Skin Matters

Are You Sure Your Exfoliant Is Safe?

Think before you use products with Hydroquinone.


We'll tell it to you straight - hydroquinone is a very dangerous ingredient to use without the supervision of a MD. In fact, several countries in Asia and the European Union have already banned hydroquinone and the U.S. FDA is waiting on further studies to assess whether they should ban this ingredient as well. Their big concern? Skin safety - especially when it comes to at-home peeling and whitening. There are too many risks (like scarring, pigmentation, discoloration, allergic reactions, and even burning) that can occur when this ingredient is used incorrectly.

What Does Hydroquinone Do, Anyway?
Hydroquinone is a topical whitening ingredient that works by reducing skin pigmentation (it's so harsh that you're basically bleaching your skin). Women are tempted to use this in products like DIY peels because of its efficacy, but in reality, it's doing their skin more harm than good. A few more examples of how it can endanger your skin:




  • Exogenous Ochronosis. Prolonged use of hydroquinone in darker-skinned women can trigger this skin disease, which is characterized by a bluish-black discoloration of the skin.
  • Photosensitivity. If you live in a tropical country, it's never a good idea to use hydroquinone. Using this ingredient makes you more sensitive to UV rays and you can end up with burnt, red, or even darker skin. And if the sun gets super intense, sunscreen might not be enough to protect your skin.
  • It can age your skin faster. Though you may not see the effects of hydroquinone now, you may see it in the years to come. In some cases, it can thin out and make your skin age faster - especially if used for long periods of time or without the proper supervision of a licensed dermatologist.


Your Safer Skin Whitening Options
Before you buy a product, always check the label and avoid topical skin lightening products that contain hydroquinone, even in small concentrations. You don't need to shy away from skin whitening or suffer from having an uneven complexion-you just need to look for the right ingredients that can effectively (and safely!) brighten and even out your skin.

Start by using a facial scrub with glutathione complex to help whiten and even out your skin. After that, follow it up with a deep cleanser that contains whitening ingredients like calamansi or papaya. All you have to do is put a few drops on a cotton pad and swipe it over your skin to lift off dead skin cells and bring back your radiance. These products and ingredients work very well to help lighten and brighten the skin without the scary and damaging risks associated with hydroquinone.

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PDS is the only specialty society in Dermatology recognized by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the Philippine College of Physicians (PCP). PDS is not an endorser of any product found in the site.


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