Hydroquinone Depigmentation Cream

Whiten unwanted pigmentation with hydroquinone in Singapore.

What is hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone (hi-dro-kwi-non) is a skin-whitening agent that is also present in plants and animals. It is used topically to lighten areas of darkened skin or hyperpigmentation.

Hydroquinone (up to 4 percent concentration) can only be prescribed by a licensed doctor as a cream, emulsion, gel, or solution. It is available as a topical on its own, or as an added ingredient in other regulated prescribed products such as Tri-Luma.

How does hydroquinone work?

Hydroquinone works by inhibiting melanocytes in the skin. Melanocytes are the cells that make melanin, which is the pigment that produces your skin tone.

When you have darkened areas of skin or hyperpigmentation (i.e. melasma, live spots, freckles, café-au-lait), these areas have more melanin due to an increase in melanocyte activity.

Hence, by limiting melanocyte activity in the treated area, hydroquinone allows your skin to become more even-toned over time.

How soon will I see results with hydroquinone?

On average, it takes about 4 weeks for the skin lightening to take effect. Depending on the type and severity of hyperpigmentation, skin tone of the patient, as well as sun exposure post-treatment, it may take several months of consistent use before you can see full results.

Discover Pico Laser – an anti-pigmentation laser.

What skin conditions can hydroquinone treat?

Hydroquinone can be used to treat skin concerns related to hyperpigmentation, including but not limited to:

  • Melasma.
  • Solar lentigines or sun spots.
  • Freckles.
  • Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH).

Want to learn more about how Hydroquinone can help with your pigmentation problems? Schedule a doctor’s consultation now.


Is hydroquinone safe?

Yes, when prescribed by a licensed doctor. Historically, there have been a number of safety concerns about hydroquinone. But the U.S. Food and Drug Administration confirmed that hydroquinone only be prescribed by a doctor at a maximum of 4 percent concentration.

What are the possible side effects of hydroquinone?

Some side effects such as dryness and irritation are not unusual, especially if you have dry or sensitive skin. We recommend applying a moisturiser after. These side effects may also taper off as your skin adjusts to the ingredient.

If any of the following effects persist or become severe, consult your doctor:

  • Itching
  • Dryness
  • Mild burning sensation
  • Redness
  • Stinging sensation

Stop using hydroquinone and consult your doctor if the following occurs:

  • Acne breakouts
  • Blistering
  • Crusting
  • Ochronosis (unusual blue-black or grey-blue skin discolourations)
  • Oozing of pus
  • Scaling and peeling
  • Severe burning
  • Severe dryness
  • Severe irritation or itching
  • Stretch marks form
  • Swelling
  • Telangiectasia (red lines/blood vessels showing through skin)

A very serious allergic reaction to hydroquinone is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you exhibit symptoms of a serious allergic reaction such as hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat.

How do I apply and use hydroquinone correctly?

On average, consumers report visible improvements after 4-6 treatments. Results and frequency of treatment vary by the individual.

  1. Only apply hydroquinone on clean, dry skin, preferably after cleansing.
  2. With clean and dry fingertips, apply a thin and even layer of the product, making sure to cover the affected areas. Rub into skin to ensure skin absorption of the product.
  3. You may follow with a moisturiser to prevent skin dryness after 3 minutes.
  4. When using hydroquinone together with other topicals (e.g., sunscreens, moisturisers, sunscreens), apply them in the sequence as instructed by the doctor, with at least 3 minutes between application of each product.
  5. We recommend using hydroquinone concurrently with sunscreen to protect the skin from damaging ultraviolet light, which increases pigmentation.

How frequently do I need to apply hydroquinone?

Generally, we recommend applying hydroquinone to the affected area 1 to 2 times a day for 3 to 6 months. If improvements are not seen after 2 to 3 months of consistent use, discontinue use.

At SL Aesthetic Clinic, we prefer using hydroquinone as a concentrated treatment to address an immediate hyperpigmentation concern. We do not offer it as a means to maintain results for the long term.

Who’s suitable for this treatment?

Hydroquinone is a viable treatment of choice for those suffering from pigmentary problems such as melasma, sun spots, age spots, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and more.

Who’s unsuitable for this treatment?

  • Patients with unrealistic expectations, such as those who seek complete eradication of unwanted pigmentation
  • Prior ionising radiation to the area to be treated
  • Recent deep chemical peels or dermabrasion
  • Dark complexions
  • Allergy or hypersensitivity to hydroquinone
  • Pregnant women, those planning for pregnancy or are breastfeeding
  • Patients whose daily activities involve prolonged sun exposure
  • When taken with other medications that cause photosensitivity

What are the pre- and post- treatment instructions?

Pre-treatment instructions: ensure that you’re in a good state of health. Always disclose your full medical history during consultation (e.g., asthma).

Women should also tell your doctor if you are pregnant, planning for pregnancy, or are breast-feeding.

Inform your doctor if you have other skin conditions (e.g., eczema, psoriasis) or have any unusual or allergic reactions to any ingredients or topicals.

Post-treatment instructions: apply a moisturiser after treatment. Avoid prolonged sun exposure, tanning booths, and sunlamps. Always use sunscreen. And wear protective clothing over treated areas, if possible.

[20 May 2020] Written by Dr. Charlene Goh

Dr. Charlene Goh – The Fashionista
MBChB, Scotland; Dip Practical Dermatology, Wales

Having obtained her medical degree in Scotland, Dr Charlene Goh returned home to Singapore, where she practised in several major hospitals and in various departments. But her education did not stop there.

From a young age, Charlene has had a strong interest in skincare and beauty trends. Urged by Dr Kelvin Chua to pursue her passion, Charlene went away to study Practical Dermatology at Cardiff University in Wales.

Not one to rest on her laurels, she returned home and picked up certifications from various aesthetic organisations.

Now armed with the proper certifications and experience, Charlene is adept at a wide range of minimally invasive aesthetic procedures such as laser treatments, dermal fillers, botulinum toxin injections, etc.

A firm believer in presenting one’s best self, Charlene hopes to help others achieve confidence through a holistic approach; a wholesome combination of a healthy lifestyle and diet, complemented by clinically proven aesthetic treatments.

Charlene is a self-confessed beauty junkie and fashionista, and will happily discuss the latest trends with friends and patients.

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