November 29, 1965

Topical Use of Hydroquinone as a Depigmenting Agent

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, and the Dermatological Service, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. Dr. Arndt is now at the Occupational Health Research and Training Facility, Bureau of State Services, Cincinnati.

JAMA. 1965;194(9):965-967. doi:10.1001/jama.1965.03090220021006

Hydroquinone is known to inhibit melanogenesis both in vitro and in vivo. In this study, 2% and 5% hydroquinone creams were topically applied to the hyperpigmented skin of 56 patients. Used in this way, hydroquinone was a moderately effective depigmenting agent in 80% of cases. The 2% cream appeared to be as effective therapeutically as the 5% cream and to evoke untoward side effects (primary irritation) much less often. Therapy with topically applied hydroquinone did not lead to complete disappearance of pathological hypermelanosis, but results were satisfactory enough to help most patients become less self-conscious about their pigmentary abnormalities.