Thursday , 18 August 2022

Catastrophic effects of hydroquinone and its metabolites on skin

Y. SARATH*, M.V.S.lallith kumar, K. Siva, Y.N.S. Sujitha, K. Prasanthi
B.Pharmacy, Narayana pharmacy college, chintareddypalem, Nellore, Andhrapradesh, INDIA
E-mail: [email protected]

Skin bleaching refers to the use of synthetic or natural substances on normal skin with the intent of achieving a lighter skin tone. Hydroquinone is a hypo pigmenting agent. Hydroquinone is generally considered a harmless substance but prolong use leads to serious health risk, hydroquinone can cause serious irritation of the skin. it is also  a possible carcinogen(to induce benign neoplasm’s in the kidneys of male F344 rats), Metabolites of hydroquinone formed in the liver, e.g., p-benzoquinone and glutathione conjugates of hydroquinone, are mainly responsible for this. In the bone marrow, hydroquinone is oxidized into p-benzoquinone because of the high myeloperoxidase activity. Topically applied hydroquinone-containing creams may give rise to accumulation of these compounds, which can cause DNA damage and mutations. They also have the capability to disrupt protective mechanisms, whereby they facilitate further development of cancer. In the bone marrow, long-term effects such as aplastic anemia and acute myeloid leukemias may occur.
Because of hydroquinone’s action on the skin, it can be irritant, particularly in higher concentrations of 4% or greater so it is combined with “ tretinoin” Dermatologists, general practitioners, and plastic surgeons have overlooked  the large body of evidence about the long term effects of hydroquinone leading to carcinogenesis
Key words:  skin lightening, hypo-pigmentintagent,carcinogenesis, hydroquinone, toxicity
Hydroquinone is generally considered a harmless substance, but we are of the opinion that it is a potential time bomb. It has been shown to induce reversible hypo pigmentation in man and animals. This is most likely caused by melanocyte destruction, decreased melanosome formation, altered melanosome structure, increased melanosome degradation, and destruction of membranous organelles. it has nevertheless been used for decades in skin lightening formulations for the treatment of hyper pigmentation Acute side effects are not uncommon, especially irritance responses and contac dermatitis to hydroquinone.
Prescription as a medicine is still permitted, despite the fact that hydroquinone has been shown to be a carcinogen and is nephrotoxic in animal studies The annual production of hydroquinone was 35 000 ons per year About 0.05% (= 17 500 kg) of the hydroquinone manufactured was used in skin lightening creams. This constitutes 30 million 30-g tubes of 2% hydroquinone cream or 15 million 30-g tubes of 4% hydroquinone cream To obtain a clearer view, a literature study was conducted to identify the mechanisms that could explain the potential carcinogenicity of hydroquinone when applied dermally The initial focus of this article is on the toxicodynamics. Health risks related to the carcinogens of benzene and Hydroquinone.
Health risk
DNA damage caused by hydroquinone The carcinogenity of benzene is attributed to its hydroquinone and p-benzoquinone, to covalently bond with DNA and the induction of DNA oxidation via redoxcycling, resulting in the generation of reactive oxygen species (rao)
Described p-benzoquinone as having the ability to cause the following changes:
single strand DNA breaks in vitro
suppression of granulocyte/monocyte colony formation
inhibition of DNA/RNA synthesis
inhibition of microtubular polymerization
nitrogen stimulation and inhibition of lymphocyte growth    
Whereas much attention has been paid to the possible hazards of hydroquinone in the work situation, where the route of entrance is mostly via the lungs, and painstaking measures were taken to lower the risk of exposure in industrial sections, hydroquinone as a cosmetic is still freely obtainable in large parts of as a cosmetic is still freely obtainable in large parts of the world, despite the fact that it was banned in many countries. As a prescription formulation for skin lightening, there are no regulations as to maximum allowable dosages. When dermally applied, hydroquinone is rapidly absorbed by blood and is excreted slowly. The liver is partially circumvented, therefore less detoxification takes place, and more will be metabolized in other organs, particularly the bone marrow. When hydroquinone is applied for a longer period of time, higher concentrations in the body can build up, resulting in more carcinogenous metabolites. Currently, the long-term effects of hydroquinone such as nephrotoxicity and carcinogenity have only been demonstrated in animal experiments. Benzene-induced leukemia develops in the bone marrow. Its metabolites The long-term risks of skin malignancy from topical hydroquinone should no longer be ignored. All recent evidence from the literature indicates that the use of hydroquinone as a skin lightening agent should be stopped completely.
I sincerely thanks to Mr. D. RAMESH sir, for giving his valuable guidance
Dermatologists, general practitioners, and plastic surgeons have overlooked  the large body of evidence about the longterm effects of hydroquinone leading to carcinogenesis This is risky as they may be held responsible in the future for having prescribed topical applications containing hydroquinone.
Scroll To Top