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Molecule Description

Hydroquinone is a medicine that is applied to the skin (topical) to correct discoloration of the skin.

Uses of Hydroquinone

  • Brown patches on the skin, especially the face (melasma)
  • Spots on the skin not associated with any disease (freckles)
  • Dark patches and spots on the skin (hyperpigmentation)
  • Brown or black areas on the skin usually due to sunlight (lentigo)

Contraindications of Hydroquinone

When should one not use Hydroquinone

  • Allergy to Hydroquinone or any of the components used in the medicine
  • Sunburned or raw skin

Side effects of Hydroquinone

Common side effects of this drug are:

  • Irritation of the skin
  • Itching, rashes, redness and other allergic reactions
  • Burning or stinging at the applied areas

Precautions and Warnings of Hydroquinone


Can I take Hydroquinone during pregnancy?
Adequate data is not available and hence Hydroquinone is recommended to be used in pregnancy if no other alternatives are available. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant or planning pregnancy.

Breast Feeding

Can I take Hydroquinone while breastfeeding?
It is unknown if Hydroquinone is secreted in human milk. Caution is advised while breastfeeding. Ensure that baby’s skin does not come in direct contact with the applied area.


Can I drive if I have consumed Hydroquinone?
Hydroquinone is not known to affect your driving ability.


Can I consume alcohol with Hydroquinone?
Alcohol delays the healing and may increase specific side effects of Hydroquinone such as burning, itching, rashes, allergy and hence you are advised not to consume alcohol too frequently.

Other General Warnings

Talk to your doctor if
  • Avoid unnecessary sun exposure (use sunscreen and protective clothing)
  • Do not apply on cut or open skin, or near eyes, nose, lips and mouth
  • Inform your doctor if you have or developed any liver or kidney problems

Mode of Action of Hydroquinone

How Does It Work?

The color of the skin, eyes and hair is due to a substance called Melanin. Excess production of Melanin can result in dark skin. Hydroquinone works by reducing the formation of Melanin and thereby lightening the skin colour.
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Interactions of Hydroquinone

Interactions with other medicines

  • Hydroquinone has no known interactions with other medicines
  • Tell your doctor about all your medical history before taking this medicine

Interactions with food items

No information is available on interactions of this medicine when taken with food, consult your doctor or pharmacist for further information.

Dosage of Hydroquinone


Apply Hydroquinone exactly as prescribed your doctor. Do not over apply or apply more frequently than you are advised. Accidental overdose may not be harmful but regular overdose can cause severe damage to the skin. Inform your doctor immediately if you develop any skin irritation, itching or rashes.
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Missed a Dose

If you forgot to apply at the prescribed time, you might apply Hydroquinone as soon as you remember or wait until the next usage. Make sure not to apply the medicine at close intervals. Do not apply extra to make up for a missed application.
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Content Details


Dr. Ritu Budania

MBBS, MD (Pharmacology)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: When and how to consume medicine?

A: This medicine is only for topical purposes. Apply this medication to the affected areas of skin and massage gently, usually twice daily or as directed by your doctor.

Q: Is there anything else I need to know while using Hydroquinone?

A: Though Hydroquinone is available as an over-the-counter medicine, do not self-medicate. It is an effective medicine but has the potential to cause irreversible skin damage on prolonged or improper usage. Discontinue the medication and speak to your doctor if you develop any skin irritation. It is recommended to use this medicine under prescription.
Last Updated on: 05 Oct 2020 | 10:47 PM (IST)

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The information provided herein is accurate, updated and complete as per the best practices of the Company. Please note that this information should not be treated as a replacement for physical medical consultation or advice. We do not guarantee the accuracy and the completeness of the information so provided. The absence of any information and/or warning to any drug shall not be considered and assumed as an implied assurance of the Company. We do not take any responsibility for the consequences arising out of the aforementioned information and strongly recommend you for a physical consultation in case of any queries or doubts. Please click here for detailed T&C.
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