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This week we're taking a look at hydroquinone to find out what all the fuss is about...
What is it?
‘Dalmation-skin Dannie started using Even Evie’s hydroquinone serum to stop her skin looking so patchy. Way to go Dannie!’
This ingredient has a bit of an unfair bad rep, but it’s perfectly safe if used correctly. It acts as the skin’s personal bodyguard to prevent the production of melanin (the dark skin pigment that causes dark spots, brown spots, age spots or sun spots), which prevents and reduces the appearance of dark spots for a crystal-clear complexion. It basically tells moody, dark spots to snap out of it and lighten up – and it’s really good at it too.
Who needs it?
Pigmentation is commonly caused by too much exposure to the sun’s sneaky UV rays. So if you’re an avid sun-worshipper or were a little lax with your sun block on your holidays then products with hydroquinone can help to even out your skin tone and prevent further dark spots from appearing. Occasionally pigmentation can occur if you have been pregnant, so you can use hydroquinone post-pregnancy (not during).
Where do we find it?
To scoff: Sadly not for this one!
To smother: Serums, moisturisers, night creams and targeted ‘dark spot’ treatments. Keep your bottle (particularly the clear ones) locked away since light exposure can make hydroquinone less effective.
When should it go on our face?
Apply at night when skin isn’t photosensitive. You can use it for up to four months but it’s advised that you take at a break after the stint before cracking it out again. Over-use can actually worsen pigmentation, so take it easy for best results.
If you’re using peroxides or resorcinol in any of your other skincare ingredients. These can clash and cause temporary skin staining – eek!
If you’re going out in the sun when using it – wear an SPF! Hydroquinone can make your skin more sensitive to the sun (i.e. more prone to dark spots), so it can be counter-productive if you’re not protecting yourself.
If you’re on the sensitive side or are new to trying a product with hydroquinone, always test it on a small area first. If you don’t have any irritation 24 hours later, you’re good to go, but remember to ease yourself in!