When hydroquinone turns brown, is it still safe to use?

Hi Dr Irwin! Your blog is extremely helpful. Thank you so much for it. My question is about Hydroquinone. Is it true that when it has turned a shade of brown in colour, it can cause damage to the skin? I didn't know it at the time, but using it seemed to turn my skin yellow. Is this possible? Was it dangerous to use it? Thank you so much, Tara

Thank you for reading Tara! No, the hydroquinone won’t hurt you if it turns brown but it won’t be effective either because it has oxidized or degraded. I would recommend throwing it out after a year or sooner, if it turns brown throughout the tube. Sometimes, just the first 1/4 cm will turn brown right at the mouth of the tube but the rest will be fine. 


I’m guessing that if you use a light scrub on the area a couple of times, that yellowish color will disappear.   


Hope this helps,  Dr. I


Learn more about Understanding Pigment Problems.  

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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