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Whats the real deal with hydroquinone 4%

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Is is safe, not safe, cause cancer...what? I keep hearing pro's and con's to this stuff but nothing SOLID!

I am an African American Woman currently on Retin A at night and wanted to also use the hydroquinone during the day (with a sun screen).

Any insight? dry.gif

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I read somewhere that hydroquinone caused tumors in rats. bb_doubt.gif However, as a HUMAN, I feel there is no way I should be compared to a rodent since I look nothing like Templeton from Charlotte's Web.

That being said, I was an avid user of Black Opal's Essential Fade Complex and sung its praises here on the board. It's small (half ounce), relatively inexpensive (around 8 bucks), and worked for the most part. It did what I expected a 2% OTC product to do.

However, I have discovered Obagi Clear which is 4% hydroquinone and available either thru a derm or online. It's 2 ounces, but not cheap (around $60 online). I've had more success with this product in fading my dark spots in the past two weeks than I have with Black Opal on and off for that past few months. The directions for the Obagi call for use twice a day, then 'as needed' when you clear up. When I use it in the a.m., I do wear sunscreen (SPF30) and makeup over it with no problem since it dries to a nice, matte finish. I also use Retin-A in the evening. I wait 20 minutes after washing with my Serious Skin Care Glycolic Cleanser to apply my Retin-A, then wait another 20 minutes before applying the Obagi Clear.

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Information on hydroquinone:

"hydroquinone. Substance that is known to successfully reduce the intensity of freckles, melasma, and general brown patching by inhibiting melanin production. For continued and increased effectiveness it must be used long term. Unprotected sun exposure should be avoided, because it reverses the effect of hydroquinone by increasing melanin production. Occasionally, at higher concentrations, persons with a darker skin type will experience increased pigmentation, but this is rare. It can cause mild skin irritation and there is the possibility of an allergic reaction. Hydroquinone in 1% to 2% concentrations is available in over-the-counter products; 4% concentrations are available by prescription only (Source: American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, September-October 2000, pages 261–268).

There is concern that hydroquinone is a potentially carcinogenic substance. In vitro, hydroquinone has a toxic effect on cells containing melanin (Source: Biochemical Pharmacology, March 1999, pages 663–672). Aside from the in vitro studies (done in test tubes), the only harmful effects are reported in animal studies where hydroquinone is fed to animals. In these studies tumor creation or DNA damage is noted. However, this is not the case in epidemiological studies in which production workers (meaning those workers involved in the manufacture of hydroquinone) have been shown to have lower death rates and reduced cancer rates when compared with the population as a whole. Adverse effects associated with skin-lightening products that contain hydroquinone in FDA-regulated products have been limited to a small number of cases of hyperpigmentation (Sources: Critical Reviews in Toxicology, May 1999, pages 283–330; and Food and Chemical Toxicology, November 1999, pages 1105–1111)." - from cosmeticscop.com

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