To lessen hydroquinone side effects, users can wear protective sunscreen, avoid using the product on damaged areas of skin, and follow application with a moisturizing lotion. Hydroquinone is typically prescribed as a topical cream that is used to reduce dark areas of the skin. It works to lower the amount of melanin present in affected areas. This medication is available over the counter, often in a concentration of 2% or less, and higher concentrations may be obtained from a licensed dermatologist. Doctors do not recommend that patients use this medication for a time period longer than six months.
In some individuals, hydroquinone may cause an allergic reaction when exposed to sensitive areas of skin. Exposed areas can become red and cause an itching, stinging sensation. To reduce the potential for these possibly dangerous hydroquinone side effects, users should carefully avoid using their cream around the eyes, nose, and mouth. Skin around these areas of the face tends to be thinner, and can react negatively when it comes in contact with this cream.
One of the most frequently experienced hydroquinone side effects is an increase in skin sensitivity. This heightened sensitivity can cause users to sunburn quickly, and can increase any dryness or swelling associated with previously irritated areas. To reduce the effects, users should wear sunscreen whenever they will spend a prolonged amount of time in the sun. Many daily facial moisturizers and some makeup foundations contain a degree of sunscreen. These can be effective in protecting the skin of the face and neck from daily damage which can occur as a natural side effect of common activities.
More intense hydroquinone side effects, such as the burning and itching associated with irritated skin, can be avoided by using the medicine on healthy skin only. This cream has been shown, in some individuals, to reduce the ability of the body to heal from minor wounds and scratches. If the skin with darkened pigmentation is injured, contains an open wound, or is swollen and irritated from another source, it should not be treated with hydroquinone. Users should wait until all wounds heal and other inflammation has subsided before applying this topical ointment.
Most over the counter cosmetic lotions can be used with hydroquinone. Users should generally wait several minutes after applying the hydroquinone before using any additional products. Skin irritation at the site of the application does occur as one of the few mild hydroquinone side effects in certain individuals. Those who experience this sensation can benefit from using a lotion or cream rich in aloe vera, vitamin E, and shea butter. These ingredients work to encourage skin to retain its own moisture, and can improve the suppleness and elasticity of skin in treated areas.