Given Hydroquinone is Now Banned by the FDA, is Lustra a Safe Cream to Use?

Dr Nick Lowe has suggested I use Lustra for under eye dark circles. I am worried about the effects of hydroquinone...

Doctor Answers 2


Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching ingredient used to lighten areas of darkened skin. In 1982, the FDA published a rule to propose that OTC skin bleaching drug products containing 1.5 to 2 percent hydroquinone be generally recognized as safe and effective (GRASE). In 2006 research revealed that hydroquinone taken orally by mice or rats could cause cancer. It also has been linked with a medical condition in humans known as ochronosis (skin darkening and disfiguration) when applied topically.At that time the FDA requested more scientific testing on hydroquinone. Those tests began in 2009.

On 11/17/10 the FDA recalled specific batches of Triluma, "Firm was notified by supplier of a subpotent active ingredient". That is not the same as a complete ban and the product can still be used. It contains 4% hydroquinone and therefore requires a prescription.

Los Angeles Plastic Surgeon
5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews

Safety of Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone is a skin whitening cream that is available both over the counter and by prescription. The over the counter strengths range from 1.5 to 2%.  The prescription strength creams are 4%, It is still avalable today and has been proven safe when used as directed. Lustra cream is a cream containing hydroquinone and is relatively safe. A ban was proposed for hydroquinone by the FDA, but the ban attempt failed due to opposition to the ban by dermatologists. Safe use of this product has been demonstrated when used in small quantities and for a shorter duration. Some problems like ochronosis (skin darkening and distortion) have occured when used in large quantities for more than 10 years. I recommend a test patch (on the skin other than the face), and judicious short term use if there is no reaction to the test patch. Options to use of hydroquinone include IPL treatments.

Temp Patterson, MD
Burley Facial Plastic Surgeon

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.