Hydroquinone also known as HQ is one of the most controversial ingredients in skincare products, so much so that it has been banned in several countries all over the world.
In the United states 2% HQ is accepted for over the counter sale, as long as the manufacturers give warning that the product should only be used for 3 months, and this is clearly stated in the packaging. However I’ve discovered that a lot of European manufactured products have a new fancy name for HQ in their ingredient listing in order to deceive customers that are now frightened by the bad reputation of HQ.
Have you seen: HYDROXYPHENOL or 1,4-BENZENEDIOL in the ingredient listing of your favorite skincare products?
Well, they are some of the popular pseudonyms for Hydroquinone, derived from its molecular structure.
Without boring you with all the chemical mumbojumbo of how Hydroxyphenol and 1, 4-Benzenediol compound into HQ, Here are a listing of other molecules that form Hydroquinone that some manufacturers use in their ingredient listing: 1,4-Dihydroxybenzene; p-Dihydroxybenzene; 1,4-Benzenediol; Quinol; 1,4-benzenediol; p Benzendiol; Benzoquinol; 1,4-Hydroxybenzene; p-Hydroquinone; p-Dihydroxybenzene; 1,4-Benzendil; Aida; Black and White Bleaching Cream; Eldoquin; Elopaque; quinnone;
In European languages they are can also be listed as: 1, 4-dihydroxy-benzeen (Dutch); 1,4-Dihydroxybenzen (Czech); 1,4-Dihydroxy-benzol (German); 1,4- Diidrobenzene (Italian); Hydrochinon (Czech, Polish); Idrochinone (Italian)
Why am I telling you this you ask?
Well I know for a fact that not everyone wants to BLEACH their skin, some are happy with it and are looking for products that can help them “Brighten” or give them a “Glow”. Because most of us are not Cosmetic Chemist or Ingredient experts, we pick up an item, quickly look at the back of it for a mention of “Hydroquinone”, and when we don’t see it, we’re happy to make that purchase.
Fast forward a month later, our skin becomes red, irritated, we break out in rashes, not understanding how this “Brightening” gel could be doing this to us.
Well if this has ever happened to you, chances are you purchased an HQ product that is causing an adverse reaction to your skin like HQ products tend to do.
While it is NOT concluded that HQ causes Cancer, it is however known to CAUSE severe and permanent skin damage like Ochronosis (black/purple reDarkening of the skin) in Black skin.
I’ve had clients tell me that they use natural lighteners, only for me to test and find out that the ingredient listing contains either Hydroxyphenol or 1,4-Benzenediol. Another way of finding out if your product contains Hydroquinone is the do the air test.
Here’s what you do: Open a jar of your questionable cream or pour some of your questionable lotion on the counter, leave it there for 2 days, if it oxidizes and turns Brown, it has HQ in it.
Below are some brands that contain HQ without the HQ listing:
– products in the So White Skincare range
– – Products in the Fair and White Skincare range.
Next time you’re shopping for new creams and lotions, be sure to check that it does not contain HQ or any of the Science names for HQ.