Can Hydroquinone Cause Melasma Or Ochronosis?

Do you want to know more about hydroquinone? Is hydroquinone safe for sensitive skin? And how does it work? Read on to learn about the potential dangers of hydroquinone. Read on to find out whether it can cause ochronosis or Melasma.

It causes ochronosis

The use of hydroquinone in skin lightening treatment products can cause the onset of ochronosis, a rare disease that results in skin pigment changes. This disease is characterized by degeneration of the skin, as well as calcification of joint cartilage. Exogenous ochronosis occurs when hydroquinone is applied to an area of the body that has frequent exposure to ultraviolet light. Exogenous ochronosis is more common among African-Americans, Hispanics, and Asians.

Ochronosis can be exogenous or endogenous, and is caused by a deficiency of a specific enzyme. The oxidation of homogentisic acid, a metabolite of hydroquinone, results in the formation of ochre pigment in the skin and mucosa. When this oxidative enzyme fails to function properly, homogentisic acid accumulates in the body, causing discoloration of the skin, mucosa, and joints.

Reduces melanin production

Hydroquinone is an effective, non-surgical bleaching agent that helps skin appear lighter and more even-toned. It works by reducing the number of melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin. Increased melanocyte production leads to hyperpigmentation. Because hydroquinone reduces the number of melanocytes, it helps you achieve a more even-toned complexion. It takes up to four weeks to achieve the desired results. After three months, results may not be seen.

Despite its effectiveness, hydroquinone is not very effective against hyperpigmentation on the dermis. Because of its inability to penetrate the dermal-epidermal junction, it fails to inhibit the production of melanin in the dermis. This means that the melanin in the dermis has fewer pathways for egress, making the treatment less effective.


Hydroquinone is a popular topical treatment for melasma, which is characterized by brown or blue-gray patches on the face. The condition is typically found on women in their reproductive years. Melasma is triggered by exposure to sunlight and genetic predisposition. Treatments include photo protection and fading creams containing 4% hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone can be used on any area of the skin whitening treatment, whether on the face, chest, or arms. Its application is topically and dermatologists usually recommend once or twice daily treatment for at least three months. Proper application is essential for an even tone and color, and it is essential to consult with a dermatologist if a skin patch develops a rash or other side effects. Treatments may continue as maintenance therapy after melasma has cleared up. Once the symptoms have resolved, patients may scale down to once or twice weekly use.

It is safe for post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

If you’re looking for a nonsurgical solution for your post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, hydroquinone may be an option. Hydroquinone works by bleaching your skin’s surface, returning it to its baseline color. This color changes over time due to years of exposure to the sun, but areas that have less exposure to sunlight are less likely to show signs of sun damage.

Although it may be tempting to continue using hydroquinone indefinitely, there are several precautions to consider. To prevent rebound pigmentation, use it in pulsed fashion, which means using it only for a period of five months at a time. Then, give your skin a break for two or three months before continuing treatment. Once your skin stabilizes, you can use a non-hydroquinone pigment control product. If you experience a rebound pigmentation, consult a physician to determine if another five-month course of hydroquinone is necessary.

It causes cancer in rodents

Whether hydroquinone causes cancer in rodents is a lingering question. The substance is toxic to rodents and has caused various types of cancer in laboratory animals. Studies have demonstrated that hydroquinone induces chromosomal aberrations in vitro in cell cultures derived from Chinese hamster ovary cells, including mouse CHO cells. Hydroquinone can also cause chromosomal aberrations in rodents in vivo, including the bone marrow cells of male mice.


Recently, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) presented safety concerns related to hydroquinone. The FDA cited reports showing that the compound causes cancer in rodents when consumed orally. However, these reports did not reflect topical doses and no human cases of carcinogenicity were reported in more than 30 years of use. In addition, the FDA cited recent South African reports regarding exogenous ochronosis, a form of cancer, in which patients used high concentrations of hydroquinone on their skin multiple times a day for years.


I am Selim Khan Dipu (Professional Blogger)