Hoping to lighten up scarring, freckles or dark spots on your skin? You may have heard that hydroquinone—a brightening agent—is strong enough to get the job done. And while it’s true that it’s a powerful ingredient, the Food and Drug Administration has banned the sale of over-the-counter hydroquinone due to rising concerns over side effects from its use.
Why You Should Consider Natural Lighteners for Dark Spots
Chemical brightening agents like hydroquinone work by blocking key enzymes along the melanin (pigment) producing pathway in the body. Since as early as 2006, researchers have been questioning the safety of hydroquinone because users were at risk for developing ochronosis, a condition that (ironically) darkens the skin.
“Hydroquinone is one of the most researched and studied lightening agents, but can cause severe irritation and hyperpigmentation if not used correctly,” explains Dr. Michele Green, a board-certified dermatologist and RealSelf contributor in New York City. Those side effects were enough for the ingredient to be banned in Europe, Japan, Australia and now the United States.
“Safety concerns have been limiting the use of hydroquinone, pushing the prevalence of hydroquinone-free lightening agents,” notes Dr. Robin Evans, a board-certified dermatologist in Stamford, CT. “These products can help with brightening, smoothing the skin and exfoliating. They can also help with pigmentary concerns like melasma,” she adds.
The Best Natural Skin Brighteners
If you’re ready to try a new wave of natural skin brighteners, consider the following dermatologist-approved ingredients.
The post 8 Natural Brightening Alternatives to Hydroquinone first appeared on Dermstore Blog.