Are “lightening” or “bleaching “ creams like Melacare risks for cancer?
Really there are two issues here; the planned pregnancy in the near future and the evidence for and against hydroquinone use.
Let’s start with the pregnancy. Generally common sense dictates avoiding (within reason) harmful chemicals during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. So in the U.S., you would stop your Retin A (tretinoin) or other retinoids and stop the hydroquinone (in the Melacare along with tretinoin and a steroid). I agree with this because why take any unnecessary chance! Change during that time to double sunscreening (link to cart sunscreens) with high zinc sunscreens, wear a hat, use a good topical antioxidant (link to Phoretin CF in cart) and use a plant based lightener (link to Lytera in cart)
High-dose hydroquinones – much higher than is present in skin care products – have been linked to cancer in mice. The EU banned them anyway and there is some concern they may be mildly hormonally active. They cause irritation is about 10-20% which can make the melasma worse. On the other hand, they have been used safely in the U.S. at concentrationso of mostly 2-4% and are the most effective lightening agent. In my opinion, use them for short periods in the summer or before and during a sunny vacation and then stop them! Use the recommendations above all year around.
Hope this helps, Dr. I