Hydroquinone is a skin-lightening substance with a lot of power. The best hydroquinone creams are recommended by certain specialists for treating hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and aging spots. “When used in a cream, hydroquinone is an effective lightening ingredient that may help diminish the appearance of darkened skin. When used as part of a regular skin routine, hydroquinone may prevent further skin discoloration and actually even out your skin tone,” says Jennifer Haley, a board-certified dermatologist. Another dermatologist, Dr. Anna Chacon, adds, “Hydroquinone is best used to lighten hyperpigmentation caused by pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone therapy, or skin damage.”
If you wish to try out hydroquinone creams for persistent spots and skin discoloration, read on and explore the top 9 hydroquinone creams listed below!
Note: All the skin lightening creams on this list have the potential to cause skin irritation and increase sensitivity to sunlight. Before you use any of these products, consult a doctor. Also, always wear sunscreen.
In This Article
9 Best Hydroquinone Creams
1. Best Lightweight: AMBI Fade Cream
Do you want to reduce those unwanted dark marks from your skin without changing your natural complexion? Try the AMBI Fade Cream. The formula contains 2% hydroquinone that fades dark spots and hyperpigmentation, alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to exfoliate your skin and improve its texture, and vitamin E to provide nourishment. Skin care and hair care creator, Chioma Reginald, says, “This cream has really improved my hyperpigmentation. It dissolves into your face; however, it takes some time to do so. Blend it into your skin in the morning and apply your sunscreen before going out.” The cream is best for spot treatment and claims to give visible results in two weeks. The product is suitable for normal skin.
- Contains SPF
- Pleasant fragrance
- May cause temporary irritation
2. Best For Sensitive Skin: Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener
The Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener contains maximum OTC strength hydroquinone (2%) and hyaluronic acid. The pigmentation reducing cream can fade dark spots without drying out the skin. This cream is free of parabens and skin-harming chemicals and is safe to use on sensitive skin. In addition, it provides essential vitamins and nutrients that nourish the skin from within.
- No harmful chemicals
- Pleasant fragrance
- May cause breakouts
3. Best Nourishing: M&M Beauty Age Spot Remover
This is one of the most potent OTC hydroquinone-based dark spot corrector creams available on the market. The smooth, lightweight formula contains several nourishing ingredients like lavender oil, aloe and grape extracts, and rose water. The cream helps to fade acne scars and is also effective on freckles, sun spots, dark spots, and rosacea. The formula contains 2% hydroquinone, so be sure to do a patch test.
- Clinically tested
4. Best Dermatologically Tested: Cicatricure Medical Lightening Cream
The Cicatricure Medical Lightening Cream is one of Amazon’s best-selling hydroquinone creams that lightens dark spots, neutralizes your skin tone, and nourishes and moisturizes it. The formula is enriched with 2% hydroquinone and vitamin E to strengthen your skin’s barrier. It also contains vitamin C, a skin brightening active that fades dark circles, and qacetyl 10 that works as a natural moisturizer. This cream improves the overall appearance of your skin.
- Clinically proven formula
- Dermatologically tested
5. Best For Natural-Looking Glow: Fair & White Creme Exclusive Whitener
This skin whitening cream from Fair & White is formulated with 1.9% hydroquinone that suppresses melanin formation. It can help fade age spots, discoloration, dark spots, acne scars, and brown spots to reveal clear and bright skin. This smooth, moisturizing cream nourishes the skin, protects it against environmental pollutants, and heals it for a healthy and radiant appearance. YouTube skin care and beauty vlogger, Ngozi Akunyili-Parr, notes, “The formula will give you an even skin tone. Mix the cream with oil for a better glow. Apply it on your skin and massage it once, so that the cream gets absorbed quickly.” The lightweight formula also gives the skin a natural-looking glow and is suitable for all skin types.
- Contains natural ingredients
6. Best Long-Lasting: SkinPro Ultra Brightening Skin Lightener
The SkinPro Ultra Brightening Skin Lightener contains 2% hydroquinone and helps fade liver spots, sun spots, melasma, freckles, liver spots, and aging signs. It is enriched with medical-grade ingredients and peptides that brighten your skin. This cream is suitable for all skin types and can be used all over the body.
- Medical grade formula
- Pleasant scent
- Expensive for the quantity
7. Best Paraben-Free: Intilight Intimate Skin Lightening Treatment
The Intilight Intimate Skin Lightening Treatment helps fade sun spots, dark spots, melasma, discoloration, hyperpigmentation, acne scars, sun spots, freckles, and uneven skin tone. It contains 2% hydroquinone, jojoba seed oil, apricot kernel oil, squalane, and hyaluronic acid that help rejuvenate and moisturize your skin and make it youthful. This acne scar fading cream can also be used for underarm whitening and anal bleaching.
- Suitable for sensitive skin
- No harmful chemicals
- May irritate the skin
8. Best Non-Greasy: MelloDerm- HQ
The MelloDerm – HQ is an excellent melasma treatment cream with pharmaceutical grade 2% hydroquinone. It is an effective hydroquinone cream that is safe and highly efficient on a wide range of pigmentation issues. You can use it to fade melasma, dark spots, freckles on your skin. The anti-melasma cream comes in a five-layer PE tube, and the packaging protects the active ingredients from rapid oxidation and degradation. It has a non-greasy formula and mild fragrance.
- Thai FDA-approved
- Mild fragrance
- Expensive for the quantity
9. Best For Daily Use: Vivatia Brighten 10 Foam Your Skin
The Vivatia Brighten 10 Foam Your Skin is a dermatologist-recommended hydroquinone cream and has a unique combination of 10 brightening ingredients that helps you get an even skin tone. The formula combines two skin-brightening ingredients – 2% hydroquinone and arbutin. Both fade pigmentation, clarify your skin, and work as dark spot erasers. The product helps improve skin texture and contains a blend of other skin-brightening ingredients like kojic acid, licorice root extract, and vitamin C to visibly fade spots and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Gentle for daily use
- Dermatologist recommended
- Gets absorbed quickly
What Does Hydroquinone Cream Do? Is It Safe?
Hydroquinone is a skin brightening or bleaching agent. It suppresses melanin (skin pigment) formation in the skin, thus being used in brightening creams.
Dr. Ophelia Veraitch, a consultant dermatologist, says, “Hydroquinone is a gold standard dermatological active ingredient for targeting areas of darkening. It works by inhibiting the activity of tyrosinase, the enzyme needed to make melanin. Therefore, it can be used on areas of hyperpigmentation, blemishes, pigmented scarring, and melasma.”
While it is well-tolerated, hydroquinone can irritate dry and sensitive skin. However, the irritation goes away once the skin adjusts to the ingredient. It works best for people with fair and medium skin tones. If you have a medium-to-dark skin tone, consult a dermatologist to understand your suitability, strength, and frequency of usage. Otherwise, hydroquinone may worsen hyperpigmentation in people with dark skin tones. It is best to follow the doctor’s instructions for proper usage and application. Here are some additional tips.
How To Apply Hydroquinone Cream
- Apply hydroquinone creams after cleansing and toning but before using a moisturizer.
- Massage a small amount of the cream evenly across the target areas. Wait until it is completely absorbed.
- Wash your hands afterward to prevent the product from affecting other areas or staining your clothes.
If you are using hydroquinone, wear sunscreen when stepping out. Hydroquinone tends to cause photosensitivity. Sunscreen will help prevent sunburns and further hyperpigmentation.
Jennifer Haley suggests, “The trick to using hydroquinone is that you need to give your skin a bit of a vacation every once in a while. If you see results, use it for four months, then taper off, and give your skin a rest. After that, you should wait two or three months to start using it again and keep up with that schedule. You’ll get the best results by following this routine. You should apply hydroquinone before your moisturizer, and with a small amount, rub it across your skin. You should also use sunscreen when you use hydroquinone.”
Always remember to do a patch test before using hydroquinone creams to prevent any side effects. Here are a few tips to consider before picking a hydroquinone-based product.
How To Choose The Best Hydroquinone Cream
It is essential to look at the list of ingredients. Ensure that you select a blemish correction cream that contains natural ingredients free of parabens, chemicals, and synthetic extracts. Also, avoid products that may contain ingredients you are allergic to.
Before purchasing a hydroquinone cream, consult a dermatologist to understand if the right strength for your skin type and if you have any underlying skin condition. Also, if you have a darker skin tone, never use hydroquinone creams without consulting a doctor.
Hydroquinone creams can work wonders to minimize the appearance of dark spots, hyperpigmentation, freckles, and blemishes. If you want to improve the overall skin clarity, go for AMBI Fade Cream. But if you have dry skin, pick Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener as it has a non-drying formula. However, ensure to consult a dermatologist before using any of the products and use sunscreen when stepping out.
Infographic: A Brief Buying Guide On Hydroquinone Creams
Hydroquinone creams brighten your skin, reduce hyperpigmentation, and also work as dark spot removers. While there are many such creams available online, it might be challenging to choose one for yourself if you are not aware of what to look for. The below infographic explains how to opt for a safe hydroquinone cream that can work for your skin. Take a look!
Dark spots, blemishes, hyperpigmentation, and freckles are common skin concerns that you can conceal using makeup. But, makeup products cannot get rid of them permanently. So, if you are looking to fade them or reduce the visibility of their appearance, hydroquinone creams are a good option. These skin tone correcting creams can minimize the appearance of spots and other imperfections without altering your complexion. However, these creams increase your sensitivity to light, so you must invest in a good sunscreen. It is also suggested that you consult a dermatologist in case of any skin irritation.
Why Trust StyleCraze?
The author, Oyendrila Kanjilal, is a certified skin care coach and a skin care enthusiast. She has used hydroquinone-based creams for fading her dark spots. She consulted experts before picking the products for the article and conducted a thorough research to present all aspects of hydroquinone and guide her readers in the best possible way.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which hydroquinone cream is the best?
It depends on the ingredients that suit your skin. Go for the one that has maximum OTC strength hydroquinone and organic, natural ingredients.
What is the highest percent of hydroquinone in creams?
For OTC products, the maximum strength is 2%, and prescription-strength products contain 4% hydroquinone.
Is hydroquinone safe to use on the face?
Yes. Hydroquinone can be used on the face.
Can I buy over-the-counter hydroquinone cream or other products?
Yes, you can buy OTC products with 2% hydroquinone.
How long does it take to see results from hydroquinone?
It takes about 4-8 weeks of consistent use to see visible results.
Is hydroquinone cream safe to use?
Yes, hydroquinone cream is safe to use. However, there might be some temporary side effects on sensitive skin. It is best to consult your dermatologist before adding a hydroquinone cream on your skin care regime.
Do hydroquinone creams work on dark skin?
Yes. However, hydroquinone creams tend to work more on fair skin types. If you are someone with medium to dark skin tone, consult your dermal therapist before using the cream. These creams are best known to treat hyperpigmentation and aging signs.
What are the benefits of hydroquinone creams?
Hydroquinone creams treat hyperpigmentation, dark patches, and aging spots. They protect your skin from discoloration and help in attaining an even-toned look.
How often should you use hydroquinone cream?
You can use hydroquinone cream twice a day for visible results. You can use the cream for a stretch of up to six months.
How long does hydroquinone cream take to work?
A hydroquinone cream can usually take a month to show visible results. However, the results can vary depending upon your lifestyle and skin care regime.