Hydroquinone is the gold standard treatment in skincare for stubborn hyperpigmentation. It is a skin-lightening agent that bleaches the skin.
However, like all skincare treatments, especially ones that are this intense on the skin, there are other routine practices that you should follow to help minimize potential side effects and maximize the benefits.
One such practice is moisturizing. So how do you moisturize when using hydroquinone?
When Do You Moisturize While Using Hydroquinone
It is best to use a moisturizer after you apply your hydroquinone.
Hydroquinone can be drying for the skin. It decreases the moisture content in the skin, which is why one of the side effects is dryness and even sometimes peeling or flaking.
By using your moisturizer after applying the hydroquinone, you can effectively replace moisture in your skin to keep it hydrated and prevent your skin from becoming too dry and irritated.
Related Article: Hydroquinone For Dark Underarms – How to Use & Side Effects
How to Apply Hydroquinone
After you have cleansed your skin, apply your hydroquinone and let it dry.
Wash your hands to make sure you get the hydroquinone off of them before applying any other products anywhere else on your skin.
Then, apply your moisturizer as you usually would. Let that absorb into your skin and then apply your sunscreen. This is very important!
How Long to Wait Between Applying Your Moisturizer after Hydroquinone
When applying hydroquinone and moisturizer you should wait at least 5-10 minutes between applications.
Generally, since different people may be applying different amounts of hydroquinone and on differently sized areas, experts recommend that you wait until your skin is completely dry after applying the hydroquinone. This means that the product has had time to absorb well into the skin.
After your skin has dried, wash your hands and apply your moisturizer. Let that absorb into your skin and then apply your SPF.
What Kinds Of Moisturizers to Use with Hydroquinone
Since hydroquinone is already an intense treatment, I recommend keeping your moisturizer simple.
The best moisturizer to use with hydroquinone is hyaluronic acid or one that contains hyaluronic acid in it. You can also benefit from ingredients like B vitamins and ceramides which help to strengthen your skin’s moisture barrier.
Moisturizers that contain Hyaluronic acid, from my personal experience and research, are the most effective. Especially when dealing with very strong treatments such as hydroquinone.
What Kind of Moisturizer to Avoid with Hydroquinone
Avoid any moisturizer with harsh ingredients like retinol, salicylic acid, or other exfoliants as these will be too much for your skin to handle when combined with the hydroquinone that is already there.
Additionally, avoid using niacinamide with hydroquinone. Now don’t get me wrong niacinamide is a great ingredient in moisturizers, it has a similar effect on the skin as hydroquinone. The difference is in how they work:
Hydroquinone prevents the conversion of tyrosine to melanin by competitively inhibiting tyrosinase, whilst niacinamide prevents the transfer of melanosomes from melanocytes to keratinocytes. So using the two together may also be too much for your skin.
Best Moisturizers to Use with Hydroquinone
1- CETAPHIL Daily Hydrating Lotion
This lotion’s main ingredient is hyaluronic acid but also has other moisturizers to keep the skin hydrated and supple. It is oil-free, fragrance-free, hypoallergenic, and designed to be effective yet non-irritating.
Even though this says it’s for your face, it can be used on any small part of the body where you have put hydroquinone.
2- CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
This lotion can be used on the face and the body. It contains hyaluronic acid and ceramides in a lightweight, non-greasy formula. It is also oil-free, fragrance-free, and hypoallergenic. It works well on normal to very dry skin.
3- Neutrogena Hydro Boost Moisturizer with SPF
This moisturizer’s main ingredient is hyaluronic acid which is said to provide all-day hydration to the skin. Additionally, it has SPF 50 Helioplex sunscreen, which provides all skin tones with undetectable broad-spectrum UVA/UVB protection.
The formulation is hypoallergenic, fast-absorbing, non-greasy, non-comedogenic (won’t clog pores), and free of dyes, parabens, mineral oil, and oxybenzone.
Other Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can You Mix Hydroquinone With Moisturizer?
If hydroquinone is too harsh on your skin, you can mix it with some moisturizer to dilute it.
However, you should do this under the guidance of your doctor or skincare professional.
You need to make sure the moisturizer you are using does not have ingredients that will affect the way hydroquinone will work and that it does not have irritating ingredients.
Related Article: Can You Use Hydroquinone for Under-Eye Circles & Wrinkles
Will Hydroquinone Work Over Moisturizer?
Hydroquinone will still work if you apply it over your moisturizer, but the moisturizer will not be so effective when you do so.
What I mean is that since hydroquinone reduces the moisture from your skin, it will reduce the effect of the moisturizer so you will need to reapply some again after applying the Hydroquinone.
To avoid wasting your moisturizer, I recommend just applying it afterward.
Can You Use Oils To Moisturize While Using Hydroquinone?
You can use oils to moisturize after using hydroquinone but avoid oils with harsh ingredients.
Use gentle, hydrating oils. Do not use oils that are specifically used for treating hyperpigmentation, or that are exfoliating on the skin. Focus on hydrating the skin and nothing else.
However, if you are acne-prone, I do not recommend using oils to hydrate your face and skin.
Can You Skip Moisturizer When Using Hydroquinone?
I do not recommend skipping your moisturizer when using hydroquinone.
Even if you have well-hydrated skin at the beginning of the treatment, after a while, your skin will become dry.
If you do not replace the moisture in your skin as you continue the treatment, your skin’s moisture barrier will become too dry and damaged. This may lead to more skin injury and hyperpigmentation, which is the opposite of what we want.
Video: Body Hub – What a good moisturizer can do for your face