Anyone who has had a skin issue such as skin blotch, freckles, dark spots and other skin color related issues must have in one way or the other come across skin lightening or bleaching products which brighten the tone of the skin.
Your dermatologist or pharmacist may have recommended a particular topical drug for you to apply in order to clear those skin blemishes. There are many skin treatments available, but it is rather hard to find out which of them is skin-friendly in the long run, and which one will have a boomerang effect in the future.
Some of those topical medications contain ingredients that are harmful to the skin. Hydroquinone is probably the most notorious of such ingredients, and sadly, it is a major ingredient in some creams and other skin lightening products; both the ones prescribed by health personnel and the non-prescribed ones.
Currently, there are heated debates concerning hydroquinone and its safety. Because of the uncertainty surrounding this chemical, it is important that you check your skin whitening product to know if Hydroquinone is present in it. It is also very important that you visit your doctor to get professional guidance before you use such products.
What is Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is a phenolic chemical compound which serves as a key ingredient in most skin enhancement formula. Most prescribed topical skin medications contain up to 4% of hydroquinone, whereas the over the counter types have 2% hydroquinone or close.
Action of Hydroquinone
Hydroquinone has been found to work by reducing the production of skin pigments, which cause freckles, aging spots, dark spots and other skin blemishes. When you apply any hydroquinone-based formula, your body produces less pigments, hence your skin tone becomes fairer.
Before you use any bleaching product that contains hydroquinone, experts recommend that you first apply a small quantity to a part of your skin, and check the effect before you start using it in large quantity.
Testing the cream prior to its use is important for you to know if it is good for your skin. Some skins are more sensitive than others, so it is important that you find out if it is compatible with your skin or not before you start using it. Hydroquinone directly reduces the production of melanin, which protects the skin from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, so when you use creams that contain hydroquinone, your skin becomes susceptible to sunburn. Because of this, you need to keep away from the sun. Hydroquinone has also been implicated to be a possible cause of skin cancer.
Does Hydroquinone Work?
People who have used skin whitening creams containing hydroquinone have testified that it works for them. According to them, the effect becomes visible within four weeks; and it always gives the expected result.
Actually, the main issue of their statements is not if it works or not. The main issue is the safety of it. Its effect has been established on so many internet forums, but the main root of the matter is that it causes side effects such as dry skin, insensitive skin and sunburn when one walks under the sun.
This negative side effect becomes even worse when users mix hydroquinone-based topical products with other skin care products. This combination is a very common practice, which results in accumulated danger because at the end of the day, one wouldn’t know which of the skin care products is responsible for the side effects.
These products are bad for your skin because they cause sunburn, hypersensitivity of the skin and skin dryness. Ironically, the uneven skin tone which you want to clear is normally caused by sun damage, sensitivities and dry skin; so what’s the need using a skin care product that takes you right back to the same problems? Surely, within a month or thereabout, you will experience some improvement, but overtime, the negative side effects will overweigh the positive.
How safe is Hydroquinone?
Over the years, there has been a lot of debate concerning the safety of hydroquinone. If you check online, you will find so many forums that have discussed this topic. While some people insist that the compound is harmful, others argue that there is no way it can be so bad for the skin since it gives the expected result.
After reading about these arguments, don’t just be swayed by the disposition of any of the opposing schools of thought; instead, perform your own research and determine if it is good for you or not. Web Md reports that hydroquinone is being investigated over the years to be a possible carcinogen. You may consider reading their submission while making your research.
In some studies, researchers fed rats with hydroquinone, to check its carcinogenic effect. At the end of the researches, some of the rats developed cancer, and because of this, participants in different groups have advocated for the ban of the substance. Some groups however are not against the use of the substance because it is been used on the body, and not ingested.
People who push this argument fail to realize that despite the route of absorption, as long as the substance is in the body, it is still capable of causing the same effect. The only difference here is that the effect will be seen faster when the substance is ingested through the mouth than when it is applied on the skin. Applying this harmful chemical on your skin may not lead to an immediate negative effect, but overtime, the effect starts manifesting. However, this may take several years to show, do you really want to risk it? Do you want to use yourself as an experimental animal?
Some people will argue that so many substances have been linked to cancer, and so it is impossible to totally avoid all of them. While there is some sense in this assertion, is it really worth taking the risk when you can achieve the same result with harmless natural techniques of skin lightening.
Why is Hydroquinone still legal in the United States?
For now, companies in the united states still use hydroquinone because it is still legal. However, in accordance with the order issued by the FDA, more research is ongoing since it has been shown to cause cancer when ingested.
This process has been delayed in the normal way government agencies delay the banning of such substances so as to not affect the manufacturing sector. Most times, they do not ban harmful substance, instead they just reduce the quantity used in each production. However, This is not the same thing they did for Trans Fats; it has been confirmed to be very harmful, the FDA has determined that artificial Trans Fats are no longer safe.
One may state that the FDA cares more about the manufacturers than they care about the American people who are consuming the products. While we wait to know the final verdict of the FDA on the use of hydroquinone, it is safe for us to start using natural formulas, which are safer. It is very dangerous to put one’s health at risk because the FDA has not prohibited the substance yet, so it is important to look for natural and alternative ways of lightening the skin.
Is there a natural way I can lighten my skin?
If you check the internet, you will find several natural recipes of lightening the skin. Most of this internet sources will not only recommend ways of making homemade bleaching formulas, they will also recommend change of lifestyle, environment and diet, which will also help you in getting a faster and more effective result.
We all have different types of skin and body generally, so what works for one person may not necessarily work for the other. Therefore, to find the best combination of ingredients to use for your natural homemade formula, you may need to do some experimentation with more than one remedies, until you arrive to the right option.
Apart from getting the right combination that will work for you, you have to also be willing to adjust your lifestyle and avoid those things that cause age spot, blemishes, freckles and uneven skin tone.
No matter how you look at it, natural remedies are safer than synthetic products which contain hydroquinone and other potentially harmful substances.
The good thing about homemade natural skin whitening products is that there are lots of them, which means that if you do your research, you will definitely find the natural remedy that will work for your skin.