Hydroquinone is a compound that can block the creation of melanin in our skin. Melanin is what creates color tone in human skin. When there is an excess of melanin production, we end up with darker or discolored skin. This is why hydroquinone creams are one of the most popular solutions to skin issues like hyperpigmentation, melasma, pigmented scars, freckles, liver spots, sun spots, dark spots or age spots. Since there are a lot of anti-pigmentation and bleaching products out there, we decided to help you find the best hydroquinone cream over the counter for your skin by reviewing 10 top selling Amazon products, with positive reviews.
10. Melloderm Anti-Melasma Hydroquinone 2% Cream
If you suffer from conditions like melasma or freckles, this cream is specifically designed for you. It is a night cream, and daily application can see results within a matter of weeks. Hydroquinone is the single key ingredient in this cream from Melloderm. Since this is an OTC medication, the intensity of the hydroquinone has been kept lower, at 2%. Even at that potency, this cream is not a great option if you have hypersensitive skin. Hydroquinone creams like these are also not suitable for skin areas with sunburns. If your skin is sensitive from the use of hair-removal treatments, you should not apply this cream.
9. Crusader Skin Lightening Cream, Regular Formula
This is a general skin lightening cream aimed at women who want lighter skin tones. It has a potent bleaching effect, due to the presence of 2% hydroquinone in the formula. Along with the active ingredient, this Crusader cream also contains a special compound called Escalol 507. This is a powerful sunscreen, and its inclusion in a skin whitening cream makes perfect sense. Now, when you wear this cream, not only does it reduce the melanin in your skin, it also ensures that sun exposure doesn’t reverse its effects, for visible results within weeks of regular use.
8. Divine Derriere Skin Lightening 2% Hydroquinone Bleaching Cream
Unlike the two products that we have reviewed so far on our list of the best hydroquinone cream over the counter brands, Divine Derriere does not depend on a single active ingredient. This is still a 2% hydroquinone cream, but the formula also contains 6% glycolic acid and lactic acid. There are peptides and herbal extracts in it as well. They all combine to ensure a potent whitening and lightening effect on your skin. If you have dark spots, freckles, or melasma anywhere on your body, or if you suffer from hyper-pigmentation, the Divine Derriere cream is the perfect antidote. The cream is available in a special vacuum airless jar, with a very sophisticated delivery system.
7. Black and White Bleach Cream
This is a typical bleaching cream for your skin, armed with the melatonin killing power of hydroquinone. If you have issues related to uneven complexion or blemishes on your skin, this cream is a good choice. It does not contain any other major ingredients. The sole active ingredient is hydroquinone, available in a moderate strength of 2%. This cream is available in a simple tube and packaging, with minimal marketing gimmicks. It is a made-in-USA product, and has a reliable whitening action on your skin. As long as you don’t suffer from hypersensitivity or injuries in the affected area, this is a safe hydroquinone cream that lightens and brightens your skin.
6. Clinicians Complex 6% Skin Bleaching Cream
If you feel like the 2% strength creams are not going to take care of your discoloration issues, this ultra-strong cream from Clinicians Complex might be what you need. It has 6% active ingredient strength, even if hydroquinone is still at 2%. The inclusion of kojic acid and bearberry extracts at 2% potency each ensures a stronger cream. All three are proven agents that can help lighten your complexion. This cream is perfect for removing sun spots and age spots. It also does a great job of removing melasma, freckles, and pigmented scars. For maximum results, you should apply it twice on a daily basis in addition to wearing sunscreen SPF 30 or higher every day.
Bonus read: 10 Best Sunscreens You Will Love
5. Emma Cardinelli Skin Lightening 2% Hydroquinone Bleaching Cream
This cream claims to be the strongest non-prescription OTC skin lightening treatment, despite only containing the bog standard 2% hydroquinone potency. So, how do they manage to stay above the competition? This is probably due to the inclusion of 6% glycolic acid, along with vitamins. They help reduce discoloration and hyperpigmentation, and can effectively remove age spots, sun spots, freckles, and melasma. This is a cream that can be applied every day, at night, for effective results; you can expect the discoloration to disappear in a matter of weeks. It is safe for use on face, neck, chest, but also on armpits, back, knees, elbows, inner thighs, and sensitive private areas.
4. Esoterica Nighttime Fade Cream
This is a capable, dual-action cream from Esoterica, with moisturizing and skin tone lightening effects. If you suffer from uneven complexion, blemishes, dark areas or freckles, this is a great option, with a palpable hydrating effect. Thanks to the moisturization this cream offers, it can be a great option if you also suffer from excessively dry skin. Since it is light and nongreasy, it can also be used under your regular makeup. This is a potent night cream that can be applied all over your body, depending on where your need its impact the most. 2% hydroquinone is the main active ingredient.
3. Alpha Hydrox Spot Light Targeted Skin Lightener
If you are unsure about which skin lightening cream to use for your particular skin type, then Alpha Hydrox is the best hydroquinone cream over the counter for you. It is the best hydroquinone cream over the counter suitable for all skin types, including regular, dry, oily, and combination. Along with 2% hydroquinone, this cream also contains 10% glycolic acid, which gives it more potency than some of the other creams we have reviewed here. For a healing and rejuvenating effect, this anti-wrinkle cream also contains Vitamin E and moisturizers. It can boost collagen levels in your skin, helping it retain its youthful vigor.
2. Porcelain Skin Whitening Serum
This is a potent cream for melasma and hyperpigmentation, with the focused impact of three proven ingredients. Along with hydroquinone, it contains kojic acid and glycolic acid, to remove melanin and lighten your skin. As if that was not enough, this serum also incorporates into its formula herbal extracts like licorice and mulberry, to boost its nourishing effects on your skin. As this is an OTC medication, the serum contains only 2% hydroquinone. It works extremely well at removing freckles, melasma, age spots, acne scars, and uneven skin tone.
1. Admire My Skin 2% Hydroquinone Fade Cream Dark Spot Corrector
Admire My Skin lives up to its promise of eliminating imperfections like dark spots and freckles. That is why it earns the title of the best hydroquinone cream over the counter. Like all other creams on this list, this one too contains 2% hydroquinone, in compliance with US FDA rules for OTC creams. This is a night cream that can deliver results within four weeks of regular use. Along with hydroquinone, this melasma treatment fade cream also contains salicylic acid, azelaic acid, lactic acid, and Vitamin C. This combination of ingredients provides a potent action against dark spots, melasma, hyperpigmentation, fine lines, and wrinkles.
The best hydroquinone cream over the counter can only contain 2% of the active ingredient, as per rules and regulations. So, the best products try to add more active ingredients like glycolic acid to boost the effect of hydroquinone on your skin. Do you like hydroquinone, or are you worried about its side effects on hypersensitive skin? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. Don’t forget to also share with us your pick of the best hydroquinone cream over the counter.