Asian Skin and Hydroquinone: 3 Things You Need to Know First

Age spots, liver spots and hyperpigmentation can offer in anyone regardless of their ethnicity or gender, but some men and women of Asian heritage find age spots especially tricky to combat.That’s because some Asian skin is richer in melanin, which is the pigment that gives your skin its color.

More melanin means you may have more age spots or darker age spots than your friends of Caucasian descent.

Ethnic skin is also often “ignored” by mainstream anti-aging websites and skincare products, but that doesn’t mean you can’t perfect your skin and get a flawless complexion.

What’s Hydroquinone? Can Asians Use Hydroquinone?

Hydroquinone has long been regarded as one of the most effective tools for fading skin spots in Asian skin, even though it may have a few risks attached to it. That’s because hydroquinone evenly fades the skin’s appearance by reducing your body’s production of an enzyme that’s necessary for creating melanin. Many Asian people see their age spots fade in a month or less when they use a skin cream or serum containing this active ingredient.

Because it targets overall melanin production, ethnic people often find hydroquinone the fastest way to get rid of spots and blemishes.

But not all hydroquinone anti-aging products are made alike. Before you buy a hydroquinone cream for your skin, here are the three things you must know first.

1. Hydroquinone Can’t Work Against the Sun

If you’re using a skin-lightening serum or cream that contains hydroquinone, your skin is just as sensitive to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Also, the sun triggers melanin production, effectively cancelling out hydroquinone’s benefits. If you’re going to apply hydroquinone to your skin, it’s incredibly important that you wear sunscreen and avoid direct skin exposure to the sun.

2. Hydroquinone Skincare Products MUST Be Packaged Correctly

Many skincare serums, creams and anti-aging products come in beautiful containers, but packaging matters more than you may think.

Hydroquinone is extremely sensitive to light. Light exposure zaps it and reduces its efficacy. The best hydroquinone products come in opaque packaging. Never buy hydroquinone products that come in a clear jar.

Hydroquinone is also extremely sensitive to the air. If your skincare cream or serum is exposed to air, the hydroquinone degrades and quickly loses its ability to whiten and lighten your skin.

When shopping for a hydroquinone product, look for products that come in a sealed container with a pump to dispense the product. Never buy anti-aging hydroquinone products that come in a jar. The second you open the jar and dip a finger in, the product starts to go bad.

3. There are Natural Forms of Hydroquinone

Most anti-aging skin lightening creams that have hydroquinone use a chemical version.

It’s effective, but some people prefer a more natural route.

There are five natural herbal extracts that can brighten your skin because they’re natural, organic forms of hydroquinone:

What’s the Best Hydroquinone Product for Fading Spots?

We recommend two products because they don’t only contain hydroquinone, but they also have additional ingredients that improve exfoliation and help combat other signs of aging, such as wrinkles, fine lines and crow’s feet. Many of our readers are concerned about skin spots from an aging perspective, so using a multipurpose skincare product to combat all the common signs of aging helps you achieve your youthful goals faster.

The first product we like is a triple-action dark spot eraser from Paula Begoun, renowned around the world as the “cosmetic cop.” Her skin cream is quite concentrated and goes on clear. We love that it felt sheer, and it quickly absorbed into our skin without the usual heaviness or shine that we come to expect from so many skin creams.

It contains hydroquinone, which Paula says is the “gold standard for skin lightening.” It also had 7% alpha hydroxy acids, which also lighten skin and boosts collagen production for a firmer, younger looking face.

Most importantly, this product’s packaging:

  • Is opaque, so it protects the active ingredients from the light
  • Is made so that the skin cream is shielded from the air, preserving its potency.

Our second choice is Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Fade Cream Dark Spot Corrector. It doesn’t just have hydroquinone, but it also contains lactic acid, vitamin C, azelaic acid and salicylic acid.

Salicylic acid is a beta hydroxy acid (BHA). Unlike AHAs, BHAs can penetrate oil on your skin. This is important for Asian people who might have an oily complexion or a greasy T-zone. This ensures the active ingredient can penetrate the oil and smooth away signs of aging.