Hydroquinone for Dark Circles: Is It Right For Me?

Ariel Bailey
By: Chief Beauty Advisor  |  Ariel Bailey

Some popular treatments for dark circles under the eyes are treatments that contain hydroquinone, but how do you know if it really works, or if it’s right for you in the first place? Read on to find more about hydroquinone-based creams and if they really are an effective ingredient for removing your dark under-eye circles.

In this article:

  1. Hydroquinone: What is it?
  2. Hydroquinone: Who Is It For?
  3. Can Hydroquinone Effectively Remove Dark Circles?
  4. Possible Side Effects of Hydroquinone
  5. Does Hydroquinone Require A Prescription?
  6. How Much Hydroquinone is Needed for Dark Circles?
  7. What are the Best Hydroquinone Creams?
  8. How Do I Know if Hydroquinone is Right For Me?
  9. Alternatives to Hydroquinone

Hydroquinone: What Is It?

Hydroquinone works as a lightening agent and can be found in numerous products. Many use it to lighten blemishes on the skin such as liver spots, freckles, or dark under-eye circles.

Hydroquinone: Who Is It For?

Darker skin tones are more susceptible to hyperpigmentation.

Hydroquinone is a skin whitening product used by those who have hyperpigmentation, a condition in which the skin produces dark patches. People with dark skin, such as those from India and the Middle East, are more prone to hyperpigmentation.

People with hyperpigmentation are also prone to developing dark circles below their eyes and would benefit from the use of hydroquinone.

Can Hydroquinone Effectively Remove Dark Circles?

Clinical studies have proven hydroquinone to be highly effective at reducing dark circles by approximately 60%. Unfortunately, hydroquinone must be consistently used for several months before noticeable results are achieved. It is also very powerful and can over-lighten the skin, so care must be taken with its use.

Possible Side Effects of Hydroquinone

As with most beauty ingredients, there is always some potential for side effects.

There are definite side effects to using hydroquinone, such as drying out the skin, as well as causing redness, itching, and irritation. It is strongly advised that anyone using hydroquinone regularly should avoid overexposure to UV light, whether artificial or not. Hydroquinone has also been linked to cancer in some studies, and has been banned in several countries, including Japan and the EU, as a result.

Here in the US, hydroquinone concentration within products is limited to minute quantities. Anyone considering using hydroquinone should familiarize themselves thoroughly with all the dangers and precautions associated with it prior to use.

Does Hydroquinone Require A Prescription?

It is not necessary to obtain a prescription in order to use the standard amount of hydroquinone. You can obtain lower-grade preparations from the internet or from stores. However, if you plan on using a hydroquinone cream, consult a skin care professional regarding the necessary amount that you need.

How Much Hydroquinone is Needed for Dark Circles?

Is it safe to use an ingredient that is banned in almost half of the world?

Hydroquinone creams are available in formulas of 2%, which is sufficient for fighting dark circles without skin irritation. In some cases, it is advisable to consult a doctor for prescriptions of 4% in strength.

But this higher strength comes with increased precautions and dangers, such as ochronosis, a condition in which the skin produces carcinogenic black spots. For this reason, hydroquinone has been banned throughout Europe and Asia.

What are the Best Hydroquinone Creams?

Hydroquinone creams come in a variety of brand names, such as Viquin Forte, Solaquin, Solaquin Forte, Esoterica, Eldopaque Forte, Glyquin and Esoterica Sensitive Skin.

But let’s not forget the inherent risks associated with hydroquinone creams. Saying that Brand X or Brand Y is the best type of hydroquinone cream is like saying Brand X or Brand Y of cigarettes is the best cigarette you could possibly smoke. 

You are still exposing your body to something that could be potentially harmful. Some people may feel this is worth the risk – but many of those people might not know that there are safe and natural alternatives to hydroquinone creams. We strongly suggest you give one of them a try before you risk your health and safety.

How Do I Know if Hydroquinone is Right For Me?

There are certain questions you have to ask yourself before deciding whether or not to use Hydroquinone.

If you have dark circles that result from hyperpigmentation, you may be a candidate for products containing hydroquinone. However, dark circles below the eyes are often the cause of leaking blood vessels. These dark circles are more closely related to bruising than hyperpigmentation and cannot be treated with hydroquinone.

People who lack skin sensitivity issues may also be better suited for hydroquinone creams than others. And if you are one of these lucky individuals who can put anything on your skin and feel no pain, then we envy you. But the truth is that such people are rare.

Even for people who don’t think that they have problems with sensitive skin, hydroquinone use has been shown to cause irritation, dryness, flaking, and other types of discomfort.

You can choose to roll the dice, try a hydroquinone cream anyway, and hope for the best…Or you could look into a safe and healthy hydroquinone alternative to help you banish your unwanted dark under-eye circles.

Alternatives to Hydroquinone

There are dozens, if not hundreds of options for treating dark circles with creams and serums.

There are alternative to hydroquinone, especially if you are leery of all the dangers that are associated with hydroquinone. There are numerous creams and serums that can effectively treat dark circles and under-eye puffiness, but are gentle enough to use daily. What’s even more exciting is that you’ll see results in just a few hours (instead of months, as with hydroquinone).

To find the really good ones, you’ve got to take a closer look at the ingredients list. Anything with chrysin in it is a good investment. This natural flavonoid extract helps dilate the delicate capillaries in the skin under your eyes.

Dilating your blood vessels helps strengthen them and keeps blood from leaking into the interstitial tissue around them. This leakage is the main cause for dark under eye circles in many people. Things like cucumber extract, green tea extract, and licorice extract all work very well together, also.

If you’re interested in RevitaLume, see our in-depth review for more information!

We’ve looked at a lot of different hydroquinone alternatives, and the best one we’ve seen by far is called RevitaLume. It has all of the ingredients we just mentioned, plus some other anti-inflammatory and anti-wrinkle ingredients.

It doesn’t just get rid of the dark circles under your eyes – it helps get rid of sagging skin, puffy bags, and all the other unsightly skin blemishes that tend to follow dark circles. It’ll help you look as youthful and attractive on the outside as you feel on the inside.

Find out which dark circles products rated highest on our product comparison chart.

Ariel Bailey
Chief Beauty Advisor
Ariel was fed up with all the nonsense information out there. So, she has dedicated over 25 years and written 100's of articles to help millions of people be properly educated from products, to latest innovations, and to anything else beauty related.

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