Hydroquinone creams are the most popular option when it comes to skin lightening and if you don’t know why, scroll down to understand the basics of this type of creams.
As effective as it may be, hydroquinone does have its opponents and it still raises some eye brows among the specialists out there.
Is it as effective as they claim?
Here’s how hydroquinone works: hydroquinone is in fact a powerful inhibitor of tyrosinase, the enzyme that is essential for melanin production. As it blocks this enzyme, hydroquinone controls the dark skin from producing the substance relating to the skin color in the first place.
This is how hydroquinone lowers the production of melanin, while minimizing the breakdown of melanosomes (melanin pigment granules) in the skin’s pigment cells. As time goes by, the old skin cells shed and leave the new skin reveal, with a less melanin and a lighter skin tone.
How much do you have to wait?
Hydroquinone isn’t a bleaching agent as it doesn’t bleach the skin. It’s not able to destroy the previously synthesized melanin, as it only can disrupt the production and synthesis of melanin.
Even though the synthesis of new melanin is blocked quite fast, the existing melanin needs some time to migrate out of the skin through natural exfoliation.
This explains why you need to wait a couple of weeks until you see the results of hydroquinone. Using exfoliating agents that quicken cell renewal (alpha-hydroxy acids) is going to help the process, for sure.
What about the side effects?
Hydroquinone is both efficient and controversial, but the FDA still considers it to be safe and efficient. Recent data suggest hydroquinone may act as a carcinogen, which explains why the European Union banned the use of hydroquinone starting in 2001.
There are many studies that look closely into the health related side effects of hydroquinone, but, so far, so good.
We may not know for sure, as we speak, if hydroquinone is a carcinogen or not, but we do know about its common side effects:
- It may irritate the skin and cause stinging, redness, mild burning and even dryness. Even though it’s rare, hydroquinone may cause skin cracking and blistering.
- Hydroquinone may have a negative effect on fetal development, which is why pregnant or breastfeeding women shouldn’t use it.
- It’s not impossible for hydroquinone to cause increase darkening of the skin. Ochronosis is a long-term condition that makes the skin darker and thicker than typically. There have been only 22 cases in 50 years, but the side effect does exist.
One last thought
It goes without saying that hydroquinone works and it still is the only skin care ingredient that really lightens everything from freckles to melasma.
Keep in mind though that is comes with side effects and risks, even though not 100% proven, so you may want to give it a second thought.
You may start with some natural skin lighteners and get to hydroquinone only as a final solution, when everything else has failed.
TOP 5 Hydroquinone Cream Reviews
1). Don’t let the low price of the Ambi Fade Cream for Normal Skin fool you as this one is a classic that doesn’t disappoint when it comes to slowly whitening hyperpigmentation.
The cream may be the cheapest and yet effective cream that you can get for the price. It includes 2% hydroquinone, but also a small amount of AHAs (lactic acid). In order to sustain its efforts, you may want to use an exfoliating cleanser or a retinoid cream too.
As it doesn’t include strong exfoliants, the cream isn’t very harsh on your skin, nor drying either. Unlike many other hydroquinone cream, this one is a safe choice even for the sensitive skin.
The vitamin E is another great addition and the cream also has sunscreen. Even though it’s only a low 2% Octinoxate, it’s still better than nothing.
The cream has a subtle scent that some may not like it. It comes in two formulas: oily and normal skin,
Due to its efficiency that doesn’t come from harsh chemicals, the cream may be used under eyes and other sensitive areas.
Here are the most important qualities of the cream:
- The cream includes hydroquinone, Vitamin E and AHAs
- It has an amazing price and a great quality for the price
- It comes for both normal and oily skin
- It’s working on many areas against hyperpigmentation
It’s only natural for the cream to present some minor downsides:
- Some may take its smell as chemical
- Not everyone noticed great improvements
However, considering the money you’re paying, the cream still is a great value for the money.
2). If you’re sitting on the fence about paying the extra buck or settling with a low priced hydroquinone cream, do neither. Get an efficient cream like the Emma Cardinelli Skin Lightening Cream 2% Hydroquinone Skin Bleaching Cream with 6% Glycolic Acid and Vitamin E that brings the improvements that you’re looking for a good price.
The formula of the cream includes 2% hydroquinone, but you’re going to read on the list some other ingredients: Ferulic Acis, glycolic acid, licorice extract and Vitamin E.
You may need a couple of weeks until you see the results. The cream is slowly removing dark spots, freckles or other hyperpigmentation issues. It’s only a matter of time until your skin is glowing and healthier looking again. Rosacea, dark spots, age spots, liver spots, and acne related spots are going to fade away while using the cream.
The cream is easy and safe to apply on many body parts: face, neck and chest, but also on knees, elbows, inner thighs, back, armpits and even the private areas
You need to apply the cream daily, but you should only do it from time to time if your skin is very dark. Don’t apply it under your eyes, eyelids or lips.
As in case of all hydroquinone creams, try to limit your sun exposure, wear protective clothing and use sunscreen daily.
The cream is very easy to use as it comes with a pump dispenser so you get a good amount of cream every single time. Let’s not forget it has a light texture so it goes fast and easy into your skin.
Wait for the results to appear and allow the cream a couple of weeks until obvious results. It doesn’t have a strong smell and moisturizes the skin too.
Our favorite parts about the cream:
- It has the right price for the value
- It contains 2% hydroquinone
- It’s easy to use
- It removes dark spots with multiple causes
We’re not making a tragedy out of the minor issues:
- Some feel it has a noticeable smell, but this may vary from one another
- Some think it’s kind of sticky
All in all, for its versatility and price, you can definitely give it a go whenever in need.
3). A glance at the Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Dark Spot Corrector Remover for Face & Melasma Treatment Fade Cream is going go to help you understand why so many people out there use it successfully.
The strong formula of the cream is the reason why this cream works for so many. Not only the cream contains 2% hydroquinone, but also other ingredients that are known for their whitening abilities: salicylic acid, Vitamin C, lactic acid and azelaic acid.
The cream is strong and as skin is so different, some may notice results after only a couple of days, whereas some may need even a month until obvious improvements to the skin.
The cream removes melasma, dark spots and hyperpigmentation. You need to use sunscreen after applying the cream and wear protective clothes too.
As it’s a rather strong cream, it’s better to stay safe and have a break from it after 2 months of use. Stop for a month as you may also develop a resistance to hydroquinone. Additionally, if you use it for more than 60 days in a row, you may also develop Ochronosis (a darkening of the skin that is never going to disappear).
When you’re on a break from the cream, you may help your skin with some Vitamin C serum and AHA, to maintain its healthy glow.
Here’s what are its strengths:
- The cream is powerful
- It removes melasma, dark spots and hyperpigmentation
- It’s made in our USA
- It’s efficient and easy to use
The minor downsides don’t bother us:
- Some feel it stinging
- It may be too strong for a sensitive skin
However, if your mind is set on using an effective and well-priced cream, this one is a true winner.
4). Designed to work against various skin discoloration and pigmentation problems, the Clinicians Complex 6% Skin Bleaching Cream is a wise option for many.
The formula of the cream is the main reason for its efficiency: hydroquinone, kojic acid, and bearberry extract. The total of 6% give you a good cream that helps you get rid of dark spots, age spots and even freckles.
As previously, stay on the safe side while using the cream and also apply sunscreen, SPF 30 to say the least.
You may use the cream on many areas of your bod, but you need to give it some time until you notice the results. The process is quite low, but this doesn’t mean that some didn’t have amazing results after just 2 weeks of use.
The cream’s consistency is thicker than expected, but does go easy into your skin.
And if you’re also trying to get rid of freckles, this one is going to do it. As a matter of fact, it works on various skin discoloration or pigmentation issues.
Here’s what we like the most about it:
- It includes powerful whitening ingredients
- It works on many pigmentation problems and discoloration
- A little goes a long way
- It’s easy to use
Don’t change your mind because of some minor issues:
- It has a slight smell that some may not like it
- Some noted it leaves a waxy feeling
However, as it’s efficient and reliable, the cream stands out as a good option when in need.
5). Are you willing to make a great investment for your skin? Put your money at stake with the Precision Skin RX Medical Grade Hydroquinone 2% Cream whenever you feel like you deserve the extra buck.
The cream is going to even your skin tone and lighten overall complexion. Due to its high concentration of hydroquinone, it also minimizes melanin production, sustaining cell-turnover.
Even though the cream is strong, it’s quite gentle and goes fast and easy into your skin. Its formula is effective and leaves your skin brighter and lighten.
You need to use it on regular basics in order to get results. It’s safe to use on your face and neck, but you should stay away from the eye area. Let it absorb really well before you go ahead and apply other products.
Some like to include the cream in their night time routine, but you may also check with your physician what’s the best way for your skin.
You should use it twice a week in the first week and increase use slowly. You should pay attention to any sign of irritation.
Don’t forget to use sun protection too when using the cream.
As long as you’re cautious about it and use it constantly, you should expect results after a couple of weeks:
- The cream is strong, yet gentle
- It’s easy to use
- It leaves your skin brighter and lighten
- It’s a great buy for your skin
However, some flaws bug us a bit:
- It’s a high-end cream
- You may consider a physician before using it
No matter how you see it, the cream still is a great choice when you’re willing to pay the extra buck.
Directions: Apply sparingly over face and neck, avoiding eye area. Allow to absorb before applying additional products. Can be used once a day at bedtime or as directed by physician. Initial application should be twice a week for first week and increase use after skin shows minimal signs of irritation. Use of sun protection recommended.
Best Hydroquinone Cream for Skin Lightening
Designed to satisfy the needs of all skin types, the Alpha Hydrox Spot Light Targeted Skin Lightener is a nice surprise for many, especially considering that it’s very affordable.
The cream contains 2% hydroquinone and 10% Glycolic Acid, which means it’s quite strong and, therefore, efficient. The vitamin E and moisturizers in the formula do make the cream easier to handle by your skin so the burning sensation is minor.
Due to its formula, the cream is able to diminish age spots, sun spots, freckles and brings changes to the better in your skin pigmentation caused by pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives. The cream is going to even your skin’s tone and texture, keeping skin discolorations at distance. Glycolic acid sustains the efficiency of hydroquinone and boosts the collagen production, helping your skin look and feel healthier.
If it’s not the first time you’re using AHA, your skin may react pretty well to the cream. On the other hand, a sensitive skin may not enjoy the benefits of the cream and experience a mild skin irritation. The same thing goes for the oily skin since the cream includes mineral oil, which may increase the greasy texture of the skin.
You shouldn’t use the cream on children under 12 years of age and you should always wear sunscreen while using the cream. Try your best to limit your sun exposure and wear protective clothes too.
Once you open it, the cream is going to be safe to use for 18 months.
The main pros about the cream would be:
- The cream has a strong formula that whitens skin hyperpigmentation
- It increases the collagen production
- It moisturizes the skin due to Vitamin E and moisturizes in the formula
- It’s easy to use and safe for all skin types
The cons aren’t major:
- You may experience an itchy feel as your skin heals
- Some don’t go for its smell
As it’s efficient, reliable and not pricey at all, the cream is a wise option when in need.
Best Hydroquinone Cream Over the Counter
The advanced formula of the MD Complete DARK SPOT Corrector IMPROVED FORMULA is helping you remove the unwanted dark spots and hyperpigmentation caused by sun damage, while evening your skin tone and brightening it. The skin becomes smoother and the slight fresh scent is a bonus, for sure.
Along with the cream you get Retinol Vitamin C concentrate and Booster pack that is going to make the results show faster.
The cream contains 2% hydroquinone which is why it gives dermatologist-level results, as long as you’re using it according to the instructions. Play it safe and have a patch test on a small area of your skin.
As the cream is quite strong, it’s better to only use it every now and then in the first week. You may use it once a day on the 2nd week and go up to twice a day by the 3rd week. The more you’re going to use, the sooner the results are going to show.
Despite the fact is strong, the cream is rather gentle on your skin as it also contains Borage oil, Black raspberry seed oil, and allantoin. The natural skin lighteners Niacin amide and Alpha Arbutin sure improve the action of Hydroquinone from the cream. This combination is going to fade the dark spots on your skin, without drying it or flaking either.
The cream comes with the sample bottle Vitamin C Retinol Booster that sustains hydroquinone efficiency, giving faster results. If you’re going to use it or not, it’s entirely up to you.
The nice scent of the cream doesn’t linger for long, whereas the lightweight texture of the cream makes it go inside your skin fast and easy. Not only the dark spots are going to slowly fade away, but your skin is going to be moisturized as well.
Try not to apply the cream under eyes, on lips or eyelids either and minimize use if you’re experiencing any skin irritation.
The very short list of good things would be:
- The cream has a strong formula
- It’s gentle on your skin and it’s moisturizing it as well
- It whitens your skin and removes dark spots with various causes
- It has a lightweight texture and a nice fresh smell
The cons aren’t deal breakers for us:
- Some didn’t have the patience to wait for the results
- After a while, some feel the smell of the cream changes to something reminding of old vitamins
As long as you’re following the directions of use and have the patience for the results to show, the cream still stands as a wise option for many.
Best for Melasma
If you’re trying to remove melasma for quite some time now, you can give it a try with the Divine Derriere 2% Hydroquinone Skin Lightening Cream.
The special formula of the cream turns it into a wise option when fighting against melasma or other skin discolorations.
On the list of ingredients, you’re going to notice not only the well-known Hydroquinone (2%), but also other ingredients that really work when it comes to brightening and whitening your skin: Lactic Cid, Niacin amide, B-White Peptide, Glycolic Acid. The Licorice Extract and Vitamin E ease the cream’s absorption to your skin, leaving a nicer and silkier feeling behind.
The dual Alpha hydroxyl acid is the one that exfoliates your skin, while removing dirt, oil and various impurities from your skin. It boosts the efficiency of Hydroquinone and explains why the cream works on whitening your skin.
The versatility of the cream is great and you may safely use it on your face, neck and hands, but also on your knees, elbows, underarms and around the private parts too.
The cream has a rich texture, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t soak right in into your skin. The risk for irritation or break outs is minor, but keep in mind that skin is different from one another.
Another thing that strikes us in a good way is the dispenser of the cream. You only have to press slightly on the top of it so that the right amount of cream comes out.
The packaging of the cream is yet another good thing to notice.
As long as you’re dedicated and follow the instructions, you may experience improvements on your skin hyperpigmentation even after 2 weeks.
Here’s what we like the most about the cream:
- The cream is strong, yet gentle on your skin
- It diminishes dark spots and melasma from various parts of your body
- It’s very easy to use
- It has a rich consistency, but goes easy into the skin
We’re not that worried about the minor issues:
- Some feel the smell it’s slightly chemical
- It simply may not work for all
Easy to use, rich and efficient, the cream is one choice that you should give it a try for removing melasma or other dark spots.
Best for Acne Scars
Don’t let the low price of the Black and White Bleaching Cream fool you, as this cream is going to help you get rid of those nasty acne scars, while whitening the affected areas too.
The cream includes 2% hydroquinone, but also sodium sulfite, ascorbic acid, stearate, mineral oil, methyl paraben and water glycerin. It has a slight fragrance, but the opinions on the smell are quite divided: some like it, some don’t.
Due to its formula, the cream has an oily consistency and the risk for irritations and burning sensation is minor.
As for the areas that you may use it on, it’s good to know that the cream is gentle enough to be used on your intimate parts as well. If your skin is sensitive, you shouldn’t worry about using it.
When you’re using it twice a day and follow the instructions when using a hydroquinone cream, the results are going to be noticeable after a couple of weeks. The cream is going to fade away dark spots, freckles, age spots, liver spots and acne scars too.
The risk for negative effects is minor, most of the time. Keep in mind though to use a sunscreen when using the bleaching cream.
The seal dealer for many may be the price so you’re not going to lose much when trying the cream.
The very short list of good things is as follow:
- The cream is efficient and easy to use
- It works on all skin types, on many areas of your body
- It’s easy to use and gives minor side effects
- It’s very affordable
For this kind of money, some slight flaws were to be expected:
- Some expected better results
- A haze may remain on your face which is why some included it in their night time routine
As long as you’re only going for removing the acne scars and improvements on skin hyperpigmentation, you’re good to go with this one.
Best Hydroquinone Face Cream
As most of dark spots are caused by the sun and are placed on the face, there’s only obvious for a whitening cream to be designed to be highly efficient on the face.
The Best Age Spot Remover – Dark Spot Corrector – Excellent Brown Spot, Rosacea and Scar Cream is a whitening cream like that, showing great results against age spots, Rosacea and scars on your face.
The formula of the cream is great as it’s strong enough to work, but you don’t need a prescription from your physician for using it.
The dark spot corrector is one popular choice and there are many reasons for explaining this popularity. The cream has an amazing texture, going nice and easy into your skin. Not only it contains 2% hydroquinone, but also includes rose water, grape and lavender oil that make the cream have a pleasant scent and a nice consistency.
The cream addresses to many skin conditions, from age spots and dark spots to acne scars and Rosacea. You can definitely use it on your face, arms and hands, but you may not want to use it in the intimate areas.
A sensitive skin should be cautious about using the cream due to its strong formula. Better yet, run a fast patch test on a small area of your skin before actually starting to use it where you need.
The cream is also going to work for evening your skin tone, removing freckles too.
There are many things to like about the cream and not clogging the pores is one of them for sure.
Give 30 to 60 days to the cream to work, as long as you’re using it twice a day. Keep in mind to limit sun exposure, put on sunscreen and wear protective clothing while using the cream.
Let’s sum it all up and list the most important qualities:
- The cream is strong, yet may be used without a prescription
- It removes age spots, dark spots, acne scars and Rosacea
- You may use it for your face, arms and hands
- It has a nice texture and gives results
However, we do have some minor complaints:
- Some don’t go for its smell, even though it’s not a strong one
- You can’t use it for the private parts
Efficient for skin discoloration and hyperpigmentation with various causes, the cream is a good choice not only for your face, but also for your hands and arms too.