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[Link Removed] , is indicated for the treatment of hyperpigmentation or patches of dark skin (sun damage, age spots, uneven tone and post-inflammatory pigmentation). As far as medications go, hydroquinone is one of the most effective therapies for the management of hyperpigmentation.

Hydroquinone is thought to work in a few ways:

1. It inhibits the tyrosinase enzyme, which is necessary for the synthesis of melanin.

2. It might possibly inhibit a protein associated with melanin synthesis.

3. Some researchers claim that it denatures the melanin-protein complex, causing a decoloration of the skin.

 Yes, Lustra Cream (and other hydroquinone formulations) are effective, but you may be concerned about their safety, which is widely discussed online. A number of issues have been raised:

 1.Ochrononis. A bluish/black discoloration of the skin that may occur with using hydroquinone. It's important to keep in mind that this is a very rare side effect and has only been witnessed in a handful of cases amongst individuals using hydroquinone. Reported cases involved individuals using it long term with very high doses (8% or more). It is thought that the products may have been adulterated with dangerous ingredients such as mercury and steroids.

 2.Carcinogenicity. Rats injected with large doses of hydroquinone developed cancer. However, there have been no concerns raised with topical use either in animals or humans.

 3.Leukemia. The link is not for hydroquinone but rather for benzene, which can be metabolized into hydroquinone. And, in any case, the amount of hydroquinone used in studies that suggest an association with leukemia are somewhat larger than the amounts used in topical skin lightening products.

 4.Skin Sensitivity. As with any topical preparation, Lustra Cream carries the risk of skin irritation. For this reason, do a patch test first and discontinue use if excessive redness, itching or burning occur.

Practical experience shows that skin irritation is likely the largest safety risk associated with hydroquinone. And, while you will read a lot about other associated risks, there is little evidence to back it up.

Hydroquinone is often combined with other ingredients to enhance its effectiveness. Find it with glycolic acid and Vitamin C in Lustra Cream. Clinicians often recommend using it in conjunction with a retinoid (as in [Link Removed] ) as well which enhances its effectiveness. In order to reduce the potential for side effects, skin care professionals may recommend that you use hydroquinone in a cyclic fashion – on for four months and off for two – repeat cycle. If you are concerned at all, check in with your dermatologist.

The risk of side effects are small if hydroquinone products are used wisely – concentrations of 4% or less; in a cyclic fashion; careful attention.  However, if after reading this post you are still concerned about using hydroquinone or unable to tolerate its use topically consider alternative skin lightening agents such as:

 •[Link Removed] ),

 •Alpha Hydroxy Acids such as [Link Removed] 

Lustra Cream and Lustra AF Cream (includes sunscreen) may be found at PharmacyMix.

Sharmani Pillay is a Registered Pharmacist who specializes in anti-aging skin care and women's wellness. She owns and operates an online skin care store at [Link Removed].
For a limited time, Fabulously 40 members save 5% off all purchases. Code fab40 at checkout.

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