Hydroquinone Before and After Fat Grafting

I've been using hydroquinone under my eyelids to make them brighter. However, I'm considering to do a fat grafting to them as well for the hollowness. For how long before the surgery should one stop hydroquinone and when can one start using it again?

Doctor Answers 7

Hydroquinone and fat grafting

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Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent. As such it has really nothing to do with the fat grafting procedure you are having to the lower lids. However, I would avoid rubbing the lower lids for 7-10 days to not disturb the fat as the blood vessels try to re-attach and help the fat survive. Motion is known to decrease graft "take."

Hydroquinone before and after fat grafting

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If you have darker skin and seem to tan easily it may not be a bad idea to be on a hydroquinone (a skin lightening cream) before AND after fat injection to help reduce the risk of post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Sam Naficy, MD, FACS
Seattle Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.7 out of 5 stars 231 reviews

Hydroquinone for lower eyelids

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Depending on how long you have used the hydroquinone, you might still develop an irritant dermatitis if you have not used it for more than a month. Some people who try it for a couple of weeks start to get stinging and irritation, redness and peeling. This can create the paradox of darkening of the skin from inflammatory hyperpigmentation. Provided that you have used it for a while without any problems, than you can continue the treatment up to a week before. There are some forms of hydroquinone that have a Retin A cream mixed in and this could cause greater reactive skin changes and make your skin more irritable during the fat injection treatment, so one week of avoidance prior to the procedure should be adequate. Resuming it two weeks after the procedure is certainly safe but discuss it with the doctor who is doing the fat injections.

Ronald Shelton, MD
Manhattan Dermatologic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 39 reviews


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 Hydroquinone is a great cream for reducing melanin pigment in the skin and evening out the tone.  It should have no effect on your planned fat grafting procedure.  I see no reason to discontinue it for the surgery.  Good luck.

Hydroquinone and eyelid surgery

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Generally, there should be little effect of the HQ on the deeper subcutaneous tissues. However, as Dr. Rand has mentioned, the rubbing used during the application may interfere with the procedure. Therefore discontinuing the prduct for 1 week prior and 2 weeks after is a reasonable approach.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 86 reviews

Stopping hydroquinone is surgeon dependent around fat grafting

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As with all medications and surgery, I would consult that surgeon performing your fat transfer for his/her recommendations. As Dr. Rand points out, hydroquinone is a topical agent and should not interfere with fat grafting surgery. I would also recommend stopping for about a week to two weeks after surgery only because massage to the transplanted area can decrease the take rate of the fat.

D.J. Verret, MD
Dallas Facial Plastic Surgeon

Skin care after fat grafting

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Fat transfer to add facial volume and reduce hollowness is a great option for cosmetic patients.

One must follow the plastic surgeon's pre and post procedure guidelines to help promote the best results with fat grafting. Usually, skin care products should be discontinued one day prior and avoided immediately following fat injections. Skin care products, such as hydroquinone, generally may be resumed after one week following the fat transfer procedure.

Speak with your fat transfer surgeon to determine the care instructions for your procedure. Best of luck.

Houtan Chaboki, MD
Washington DC Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 89 reviews

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.