Should I use skin bleaching agents?

Pigmentation is indeed one of the hardest signs to treat in dermatology.

Hydroquinone has been proposed as a treatment and as mentioned by others, it is indeed commonly dispensed. It works by reducing melanin (pigment) in the skin.

Please allow me to explain why you should try not to use hydroquinone or other skin-bleaching agents:

  1. Skin Bleaching is a big industry projected to reach 23 Billion dollars by 2020
  2. Many of the preparations are unregulated and do not only containach hydroquinone. Often they are found mixed with steroids, mercury and other acidic/alkaline agents
  3. There is a propensity to mis-use skin bleaching agents. Often we notice users applying the agents (intended only for a small area of unnaturally pigmented small area of skin) to:
    – large skin areas
    – naturally pigmented skin
    This is wrong and can lead to multiple problems
  4. Complications of Hydroquinone include:
    – repigmentation of skin
    – worsening pigmentation of skin
    – contact dermatitis
    – exogenous onchronosis: long term use of this agent can lead to pigmented areas in other parts of the body
    – nail discoloration
    – trimethylaminuria (where an affected user start exuding a fishy body odor)
  5. Complications of Mercury are numerous, just remember that mercury should NEVER be in your body. It can lead to severe neurological conditions and death
  6. Complications of steroids are also numerous, it can lead to bad body disfigurement and lead to high blood pressure, frail bones, diabetes mellitus and heart disease and stroke

Do you still want to use skin bleaching agents? If all these are not good enough to convince you, speak to your dermatologist. The good ones will have pure hydroquinone preparations in controlled concentration. They are only useful for short term use on small areas of unnaturally pigmented skin.

I personally would stick to sun avoidance, using adequate sun screen and a dose of self-acceptance.

IF you have any pigmented skin, you may also scan them here at