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Hydroquinone works to lighten the skin by reducing the number of melanocytes present. Melanocytes are the cells in your skin that generate pigmentation and define the color of your skin. In certain skin disorders, melanocytes may work overtime, darkening skin or patches of skin. Hydroquinone comes in OTC and prescription varieties. If home use of the substance does not work effectively, a dermatologist can prescribe a stronger variety.
Hydroquinone is particularly effective at treating skin conditions that have left scarring or hyperpigmentation on the skin, including melasma, acne scarring, age spots and sun damage. Some patients may wish to use hydroquinone to reduce the appearance of freckles as well. The topical cream is also useful in alleviating the appearance of post-inflammatory marks that result from psoriasis or eczema.