The Truth About… The Most Powerful Skin Lightener

Andrew Winkler, MD
Article by
Lone Tree Facial Plastic Surgeon

There have been concerns about the safety of hydroquinone for years.  It has been the focus of much media attention and the subject of many false reports. Hydroquinone works by inhibiting the production of melanin, the pigment that causes darkening of the skin and leads to sunspots. It is a key ingredient in our Obagi Skin Care line.

There is ample documented safety data and evidence, extending over 40 years to support the use of hydroquinone in topical prescription drugs. Hydroquinone is safe and, importantly, is effective.  Hydroquinone is the only skin-lightening agent approved by the FDA. It is a ubiquitous chemical and one to which we are exposed to daily. It is found in many foods, such as cranberries, blueberries, pears, beans, all-wheat breads, cereals, tea, coffee, red wine, beer, broccoli and onions.

Skin care professionals have long regarded hydroquinone as the gold standard in the treatment of certain pigmentary disorders of the skin. It is not approved for use during pregnancy and is only available with physician supervision and prescription use.