Hydroquinone for skin lightening: Safety profile, duration of use and when should we stop?

@article{Tse2010HydroquinoneFS,
  title={Hydroquinone for skin lightening: Safety profile, duration of use and when should we stop?},
  author={Tsz Wah Tse},
  journal={Journal of Dermatological Treatment},
  year={2010},
  volume={21},
  pages={272 - 275}
}
  • T. Tse
  • Published 5 August 2010
  • Medicine
  • Journal of Dermatological Treatment
Abstract Hydroquinone has been marketed in skin-lightening products for almost 50 years and remains as the most frequently used whitening constituent in the category. Issues and concerns have been raised regarding its potential dermatological and systemic side effects. These almost led to it being banned from the US market by the FDA in 2006. This article reviews its safety profile. The author also suggests on the duration of its use and advises on regular assessments by medical physicians. 

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This contemporary review presents the strongest evidence supporting the use of hydroquinone with the most effective and tolerable formulations combining hydroquin one, retinoid and corticosteroid (modified Kligman formula or ‘triple combination cream’).

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The overall results indicate that many of the skin-lightening creams sold in the Saudi market contained one or more toxic ingredients that in most cases were not listed on the packaging.

Delivery of hydroquinone assisted by fractional laser for the treatment of hyperchromic scar

TLDR
Fractional ablative lasers can be used to improve the delivery of topical drugs and the permeation of skin lightening agents, such as hydroquinone, can be optimized, and the treatment time can be reduced.

Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available?

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The article attempts to look at other alternative cosmeceuticals available or maybe upcoming in the future and describes the safety and efficacy of these agents and their advantage over the conventional therapy.

Trends in Use of Prescription Skin Lightening Creams

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Efficacy and safety of topical isobutylamido thiazolyl resorcinol (Thiamidol) vs. 4% hydroquinone cream for facial melasma: an evaluator‐blinded, randomized controlled trial

TLDR
Thiamidol can be considered a suitable option for melasma patients with poor tolerability or treatment failure with hydroquinone, and it is shown that this study compared the efficacy and tolerability of topical 0.2% Thiamidols versus 4% hydroquinones for facial melasma.

Comparison of the efficacy of cysteamine 5% cream and hydroquinone 4%/ascorbic acid 3% combination cream in the treatment of epidermal melasma

TLDR
Cysteamine, a non‐melanocytotoxic molecule is a safer alternative to hydroquinone and usable for long‐term use and has shown promise as a treatment for melasma.

EFFICACY AND TOLERABILITY OF AMINOACID FILAGGRIN BASED ANTIOXIDANTS COMPARED WITH HYDROQUINONE 4 % CREAM IN SKIN TYPE IV ( FITZPATRICK ) MEXICAN WOMEN WITH MIXED , CENTROFACIAL MELASMA

TLDR
AFBA was as effective as HQ 4% cream, however AE such as itching and skin irritation were more frequently seen in the AFBA group, but such AE did not require treatment or withdrawal, and further controlled, blinded, multicenter studies are required to support these results.

Tranexamic acid: an important adjuvant in the treatment of melasma

TLDR
The mechanism of preventing the activation of melanocyte from UV light, hormone and injured kerationcyte through the inhibition of the plasminogen activator system will be explored.

Chemical leukoderma due to hydroquinone: An unusual phenomenon

TLDR
A case of a middle‐aged female who developed depigmentation over the face following unsupervised application of 4% hydroquinone is presented.
...

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Hydroquinone and the FDA--the debate?