Are “lightening” or “bleaching “ creams like Melacare risks for cancer?

Hello doctor I am a 29 year old female who has been using both melacare and retino-A for hyperpigmentation, for the last 6 years. This keeps my skin healthy and glowing and i am addicited to atleast melacare. Recently i hav read an artcile mentioning the development of cancer because of the prolonged use of melacare and i am really afraid of that. Also, i am planning to conceive in the near future. Kindly advice me the above mentioned issues.

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

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

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