A Safer Alternative For Treating Brown Patches On The Skin


Stubborn brown spots, sun spots, and brown patches on the skin are a concern for many, and while there are topical skin care products that can help to encourage their fading, one in particular is not without controversy. Hydroquinone is a commonly used skin bleaching agent that inhibits Tyrosinase, an enzyme involved in producing pigment. The controversy around Hydroquinone revolves around redness and skin irritation, but some reports have shown it as possibly causing liver cancer and leukemia in rats. Countries such as Europe, South Africa, and Japan have banned its use, but in the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) still considers it safe and it is commonly prescribed by dermatologists.

While I generally support the FDA, and have seen the positive impact it can make in reducing these stubborn brown spots for many of my clients, I do understand people’s concern in wanting to find a natural, less controversial solution. Adding to the controversy, the Texas Attorney General’s office has made one known Hydroquinone maker remove all their products using this ingredient from the shelves of spas and medical offices. So, for those who live in Texas, Hydroquinone may be harder to access. This also has happened in the state of Florida.

For a Hydroquinone-free alternative, look for products that contain high concentrations of Magnesium Ascorbyl Phosphate, Kojic Acid, and Licorice Extract (Glycyrrhiza glabra), which can help inhibit melanin production…

My Vitamin C&E Treatment has been hugely beneficial for our clients in fading stubborn brown spots, sun spots and even discoloration due to hormones and pregnancy and it’s hydroquinone-free! It’s suggested to use underneath a daytime sunscreen, 365 days a year to suppress melanin activity. (We call it a “glow in a bottle.”)

Read: How Deep Are Your Sun Spots?

Read: Seeing Brown Spots? You’ll Be Surprised At One Of The Causes

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take the Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

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Renée Rouleau

Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”