It’s July 4th week and hopefully everyone is enjoying in the summer sun… under a thick coat of SPF, a wide brimmed hat and an umbrella of course! Lets “face” it, we don’t get sun only at the beach. Here in Charleston we live at the beach and are out in the sun year round whether or not your dipping those toes in the surf! Now, just because schools out doesn’t mean we can’t use a little education! So today in light of the fact everyone out in the sun this weekend, I would like to share some information about the skincare ingredient Hydroquinone.
I’m going to say it plain. Hydroquinone bleaches the skin and it works. It’s pharmaceutical classification is a “whitener” and it bleaches the melanin (pigment or color) that is produced within our skin cells as a result from exposure to UVA and UVB rays, as well as other systemic conditions. Here’s the kicker folks…when the skin is bleached it will heighten any response to sun exposure. After purchasing products elsewhere, clients have reported to me for years that after using their sun spots came back and …with a vengeance leaving darker and larger areas. Bleaching is never a good idea to treat simple issues of hyper pigmentation.
Now let me clarify that color itself does not protect us from the sun, it is actually an alarm system to let us know the sun is burning and damaging the skin on a cellular level. Sun damage breaks down the natural functions of the skin, like building collagen and elastin, thus aging the skin. It is a common misconception that “a little color” helps skin when exposed to sunlight, but that is completely false. Spray tanning is always great option.
Hydroquinone is banned in Europe and is strictly regulated in many African and Asian countries, and its use is prohibited in the Europe and Japan. Notice the trend of nationalities that sterotypically contain more melanin won’t touch this stuff! Unfortunately, many hydroquinone-containing whiteners remain on the market to this day and generally contain 2% hydroquinone. There is one heavily marketed as a product to reverse sun damage. It does not “reverse” sun damage at all, it bleaches it leaving the skin more vulnerable.
As a skin care professional I know there are great alternatives out there for us to treat hyper pigmentation. One of my favorites is Kojic Acid, as it suppresses melanin production and it’s dispurses it. I am happy to explain this in more detail in person. It’s a simple and safe ingredient. I have been utilizing kojic on myself for over a decade. As well as I used it the entire duration of pregnancy to help reduce the production of melasma (the pregnancy mask produces by hormones) and it worked like a charm. Also I offer a product at my spa that is a safe alternative to hydroquinone if you do in fact need skin lightening in an area, I would love to help you understand how to correctly address the problem area. Hopefully this blog has helped you understand how using ingredients that you don’t have all the facts about can potentially be the cause a variety of very unpleasant skin issues. If you have any additional questions, please reach out to me directly at 803-348-8367. I can help.