Hydroquinone is a bleaching agent that is available in over-the-counter (OTC) medicines that gradually fade dark or brownish skin discolorations such as freckles, age and liver spots, or uneven pigment that may occur during pregnancy or from the use of oral contraceptives. Hydroquinone can be found in skin bleaching treatments that not only lighten dark spots, but also contain sunscreen active ingredients to help prevent darkening from reoccurring.

Hydroquinone is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is safe and effective when used according to the Drug Facts label directions. You should limit your sun exposure while using a skin bleaching treatment containing hydroquinone. If you do not notice any improvement after three months, stop using the medicine.

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  • Skin irritation becomes severe.
  • There is no improvement after three months of treatment.
  • You accidentally swallow the medicine. Immediately contact a healthcare provider or the poison control national helpline at 800.222.1222.
  • Do not use a skin bleaching treatment containing hydroquinone on a child under the age of 12 unless a healthcare provider tells you to.
  • Click here for more information on giving OTCs to children.