By far, the most effective skin lightener is hydroquinone. When used for short periods of time, especially when combined with an exfoliating treatment, hydroquinone can reduce and eliminate age spots within 6-8 weeks.
The problem with hydroquinone is that it can cause major skin problems in some people. Ochronosis is a paradoxical skin darkening that can occur in people with darker skin when using hydroquinone.
Hydroquinone can also create rebound hyperpigmentation if it’s used for too long. It has also been shown to cause cancer in laboratory rats.
Hydroquinone has been banned for use in Europe, but is still used in many medical grade skin care systems in the United States due to its effectiveness. However, because of its potential side effects and problems, it’s important to stop its use within 6 months after starting it. This gives the skin time to recover from its effects and prevent rebound hyperpigmentation.
For these reasons, Hydroquinone for Long Periods is on my Holistic Beauty Blacklist.
Note: This is based solely on the opinions of Dr. Youn, which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of all doctors or the standard of care in your area. Before you undergo any invasive cosmetic treatment, make sure you consult with a real board-certified plastic surgeon.