By far the most popular skin whitening agent under the sun, Hydroquinone is also pretty popular in other types of cosmetics, such as moisturizers, hair conditioners or facial cleansers. Controversial like any celebrity should be, this active ingredient works wonders. It is a strong inhibitor of melanin and it’s considered to be the most powerful whitener out there.
While this might be true, there’s also a reverse to that coin. Besides the usual suspects — skin irritation, contact dermatitis, nail pigmentation or discoloration or cataract, the two biggest Hydroquinone-related scares are it’s association with cancer and ochronosis, a condition which is basically the exact opposite of what you’re trying to achieve — instead of whitened skin, you get dark patches which are almost impossible to reverse.