What is Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone or Quinol is a benzene-1, 4-diol organic compound that is used for its cosmetic enhancement properties. It is generally available in 4% concentrations in cream form but gel, lotion, and emulsions of the compound are also available. Hydroquinone was coined and approved for medical use in the 1960s.
What is Hydroquinone 4 cream in Australia used for?
It is used as a skin-lightening agent in cases of dermal hyperpigmentation. A number of conditions result in hyper-pigmented patches or spots in which Hydroquinone comes effective as a bleaching agent. Some of these conditions are
1) Freckles – Hyperpigmentation spots as a result of the overproduction of melanin
2) Melasma – Patches of discoloration due to UV radiation and as a result of vitamin deficiency.
3) Acne scars- The residue of inflammatory acne formed as a repair mechanism of the skin.
4) Cosmetic lightening – People without any skin conditions who use Hydroquinone for further skin lightening.
How does Hydroquinone 4% work?
The tyrosinase enzyme is the main component involved in melanin production that is involved in the first step of melanin pigment biosynthesis pathway. By reducing melanin pigment production, it interferes with the pigmentation process. This in turn leads to reversible lightening of the skin. It does not permanently remove the pigments but instead halts their production for a primary time period.
How long does Hydroquinone take to work?
It does not produce immediate results but works slowly and effectively on skin components to reduce discoloration and lead to lightening effects. It takes around 4 weeks for the results to start being evident but several months for you to notice full effects of skin pigment reduction. It depends on the extent of pigmentation and overall skin condition about the time required and subsequently is a variable factor.
How to obtain Hydroquinone skin care for best results?
It is a skin-lightening agent. It is important to first do a patch test before use to ensure that it is suitable for your skin type. Its safety criteria proved, it should be used twice daily on a regular basis for best results. Apply a small amount of the cream and gently massage it after application for it to get absorbed quickly. Apply sunscreen after using it to prevent of further sun damage.
Is Hydroquinone safe?
It is safe to use as long as you use it as per the physician’s treatment plan and in its required concentration. Using it in sensitive skin may lead to further skin complications instead of enabling skin lightening. Additionally, use of Hydroquinone makes you extra susceptible to sun damage. Wearing sunscreen regularly while using the cream reduces the risk of sun damage and complications associated with exposure to sun.
How to buy Hydroquinone in Australia?
You can buy Hydroquinone prescription and over the counter in Australia. The Hydroquinone over the counter for 2% concentration can be obtained without a prescription. But the creams of increased concentration more than 2% strength need a physician’s prescription to be obtained. You can avail them from a registered pharmacy or a licensed health expert clinic with a prescription.
What are the things to look for before and after ordering Hydroquinone cream online?
It is important to determine the concentration of the cream and the ingredients listed on the leaflet before ordering it online. This helps identify allergy causing components if any and saves complications possibility associated with using them. Online ordering helps enable the cream in a quick, effective and cost effective manner. After the package has been delivered, check the condition of the package for signs of pilferage if any.
What are the side-effects of using Hydroquinone cream?
Common side effects – associated with the use of Hydroquinone cream are – mild burning or stinging of the treated skin, mild itching with irritation or redness
Major side-effects -associated with its use – Increased itching with or without stinging, severe dryness, oozing blisters, discoloration of skin, dermatitis, inflammatory reactions.
Rare side effect – Oncrosis, a condition of blue and black discoloration because of prolonged use of the medication on large areas of the body.
Who should not use Hydroquinone cream?
Hydroquinone cream should not be used by people with a history of asthma, psoriasis or eczema as it can further exacerbate the conditions. It is not advisable for use in people with long term sun exposure. Additionally it is advised to be used with extreme caution in pregnant and breastfeeding ladies and if possible be avoided for use.
What are the drug interactions of Hydroquinone cream?
Drug interactions associated with Hydroquinone cream are rare because of it being a topical application. But when concomitantly used with hydrogen peroxide or benzoyl peroxide it results in discoloration of the skin. Also its use with alpha hydroxy acids is contraindicated as it can lead to skin irritation.
What can be used together with Hydroquinone?
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that helps in collagen build up and provides an extent of sun protection along with reduction of skin discoloration. When combined with Hydroquinone cream it can help reduce the sun sensitivity caused by the cream and enable its more effective use. Additionally hydroquinone can be combined with retinol or Tretinoin cream for better skin care without any adverse effects on the skin.
What are the precautions to be taken while using Hydroquinone cream?
While using Hydroquinone cream, it is important to let the product sink into the skin before using other products like moisturizers or sunscreens. Hydroquinone being a bleaching agent, washing hands is important after application of the product to avoid bleaching of the fingers due to the cream. Instead of applying the cream on focal areas, it is best to apply it uniformly over the face for proper skin lightening.
How long can you use Hydroquinone 4%
For the first 6 months, Hydroquinone 4% can be used twice daily in a safe manner without any inflammatory reactions or side effects. After 6 months, it is best to use the cream on alternate days or once in 5 days as per the treatment plan of the patient. If it does not show satisfactory results even after that time period, it is best to combine it with other skin care agents or switch to other medications.
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