Why hydroquinone is bad for you (albeit effective) and the whitening/brightening line I recommend instead

Cate Blanchett

A funny thing happened in skincare over the past few years. And by funny I mean good—although this movement has undoubtedly caused waaaaaay more work for the vain people among us. (Holla!)

Remember when skincare was very basic? As in, the only thing your mom’s fancy night creams claimed to do was eradicate wrinkles? We were so innocent then—innocent of what would happen when, thanks to new, sheer, lightweight makeup formulas, our skin TONE was exposed for all to see.

You see, now that nobody is caking it on like they did from the time makeup was invented all the way up to the ’90s, all the fun little problems like hyperpigmentation, sun damage, age spots, uneven tone and post-inflammatory pigmentation (which is just a fancy way of labelling those dark marks you get after a pimple clears up) are, if you have ‘em, so much more noticeable. Sure, you can now buy lightweight-but-high-coverage foundation formulas, but I think that we all can agree it’s better if you don’t NEED to wear them, like Miss Cate Blanchett here. Yes?

Which brings me to hydroquinone, a skincare ingredient that has long been used (as in 500 B.C. long) to whiten and brighten the skin.

prescription hydroquinone Why hydroquinone is bad for you (albeit effective) and the whitening/brightening line I recommend instead

The 4 percent concentration is available in Canada by prescription, or you can buy up to 2 percent hydroquinone formulas over the counter. In fact, the inspiration for this entire post comes from reader Sara, who made a comment in our epic cod liver oil thread that she’d recently started using “an inexpensive cream by Ambi that contains hydroquinone” and that “it seems to be working for fading dark spots.” (We’ve since had a talk about that.)

Ambi hydroquinone Why hydroquinone is bad for you (albeit effective) and the whitening/brightening line I recommend instead

Now, I’m not familiar with this brand at all (I’m not even sure if it’s available in Canada), but apparently it made Allure magazine’s annual Best of Beauty list this year. Which means that it does work, yes.

But I think there are a few things you should know. (And let’s not pick on poor Ambi. Hydroquinone can also be found in products from NeoStrata, DDF, Philosophy and of course, the famous Obagi, which you can buy at the derm’s office and probably gets the most love on beauty forums like Essential Day Spa.)

Anyway! I think you should know that the use of hydroquinone in skincare has been banned in Europe. And in 2006, the US FDA proposed a ban—which is quite something, because I feel like the FDA is okay with a LOT of un-safe things.

There are several reasons why I don’t think using hydroquinone is a good idea:

  • It whitens skin by killing—yes, KILLING—your skin’s pigment cells. I don’t know about you, but I don’t really want to intentionally off my own cells.
  • It can cause irritation and contact dermatitis.
  • It degenerates collagen and elastin fibres (which, uh, we’re supposed to be *strengthening* to keep ourselves looking young and fresh).
  • In darker-skinned individuals, it may cause ochronisis, which is a skin disorder characterized by “progressive sooty darkening.” Right.
  • It’s known to cause DNA damage and mutations.
  • Most scary of all, it’s linked to cancers in humans such as leukemia.

Now, all of these things are associated with large doses over extended periods of time, which is why you’re not supposed to use products with hydroquinone any longer than six months. Probably you’ll be okay if you’re using only a 2 percent formula for a few weeks at a time.

But EVEN STILL—I personally don’t feel comfortable using an ingredient associated with so many warnings. Especially when there are great alternatives like Lumixyl:

lumixyl Why hydroquinone is bad for you (albeit effective) and the whitening/brightening line I recommend insteadYou may have heard me mention this line before, and that’s because I heart it so much. The buzz is that it delivers results similar to hydroquinone, but without the toxicity. Yes please!

The star product is the Topical Brightening Creme, which contains a non-toxic and non-irritating peptide (an oligopeptide) that you can use indefinitely—no need to stop after six months. They say it works even better when you use it as part of the Topical Brightening System, a four-pack that includes not just the Creme but also:

  • the Active-Prep Cleanser (a gentle foaming cleanser),
  • the MoistureLock Sunscreen SPF30 (a natural titanium dioxide sunblock, which helps protect you from additional hyperpigmentation), and
  • my personal favourite, the GlycoPeel 20 Rapid Exfoliating Lotion (a super-charged exfoliator that WILL make you peel but also helps the Creme to penetrate better). It’s possibly the best exfoliator I’ve ever used, and that’s saying something.

It should take about eight weeks, which is the length of one “skin cycle,” to see results. Here’s an example:

lumyxil beforeandafter Why hydroquinone is bad for you (albeit effective) and the whitening/brightening line I recommend instead

My pigmentation issues aren’t nearly this severe—I just used it to try and fade some post-inflammatory pigmentation. It definitely had an effect… and I’m not sure if it’s the Lumixyl or my new cod liver oil regimen or a bit of both, but I think my skin has much more of a glow these days.

You don’t need a prescription to buy Lumixyl, but it’s only available at doctor’s offices. For locations, see here.

Just a warning: it IS pricey ($100+ for the Creme alone). So if your issues are more on the mild side (and you ALSO have issues with the price/exclusivity), I recommend Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector as a good—and also non-toxic—alternative:

Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Corrector Why hydroquinone is bad for you (albeit effective) and the whitening/brightening line I recommend insteadClinique did a clinical trial that put this product up against 4 percent hydroquinone, and like Lumixyl, the results were deemed “comparable.” Booyah!

So tell me—

Do you have annoying pigmentation issues that you want to correct?
Have you ever tried a product with the scary hydroquinone?
Or are there any non-toxic treatments that you’ve had success with?


Thursday, October 28/2010 at 12:31 am

I find that products containing Vit C works pretty well at hyperpigmentation as well, such as the The Body Shop Moisture White Line or their Vit C Range. It takes a while, but it seems gentle :)


Thursday, October 28/2010 at 11:24 am

Michelle, great post!

I agree, Tanveer….I too use Vitamin C for my “brightening”. I use the Neostrata 20% Vit C formulation that apparently has the highest percentage of most cosmeteuticals (not sure if this is true or not), but it’s working very well for me.

I’m curious about Clinique’s Even Better Clinical Dark Spot Corrector…can anyone chime in on their results? Thanks in advance!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:15 pm

Hi T! Unfortunately I can’t give you a true evaluation of the Clinique product because I was using it intermittently with the Lumixyl, so it’s hard to really say what it did that the Lumixyl (which I started out with) wasn’t doing already.

One thing to note is that it’s quite silicone-y… it’s a serum you would apply under your regular moisturizer. Whereas the Lumixyl is more like a cream texture.

Has anyone else reading tried Clinique Even Better?


Saturday, October 30/2010 at 2:24 pm

I have been using Clinique Even Better for about 2 weeks now and have noticed a major difference. It probably also helps that I figured out what was causing all the spots in the first place (hello gluten and dairy allergy!). It is quite silicone-y and I have been using it as a serum under my Avalon Organics Vitamin C moisturizer.

I would stay away from Body Shop products though. Have you ever looked at the ingredients? Loads of hard core toxic junk. Sure it smells pretty but I don’t want that stuff anywhere near my skin.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 2:57 pm

Yeah, the Body Shop hasn’t been “natural” for a long time (if it ever was!). Glad the Clinique is working for you! And even better that you found out the original cause. I’ve done some reading on dairy sensitivities and apparently it has to do with the pasteurization. Too bad we can’t buy raw milk in Canada. :-( You might be able to handle raw cheese though – I buy a brand called L’Artisan – it’s at Loblaws and Whole Foods.

Sunday, April 22/2012 at 11:31 am

this comment is really old but i thought i would mention that Clinique even better contains wheat germ

Friday, November 19/2010 at 1:29 pm

ever since i read all the rave reviews about clinique’s even better dark spot corrector, i’d been itching to get my hands on it for my recent acne flare up marks. i finally bought one last august, put it on religiously twice a day, never forgetting sunscreen, & within a week or two my jawline, neck, temples & chin (practically anywhere i slather the serum on) broke out like crazy. ugly cysts. ugh. at first i thought it was another hormonal flare up, so i stuck with it. but after a month & a half i decided to stop since it just produced more acne & more red marks (after the acne’s gone). i tried it again a couple of weeks ago, thinking maybe it was from the sunscreen. another flare up. it was definitely clinique’s doing. :( i still have the red blemishes from august.

great site, btw.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Monday, November 22/2010 at 5:46 pm

Oh no! I wonder if it was the silicones – I do find it quite silicone-y in texture. The Lumixyl is not like that – it’s a cream.

Have you seen my cod liver oil post by the way? It could really help you with both the breakouts and the post-acne marks because vitamin A is super healing for skin… http://beautyeditor.ca/2010/09/02/the-single-best-product-evah-for-your-skin-is-not-in-fact-an-actual-skincare-product/

Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:13 pm

Ah yes vitamin C! I think it does something to the melanin… a perfectly fine choice if you’re ok to take it slow (and safe!). :-)


Thursday, October 28/2010 at 7:34 pm

do these products help for ruddy complexions? are there products that do help with ruddiness?


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Friday, October 29/2010 at 3:20 pm

I wish they did! But no, I don’t think so… although this is very good question I’m going to see if I can get an expert to answer for a future post. My un-educated opinion: ruddiness is more of a vascular problem whereas brightening products work on melanin/pigmentation in the skin.

For ruddiness I think you want products that are calming and soothing – anything that says “anti-redness” or even rosacea products would be good. Dermalogica actually has a new calming line that would be perfect!

I’ll flag this as a post topic for future… thanks Solorange!


Friday, October 29/2010 at 8:16 pm

Thanks! I never know how to treat my ruddy skin, other than covering it up, which I don’t like doing. For me, even if I was with the most gentle or most abrasive cleanser, my skin always looks ruddy. And, we all know that uneven skin tone ages you more than wrinkles :(
Is the Dermalogica line for rosacea? Do you know of any excellent rosacea products?



Monday, November 1/2010 at 2:25 pm

I’ve heard good things about the brands LaRoche Posay and Bioderma – both have rosacea specific lines – but I’ve never personally tried them. Both are available at most Shoppers Drug Marts. And since it’s Christmas, both have ready made packages in a great price point right now. Good luck!


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 2:50 pm

Great recommendations T, thanks! I think Clinique has a new rosacea line as well that could work.
Solorange, the Dermalogica line looks like it would be suitable – more info here: http://www.dermalogica.com/us/yourskin/48_article_ultracalming.html

The other thing you might consider is maybe trying a line like Dr. Hauschka which would have zero irritating chemicals (I’m not convinced that even the sensitive/rosacea products are entirely free of irritants). Hauschka is super pure and maybe would help calm things down. If you ever read the Essential Day Spa forums, lots of people swear by it.

Saturday, March 3/2012 at 1:06 am

Hi! I have rosacea, and I think the Oil Cleansing Method works well for me. It is SOOOO sooothing on my face. My face usually looks irritated & red, and when I use the oil it makes it feel so much better, and no itching from dryness. I’ve tried Clinique’s products, and I did like the super heavy night cream, but they changed the formula, so I can’t say that I’d reccomend it anymore. Dr Hauschka’s (sp) stuff worked very well for me. Good luck! I wish I knew of more products to help with my rosacea. :(


Tuesday, October 2/2012 at 1:48 pm

One year ago, I had a huge facial red flare up apparently caused by sensitivities and not actually rosacea. One product suggested by both my sisters who each have a diagnosis of rosacea is Avignon, Original Cream. it is natural and healing. It is produced in Kelowna, BC, Canada.
This product helped me but only after I used steroid 0.05% ointment to settle the redness.

Monday, November 1/2010 at 3:05 pm

I have been using the Clinique Even Better for 6 months. And yes, I did see improvements to my “spots” (from Pregnancy, Post Acne and Sun Damage). However, I just started alternating it with Bio Oil, which is a less expensive natural alternative. I would like to see if it works, as it has received a lot of good reviews, especially in Europe (since they can’t use Hydroquinone). I tried the NeoStrata Hydroquinone Cream and I can’t say for sure if I saw any improvements. I didn’t like the fact that it is BANNED in Europe, had a weird smell and oxidized so quickly. Another great alternative without the Hydroquinone is from La Roche Possay. Very Good Line from Europe. I received some samples but not enough to give it a go for 8 weeks. I will purchase it though when I am done my Clinique. Info for this product is below.

La Roche Posay Mela D is an anti hyper pigmentation cream. Apply daily mornings on the entire face and neck. Also works as a make up base. Sun Protection: Mexoryl XL, Mexoryl SX, Parsol 1789, Octocrylene The UV-Filtersystem with MEXORYL XL.

Ingredients: Aqua/Water, C12-15 Alkyl Benzonate, Glycerin, Octocrylene, Octyldodecanol, Cyclopentasiloxane, Butylmethoxydibenzoylmethane, Aluminuim, Starchoctenylsuccinate, Terephthalylidene Dicamphor Sulfonic Acid, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Drometrizole Trisiloxane, PEG-100 Sterate, Stearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Sterate, Triethanolamine, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Disodium EDTA, Hydrolyzed Lupine Protein, Capryloyl Salicylic Acid, Xanthan Gum, Cetyl Hydroxyethycellulose, BHT, Isobutylparaben, Methylparaben, Phenoxyethanol, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben, Butylparaben, Parfum/Fragrance.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 2:52 pm

Thanks Chelsea! Glad the Clinique was working for you. I’ve used Bio Oil on my face in the past – I know someone who was really happy with the results she got. I just ended up not liking the feel of that particular oil on my skin and ended up going with something more botanical (Decleor…and now a brand called Ainy).


Monday, November 1/2010 at 3:16 pm

I do believe that this product works; however, you must use it religiously and with sunscreen or your spots will just return. I was seeing great improvements over the summer but then I was in the car driving from the lake to Saskatoon and that darn hot Saskatchewan sun beat down through the window on my largest spot. (This particular spot appeared 8 years ago when I was pregnant with my first.) This spot had diminished significantly (by using the serum 2x a day for 6 weeks with sunscreen every day) but when I arrived in Saskatoon and checked myself in the Airport mirror, I was mortified. The spot had returned with a vengeance and I was 5 minutes from greeting my husband. He actually rubbed my face and thought I didn’t blend my make-up. So embarrassing. I made sure that on my way back to BC I wore 40 SPF on my face every day. The spot is better but I want improvements NOW! I also started using Cod Liver Oil. Thanks to you! Trying out Bio Oil too.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Saturday, November 6/2010 at 2:55 pm

Oh wow I can’t believe it came back from such a short time in the sun! Crazy. I guess for all of this pigmentation stuff it’s super duper important to stay out of the sun to *maintain* the results.

Let me know how you do with the Bio Oil. I think the CLO, because vitamin A is so healing for the skin, should help with the fading. And I’ve JUST learned that the Oil Cleansing Method might have an effect on pigmentation too. I’m trialling it myself right now so need to wait a while before I do a post but so far really liking the results. More info here – http://www.theoilcleansingmethod.com/ – maybe you want to look into that. I think it might be the castor oil that helps fade. But you REALLY need to make sure you get it all off your skin after you cleanse.


Wednesday, November 17/2010 at 12:17 am

Hi there! I was just doing a little research on hyperpigmentation and the “Order of Operations” when it comes to Toners with glycolic acid (NeoStrata Toner Level 2) and then applying a Retinoid cream. During my research I happened upon this Canadian blogger who seemed to know what she is talking about. I just thought I would share her info with you.


Regarding my research, I think its OK to use my NeoStrata Toner at night and wait 15 minutes before applying my Tretinoin cream. (I use this for “spots” and hyperpigmentation issues.) Currently, I am struggling with spots as I waxed my facial hair instead of having the patience and getting my usual threading done. I broke out severely within 12 hours. Ick and ARGH! I started the CLO and I don’t know if it’s helping, since I am doing other things, but you know, it definitely is not hurting my journey to great skin.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Wednesday, November 17/2010 at 12:40 am

Hey – this is a great question re: glycolic acid and retinoids. I’ve been told by derms that you shouldn’t use both at the same time… ie. they recommend doing glycolic in the a.m. and retinoids at night. I think if you use both at the same time it diminishes their effectiveness. I wonder if using both everyday might be a little harsh on your skin?

Just found some more info about this here: http://www.futurederm.com/2009/06/19/how-do-i-use-a-retinoid-and-aha-together/

I hate the post-hair removal breakouts! I used to get those from waxing my eyebrows… occasionally I still will with threading but nowhere near as bad.

How long have you been taking CLO and how much, which brand? I think ideally you need about a month to see a real difference…


Wednesday, November 17/2010 at 1:01 am

I will be seeing a new dermatologist next week and I am loaded with lots of questions. I think you are right though. But I wasn’t too sure if that rule included toners or just creams. I can never find a clear answer, as most posts (et al) refer to glycolic in cream/gel/serum and not toner based.

I am taking the NOW brand CLO for 2 weeks. Two capsules along with all my other vites in the a.m. before my protein shake.


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Thursday, November 18/2010 at 6:21 pm

Hmm… I thought it was all AHAs but would be interested to hear what your derm thinks. Can you come back and let us know?

As for the CLO… still early days so I’d at least give it another couple of weeks. The other thing I’m learning is that the dosage might be able to go higher than I initially thought. According to the advice here you could go up to 10,000 IU of A daily. http://www.westonaprice.org/cod-liver-oil/238-cod-liver-oil-basics.html They even say 20,000 IU is ok if you’re pregnant/nursing or to recover from health issues. (Acne qualifies as a health issue right?)


Eghianruwa Patience Ayemere
Tuesday, January 4/2011 at 4:40 am

Is clinique even better clinical dark sport corrector a breaching cream?


Sunday, November 6/2011 at 9:33 am

The dangers of hydroquinone are exaggerated. It was shown to cause skin cancer in MICE, NOT IN HUMANS. Humans are very different from mice so to say that just because of that it will cause skin cancer is flawed, and thus why the FDA hasn’t banned it.

I don’t recommend that ANYONE use ANY chemical for long periods of time on the skin. However, many of the claims aganist hydroquinone are quite baseless.


Thursday, January 12/2012 at 1:32 pm

Actually, mice genome, anatomy, and biology are really similar to humans. So, when something occurs in mice, it typically occurs in humans as well, which is why mice are chosen for testing (if they were “very different” as you claim, testing mice would be pointless). Also, there IS evidence of the harmful effects in humans (for example, ochronosis). Therefore, the claims against hydroquinone are not baseless. So, maybe instead of making baseless claims yourself, you could do a little homework. Just because the FDA hasn’t banned the product YET, doesn’t mean it is safe. Use at your own risk.


Friday, April 12/2013 at 11:07 am

I agree that mice testing is a starting of point, howeve the mice ate the hydroquinone. The fda was not impressed and required more testing before agreeing there was cause for alarm. So far no more testing has been done. So unless you plan on chowing down on yr obagi, there have been no proven links between hq and cancer. The other blue purple darkening is the more proven concern, but if yr skin doesn’t have this reaction I think you can safely use these products. ambi is just one of many african american otc products w hq that african american women have used daily for years. I am african american and get severe hyperpigmentation, my grandmother used otc hq for decades, same with my mom, same w me.


Monday, September 23/2013 at 11:34 pm

7 years ago, I was a daily avid user of hydroquinone after being introduced to it by my asian rommate. She used to have blotchy skin with acne before she started using hydroquinone. She got the most amazing satin glowing flawless complexion results with hydroquinone. Influenced by her new amazing skin even though I’m caucasian, I started using it also with great results! However after two years of usage I stopped while my friend still uses the cream. The main drawbacks for me were: 1. the cream absolutely stinks on my skin, the smell is annoying.
2. You absolutely cannot go in the sun at all with that cream on, I developped red rashes whenever I would spend time in the sun. It’s great in the winter not in summertime.
Many years later, my friend still has gorgeous skin and I’m now in my early forties and decided to start using hydroquinone again because to be frank; nothing even comes close to the great results I achieved with hydroquinone (truth be told it also erases wrinkles). I find that most people who state the negative effects don’t know the cream themselves and read very limited studies. The policies regarding hydroquinone in the States has changed. Since I’m not trying to bleach my entire body but use it on limited areas very specific topical spots on my face. I feel safe using it as it’s not banned in my country and talked to my dermatologist about it. It is a miracle cream, I would not be surprised at all if it’d be revealed to be Gwen Stefani’s secret fountain of youth. Sorry but I’m not convinced on the dangers of this cream!


Wednesday, March 20/2013 at 10:40 am

I agree, this woman is an idiot.


Monday, November 28/2011 at 12:49 am

I especially deplore incorrect and under investigated journalism such as this. Hydroquinone has been shown to cause toxicity in very high percentages. 4% won’t damage or cause cancer, EVER. Obviously the author uses a particular line, which is her choice, but she shouldn’t falsify information simply to promote her position. I


Comment Avatar Michelle Villett
Tuesday, December 6/2011 at 11:56 am

Not sure where I falsified information? I never said that 4% would CAUSE cancer, just that I personally don’t feel comfortable using something that is linked to cancer in higher dosages.

Hope that clarifies!


Thursday, January 12/2012 at 1:41 pm

Actually, you should do some investigating yourself. There IS evidence of harm by hydroquinone cosmetic use (which is typically 2-4%). The issue isn’t the percentage, it’s the length of time the product’s used. To state that “4% won’t damage…ever” is completely false (one example is ochronosis). Please do some homework before posting (especially if you’re going to write incorrect information then accuse the author of doing the very thing of which you are blatantly guilty).


Sunday, September 23/2012 at 7:25 pm

Agree that concern over skin cancer risk has been magnified. Using 2-4% hydroquinone nightly for up to 6 months is safe. Save your money, the super expensive products do not work neccessarily better, it is mostly just advertising. I have treated many patients with hydroquinone in the 2-4% range, sometimes combined with a mild hydrocortisone for inflammation and a mild vitamin A for exfoliation with great safety profile and efficacy. Being out in the sun, by getting exposure to UV radiation, is the number one cause of skin cancer, so be more worried about exposing yourself to sun.


Thursday, January 19/2012 at 9:00 pm

I was actually on Obagi for awhile and really like the results I was getting from the HQ. However, after 6 months when I’m supposed to stop with the HQ, I found that marks would just reappear. So instead of stopping I kept on going and eventually found the sides of my jaw getting darker and darker despite the use of HQ. I guess this is from the ochronosis? Long story short, using the HQ for over 6 months was definitely not a good idea. Fast forward 2 years later and tons of research, I started reading up on azelaic acid. I am not kidding when I say that within a couple of days, my marks were fading!!!!


Friday, November 30/2012 at 12:51 am

I had the same experience with Obagi! Very disappointing to have the marks come back, after all of the redness and peeling I’d endured. What brand/product of azelaic acid are you using? I’m interested in trying it!


Thursday, March 29/2012 at 2:00 pm

Hey ladies,
Thanks for reccomending the clinique spot corrector. Im going to try that asap :) Also, i HIGHLY reccoomend u go see a derm if u have health insurance:) Try and find out WHY you have melasma? Did it suddenly appear for some reason? Have you been gaining weight recently? Have you been repeatedly been on a hair removal rampage because of excess hair ( coinciding with your weight gain?)- post inflamatory melasma occurs due to this reason– females suddenly developing male pattern hair growth and then threading/waxing like craazy ( 1/wk) to get rid of it- causing the area to darken. Do you have PCOS? That can also lead to ur weight gain and hair growth–> dark skin . Could also be an endocrine issue :)

Sorry, bottom line, if u have post inflamatory melasma, it can be due to an issue besides just excessive sun exposure :) Im just throwing out ideas even though its kind of on a tangent from the article. Stay healthy & good luck :):)


Tuesday, September 11/2012 at 9:44 am

i used a whole bottle of the clinique dark spot corrector and it did not work at all. i got a sample of the murad rapid age spot and pigment lightening serum from sephora and it has worked wonders in one week. and yes, i know it has 2% hydriquinone. i alternate with my vita rich serum from sanitas and don’t need to wear foundation anymore. i plan to go through this sample bottle from murad and hopefully don’t have to return to any sort of hydraquinone product at all in the near future.


Thursday, March 28/2013 at 10:50 pm

I agree, I went through a whole bottle of clinique dark spot corrector, and the results were minimal if at all. I actually switched to garnier dark spot corrector and it was so much better, I saw results quickly and it worked to face scars very well. Only thing is I don’t know if my skin has gotten used to it, because it seems to not work as well as it did initially.


Friday, April 19/2013 at 10:08 am

I know this is an old blog post, but just to add… hydroquinone 4% is available without an rx. Just ask the pharmacy.
Where are you getting your information about the dangers of hydroquinone?


Thursday, August 15/2013 at 6:10 am

I would like to know the source of her claims as well, as some of them sound baseless. For example, hydroquinone doesn’t work by killing melanocytes like she claimed – it works by inhibiting tyrosinase, a key enzyme in the synthesis of melanin.

I wish authors of articles like this one would actually cite sources so we can really look into the data.


Sunday, April 21/2013 at 9:35 pm

What about ester lauder’s illumnator? Same company as clinique but it is suppose to work better…any help on this?


Tuesday, April 23/2013 at 1:23 pm

Actually I meant to say “Idealist’ not “illuminator”.


Tuesday, April 23/2013 at 1:19 am

Hello there! This blog post couldn’t be written much better! Looking at this article reminds me of my previous roommate! He always kept preaching about this. I am going to forward this article to him. Fairly certain he will have a very good read. I appreciate you for sharing!


Chris KOHN
Monday, April 29/2013 at 7:18 pm

I just learn today that using hydroquinone 4% can cause cancer and I have use it thru NEOCUTIS famous Swiss Skin care for now 2 year !!!! I am so devastated to know I used a product that can cause cancer…… and nobody told me !!!!! maybe I should have been more educated ! Thanks to a french friend working in a plastic surgeon office I discovered “the big scam” !
UNREAL !!!! How a swiss laboratory(next to all european countries) makes money in the US as in Europe it is banned ! SHAME ON ALL THOSE GROUPS FOR THEIR LIES !


Tuesday, May 28/2013 at 9:07 am

I’ve used the hydroquinone in the 2% OTC formula, with no success at all. I was skeptical about the Clinique Even Better but now that you say it works as good as 4% hydroquinone, I may give it a whirl!


Sunday, June 9/2013 at 4:02 pm

Hmm not sure if the person who wrote this article did some research, but yeah for your info 2% and 4% HQ both are available in Canada and OTC. No need for prescription.

P.S. I live in Canada!


Monday, June 17/2013 at 8:25 pm

My PA prescribed the 4% hq formula. Before I filled my RX , I decided to do some research. The cancer causing results in mice was enough for me to say NO the hq at this time. If there are more natural choices such as Vitamin C, I rather try that first.


Monday, August 19/2013 at 6:36 pm

Has anyone tried Shiseido whitening products? Japanese seem to take the subject very seriously. I always see japanese ladies holding sun umbrellas and wearing gloves in the sun. White skin seems very trendy among japanese.
I am wondering if there are any other japanese, korean brands that make working whitening products…


Thursday, November 14/2013 at 8:40 am


Where do you buy Lumixyl in Toronto? Can you get in Mississauga too?


Tuesday, January 14/2014 at 12:32 pm

Does anyone have any recommendations to eliminate scars from laser hair removal? I had my 5th treatment last June and to my surprise when I got home my legs felt like they were on fire. I was told to use Bio-Oil and give it time, but I’m sure that I will still have some permanent scars. Some of them have faded but not all.


Monday, May 12/2014 at 12:28 am

I wish there was a cruelty-free product that produced the same results?. I do not buy products that are tested on animals.


Wednesday, May 14/2014 at 4:01 am

Oh, you should also not use water because it can kill people. There is a lot of misleading information on skin products. Can you support any of your information? Please provide references. I’m sure you just found info on blog posts and websites that have an invested interest in selling non-hydroquinone products. First , Hydroquinone and Arbutin can be found in foods such as cranberries, blueberries, pears, beans, broccoli, onions tea, coffee, beer, red wine, all-wheat bread and cereals. So, even if you do not use a topical hydroquinone you may have it in your body.
It does not “kill” melanocytes, that is just WRONG! – wrong wrong wrong. It is a tyrosinase inhibitor, which means it can suppress over active melanocytes.
There has NEVER, been anyone who has got any cancer from hydroquinone and there isn’t any evidence to support that it does. There is a specific species of male rats that had end stage renal failure that developed a tumor, however this is not relevant to humans or reproducible. – you need to read the full FDA Review of study, people take one line out of 1000 pages and post it on the internet. grrrr………
Cases of OCHRONOSIS are extremely rare and believed to be from products that contained mercury. It think there has been something like 22 reported cases in the US in over 50 years.
The FDA was reviewing over the counter hydroquinone, to possibly make it prescription only.


Monday, June 2/2014 at 12:46 am

I understand it Can be bad for you. However, when you have a semi severe case of melasma which gives you dark shades all over your face, making you look like a freak and having to wear a thick layer of makeup to be able to leave the house and even being ashamed to be clear face near your own family, believe me , you might decide to go on hidroquinone. It changed my life and it saved me from depression and my poor husband now doesn’t have to ensure me crying every now and then because of my face.


angel kritty
Monday, June 30/2014 at 7:36 am

I agree….on clinique. …u used 2 bottles nothing helped to lighten my dark spots. ….nd its quite expensive. …I recommend its jst a waste of money dnt belive in such products anymore best is to use bicarbonate soda vd cocoa Palmers skin corrector. …it does shw result nd it’s way cheap. …


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