Is it Safe to Combine Tretinoin 0.05% Cream and a Over the counter Hydroquinone Gel 2%?

Is it safe to use prescription Tretinoin 0.05% cream and a overthecounter hydroquinone gel 2% together? I am trying to lighten dark spots and rid some acne.

Doctor Answers 3

Hydroquinone can complement acne treatment

Yes, it should be safe to use hydroquinone with tretinoin if you get hyperpigmentation from acne but remember to focus on the use of tretinoin. Prevent the acne and there will be no blemishes to treat. The combination may increase your risk of irritation so be sure to use a high quality moisturizer.

New York Dermatologist
3.3 out of 5 stars 10 reviews

Hydroquinone and Tretinoin

Yes, this is entirely safe. In fact the most popular de-pigmenting agent  ( Tri-Luma) contains the same main ingredients with a mild steroid thrown into the mix. 

My one suggestion, however, would be to use a hydroquinone cream rather than a hydroquinone gel ( or better a tretinoin gel and hydroquinoine gel, since this is a more potent combination). Gels and creams tend to "crack" and it is better to stick with one or the other: either a cream or gel.

Arnold R. Oppenheim, MD
Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Yes you can use both

Some compounding pharmacies actually make a special Rx compound of both of these together, so yes, you can use them. I would suggest NOT using them at the same time if you've not been instructed to do so by your physician. So I would use one at night, and one in the morning. Or even use the hydroquinone product just a few times a week. 


F. Victor Rueckl, MD
Las Vegas Dermatologist
4.6 out of 5 stars 17 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.