What is the Most Effective Skin Lightener?

What is the most effective skin lightener for topical use that can be bought without prescription? What ingredients are the best to look for when purchasing a skin lightener? Is Hydroquinone an option?

Doctor Answers 3

Effective Skin Lightener?

Thank you for your question. To help lighten your skin you may want to consult with a board certified Dermatologist to discuss your options. Hydroquinone is definitely an option to help lighten skin tone and may be found in low percentages over the counter.  I hope this helps.

Bay Area Dermatologist
3.9 out of 5 stars 12 reviews

The most effective skin lighteners that can be purchased without a prescription is in a 2% hydroquinone.

The stronger the hydroquinone, the more effective a bleaching agent it is.  You an purchase a 2% over the counter.  From my office, I can prescribe compounds of 4, 6 and even 8% hydroquinones.  These used in combination with Retin-A or Retinols even work better.

Michele S. Green, MD
New York Dermatologist
5.0 out of 5 stars 74 reviews


The only hydroquinones that have a high enough concentration to be effective are not available without a prescription.

Vicki J. Levine, MD
New York Dermatologic Surgeon

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