only and kept out of the eyes, nose, or other areas.

The application of Hydroquinone can also cause sensitivity to the sun, so make sure to wear sunscreen when going outside. Hydroquinone users should apply sunscreen each morning to help reduce the effects of the sun on those using the product.

Results of Taking Hydroquinone

You may not see the results of Hydroquinone until a couple of weeks after starting. Each body is different, and some may experience better results than others. Hydroquinone’s goal is that the dark grey and brown hyperpigmentation patches that those with Melasma may experience are lessened.

Many users of Hydroquinone have seen a severe and drastic change in their skin since beginning use. While their skin may at one time have had dark patches, Hydroquinone has eliminated these and evened their skin tone.

Side Effects

Side effects of taking Hydroquinone include irritation and redness to the skin, dryness of the skin, and sensitivity to the skin. If you begin experiencing any severe irritation or burning, you should refrain from continuing use and speak to a doctor.

Though these are a few of the possible side effects associated with Hydroquinone, there may be other effects as well.

Safety of Hydroquinone

In the 1980s, the FDA stated that Hydroquinone was a safe product to use. Hydroquinone started getting pushback after being pulled from the public when they thought that large amounts of mercury were in the product. The product has received a bit of a bad reputation, as it was banned in multiple countries.

Though it has garnered harsh reviews in the past, claims appear to be unfounded. Hydroquinone is actually safe to use on your skin. It has since been deemed safe by the FDA again, and anyone can purchase it over the counter. 

How To Apply

When first applying a new product to your skin, you should always perform a test application to ensure you are not allergic or experiencing any adverse effects. Apply the lotion to a non-hyperpigmentation-affected area of the skin and leave overnight. In the morning, check for any redness, irritation, or reaction to the cream. If nothing has happened, you can begin applying the Hydroquinone as directed.

When applying the lotion, you should rub twice daily onto the skin unless the package states otherwise. Apply on dry skin. You will want to avoid the eyes, ears, and mouth, and any natural skin as the lotion will lighten that if applied to it. Once you have applied the lotion, wash your hands to ensure you don’t lighten any areas you don’t want. Continue with the routine daily in order to see results over time.

Percentage Doses Available

Currently, 2% doses of Hydroquinone is purchasable over the counter. Anyone is able to buy this from a local convenience store or pharmacy. This dose is suitable for many looking to lighten hyperpigmentation and works as described.

After giving the 2% dosage a try, if you find that your skin has little to no change, there are other options available. A dosage of 4% can be prescribed by a doctor, though there are doses as high as 10% available.

The right percentage for patients will vary depending on a few variants. The patient’s skin tone may require a higher or lower percentage, while the severity of their hyperpigmentation may need another. All patients may begin using the over the counter 2% dose for a few months. If there is no change to the skin, they may consider consulting a doctor to get a prescription.

Each patient will require different applications and percentages to work well with their specific skin issues. Speaking with a professional can help make the process run more smoothly and ensure they are using the product as intended.

Medications to Avoid When Taking Hydroquinone

There are no medications that are directly affected while taking Hydroquinone. Most patients will not need to change up regular medications in order to accommodate the lotion, though everyone should consult with a doctor if they plan on using a higher strength. A professional will always be able to determine your needs better.

My Skin Looks Darker While Using Hydroquinone – What’s Going On?

Many users have noticed that, despite its claims, their skin has been looking darker while using the lotion. While Hydroquinone works to lessen the number of melanocytes present, it actually halts the production of them altogether. This means the melanocytes are not eliminated but merely not producing.

These highly pigmented skin cells accumulate one spot on your skin and possibly make it look darker in certain areas. This effect is only temporary, and you may begin seeing changes within a few weeks. There are, however, a few options available to help lessen the darkening of skin:

Cleanse Daily

Following a normal skincare routine that includes cleansing and keeping the skin clean works to keep dead skin cells from accumulating for too long. Keeping your skin regenerating can help you move through the process more quickly and eliminate the dark skin.


Exfoliating can help regenerate the skin as well and get rid of dead skin cells. Make sure to use gentle products that are not too harsh, as the application of Hydroquinone can make the skin sensitive. A chemical peel is a chemical exfoliant that can help remove dead skin cells as well.

Some Hydroquinone Products To Try

While there are a large number of Hydroquinone products available, these are a couple of great first options to give a try. If you find yourself unsure of where to start, try starting here. 

Ultra Potent Brightening Serum

The Ultra Potent Brightening Serum comes in a 2% dose and works to repair hyperpigmentation from Melasma. It provides healthy, glowing skin. The Serum also protects from the sun and is fragrance and cruelty-free.

After being tested on the skin, apply the product every other day while working up to daily use.


  • Not tested on animals
  • Results guaranteed within four weeks of use
  • Fragrance-free as not to irritate the skin


  • One fl oz can is not a large size.

Admire My Skin Dark Spot Corrector

Also, in a 2% dose, the Admire My Skin Dark Spot Corrector fights hyperpigmentation from Melasma. The cream contains salicylic acid, azelaic acid, lactic acid, and vitamin C. The combination of acids helps rejuvenate skin and remove dead skin cells.

The product promises results in as little as four weeks.


  • Results promised within four weeks
  • Made with other acids for best results possible


  • 1fl oz is not a large size

Should You Try Hydroquinone?

Hyperpigmentation and other skin conditions can severely affect a person’s mental health. If you find that you have hyperpigmentation or dark spots and have exhausted other options, Hydroquinone may be the choice for you. The lotion can improve your quality of life by eliminating your dark patches and helping to even your skin tone.

If your hyperpigmentation is not severe, you may purchase Hydroquinone over the counter. If you find that the dosage is too low, you can consult with your doctor for a higher dosage. Hydroquinone has been approved as a safe product to apply to the skin, so you should not worry about using it. The fact that you have the option to choose between a lower over-the-counter dose and a higher prescribed dose should help as you can always try a higher dosage if the lower is not adequate. Many patients using Hydroquinone have experienced outstanding results and have lightened their hyperpigmentation by applying the location daily and consistently.