What Hydroquinone alternative can I use for my face?

After my second fraxel laser treatment, I can no longer use hydroquinone. It doesn't matter the strength. It irritates my skin so badly and it has already been a year since the laser. I've used both 1-4%, which I was able to use ( just fine) before the treatment but now I can't. My skin is darkening and I don't know what to use to lighten it. I do stay out of the sun as much as possible and I wear spf 70. Can you please recommend an alternative product or treatment?

Doctor Answers 6

Hydroquinone alternative

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There are many alternatives to Hydroquinone that are less irritating on your skin, but they may have to be used in combination to deliver same results. Those includes products containing mequinol, retinoids combinaed with Azelaic acid product, Arbutin, Kojic acid and many others. It is important to intake vitamins A, B, and C, and drink a lot of water. Keep using your sunscreen. Good luck! 

Summit Emergency Medicine Physician

Lytera, Vitamin A, B, C s

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There are other creams and lotions you can use including Lytera, as well as antioxidants such as vitamin B, C and Vitamin A. These can be bought as product or compounded by a pharmacist. Dr Davin Lim Brisbane, Australia. 

Facial Aging and Lasers like Fraxel/Clear + Brilliant, RF like VIVA, Peels, Fillers, Skin Care, Face Lift, Fat Injections

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I suggest a non hydroquinone lightening agent or vitamin A, C and kojic acid.  Arbutin, licorice root are good alternatives.  Many companies like PCA skin have great non HA lighteners.  Best, Dr. Emer.

Jason Emer, MD
Los Angeles Dermatologic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 207 reviews


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There are various non-hydroquinone lighteners that can be used to help with pigmentation, such as lytera, skin sceuticals advanced pigment corrector etc. There are also various antioxidant serums with a Vitamin C base which help with pigmentation. Others include, Kojic acid, Azelaic acid , and retinol creams. I would recommend you see a board certified dermatologist to determine which product is best for you. 

Lenore Sikorski, MD
Orange County Dermatologist
4.4 out of 5 stars 25 reviews

Skin brighteners/lighteners without Hydroquinone...

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Thank you for your question.  There are many non-hydroquinone based skin lighteners/brighteners including elure, lumixyl, etc.  Most are based around Vitamin C, licorice, kojic acid, vitamin a, azelaic acid, etc.  Please be evaluated and managed by a board certified Dermatologist.  Regards, Dr. Matt Elias

Matthew Elias, DO, FAAD
Fort Lauderdale Dermatologic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 6 reviews

Hydroquinone alternatives

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There are many hydroquinone alternatives such as Vitamin C, licorice based, or Retinol products to lighten the skin.  Please consult a dermatologist who is familiar with cosmetics for the best results.  Fraxel and Clear & Brilliant both help reduce the pigmentation along with chemical peels. Best, Dr. Green

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.