Can bleaching creams like hydroquinones be used to spot treat or used all over?
You bring up an important point. Lightening creams, especially hydroquinones, actually do lighten at least temporarily! They can create uneven pigment because spots lighten at different rates and it’s hard to keep the cream exactly on the brown spot.
In general, if you have just a few brown spots from acne, picking, or other skin problems, you can spot treat for 2 weeks or so and not create problems.
If you have a lot of brown spots, or larger areas more consistent with melasma, then it works better to use a thin layer over the entire face. Please don’t use longer than 3-4 months without a doctors’ or dermatologists’ care.
Hope this helps, Dr. I