Skin Whitening Alternative to Hydroquinone
Written by Courtney Grant
There are a multitude of reasons why someone may want to lighten their skin. However, whatever your reason is, it is important to ensure you are using a safe and effective product. The best way to ensure this, is to choose a solution with the right ingredients.
Hydroquinone is the “gold standard” of skin whitening ingredients used to treat darker spots, forms of hyperpigmentation and melasma. It occurs naturally in fruits, coffee and beer, and works by inhibiting the activity or tyrosinase (enzyme that controls the creation of melanin) and increasing the cytotoxicity of melanocytes (cells that produce melanin).
Considering how effective hydroquinone is, why are people so adverse to it? The disadvantages of hydroquinone include:
- Skin irritation
- UV radiation exposure is increased
- Sensitivity to sunlight is increased
- Damage to pigment cells – increased risks of getting hyperpigmentation with long-term use
- Thick, leathery, and bumpy skin
- Considered toxic to cells
- (Although rare) can cause exogenous ochronosis – turns your skin a bluish black colour with long term use
For these reasons, hydroquinone has been banned in many countries across Europe and Asia. It should only ever be used as a last resort, when you have exhausted all your options. Therefore, you should be looking for alternatives for whitening your skin.
A fantastic alternative to hydroquinone is Tetrahydrocurcumin. Tetrahydrocurcumin is derived from the curcuma longa plant, and is a much more natural and safe alternative. It “efficiently inhibits tyrosinase and is more effective than Kojic acid, arbutin and Vitamin C, which are used as natural depigmenting agents”. Studies have found the following benefits from using it topically:
- Significant melanin inhibition
- Safe and nontoxic
- Improved levels of collagen
- Improved UV protection rate
- Helps fight aging appearance of the skin by improving skin elasticity and tightness
- Helps wound healing
Our Neutriderm ‘Skin Whitening Crème’ is a great product containing Tetrahydrocurcumin. It inhibits 88% of tyrosinase formation, which is the highest of any tyrosinase inhibitor. This reduces dark spot size and colour depth, and restores natural skin colour and tone. All while hydrating and softening the skin. This is the perfect product for whitening your skin safely and efficiently.