11 Best Hydroquinone Creams Reviews And Ratings


Freckles, acne scars, hyperpigmentation, age spots, blotches, etc are caused by skin trauma, injuries, usage of birth control pills, pregnancy, hormonal imbalance, or hormone replacement therapies, and one of the best measures that a curb these is the skin lightening cream. As the term suggests, skin lightening creams are used to repair the damaged or affected area and subsequently lighten the skin tone by bleaching action.

Before we get to the concept of hydroquinone creams, we must state that if you want to quickly know the best hydroquinone cream on our list, then it’s the Zenmed Skin Eraser Kit and Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum. Most hydroquinone products are notorious for their side effects such as a sensation of burning. But these 2 products are a class apart from the rest and comes with no side effects whatsoever. It is undoubtedly the best and the safest hydroquinone creams available.

Best Hydroquinone Creams – Editors Pick:

Zenmed Skin Eraser Kit (BEST RATED)Buy Now
PCA Skin Pigment GelBuy Now
Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening SerumBuy Now
DCL Skin Care AHA Lightening GelBuy Now

These creams help in cleansing and purifying the skin at a deep-rooted level and eliminating the already present blemishes and spots, thereby paving the way for repaired and healthy skin. This action is achieved by the presence of a component known as hydroquinone.

Hydroquinone cream: what is it?

Hydroquinone is a chemical compound used to lighten the skin tone. Hydroquinone has shown effective results in the treatment of hyperpigmentation. Because of its depigmenting properties, it is widely used in the cosmetic industry as skin lightening agents in cream, serum, lotion, etc. clinically it is approved that 2% to 4% concentration of hydroquinone is safe to be applied on the skin directly. In the local drugstore, 2% hydroquinone is sold over the counter. Generally, hydroquinone is safe to use but in rare cases, it causes irritation, redness, dryness, and mild rashes.  

What Is Hydroquinone 4% Cream? Why It is Named 4% Cream?

Hydroquinone, chemically called 1,4 dihydroxybenzene, is the chief component of skin lightening creams that helps in the bleaching action. Each gram of a skin lightening cream contains 40 gm of hydroquinone among other components that make up a skin cream such as alcohol, glycerin, sodium hydroxide, purified water, etc.

Because of the 40 gm per gram of cream occurrence of hydroquinone, skin lightening creams may more appropriately be called hydroquinone 4% creams and it is the approved percentage for these creams.

Any percentage of hydroquinone beyond the prescribed percentage of 4% would make the skin lightening cream inappropriate and you would need a specialized medical prescription from a professional medical practitioner to get the product

Nonetheless, percentages of 4% and less (typically around 2%) can be safely brought from the market without a medical prescription.

Hydroquinone is an excellent partner to other components and it meshes very well with them to help in the treatment of your skin. The hydroquinone containing products are known to not just erase the prior existing effects of pigmentation and other skin issues, but also do its bit in avoiding further damage to the skin.

Your skin is bound to not just repair itself from the earlier damage, but also look supple and rejuvenated while protecting itself from any further damage. Hence, the manufacturers of these products keep the past, present, and future in mind!

Taking this into consideration, we have soared through all the 4% hydroquinone creams available and have come up with the 11 best hydroquinone 4% products that you can get for yourself. Rest assured, these skin lightening products are safe to use and are arguably the best you can get from the vast domain of skin lightening agents that contain anywhere from 2-4% of hydroquinone.

How Hydroquinone cream works:

 On applying hydroquinone on the skin, the activity of tyrosine is inhabited converting tyrosine to dihydroxyphenylalanine eventually breaking down melanocytes i.e decreasing the production of melamine which as results lighten your skin.

How to use Hydroquinone cream:

Hydroquinone acts as a bleach or skin lightening agent. Hydroquinone cream lightens skin, dark spots, scars, and treats hyperpigmentation areas within 4 weeks of regular use. It takes approximately 4 weeks of regular use of hydroquinone cream to get visible results. Since hydroquinone shows reversal signs of skin lightening on exposure to the sun, we recommend you use hydroquinone cream with sunscreen on a daily basis to get much better and effective results. 

In this article, we will review the best hydroquinone creams available in the market so that you can find you right pick

The 11 best Hydroquinone Creams

1. Zenmed Skin Eraser Kit

The Zenmed skin eraser kit consists of a twofold system of a complex and a serum which work together to erase the effects of hyperpigmentation, skin darkening, scars, spots etc. The twofold system involves the following:

  • The Renewing Dermabrasion Complex is used to take out the layers of skin which your skin no longer needs. This complex is made up of mineral-rich clay and is preferably used before the treatment as it not only allows quick exfoliation but also helps in better absorption of the active ingredients. This complex is available in 120 ml.
  • The Skincorrect+ lightening serum helps to eradicate dark spots and repair damage caused by the sun. In addition, this serum contains acids that also help in the absorption of the active ingredients. Dark spots are lightened to a remarkable extent. This serum is available in 30 ml.

This product can be used for a multitude of skin problems such as acne, freckles, and hyperpigmentation due to hormonal changes. In addition, this kit can also be used to remove scars but this aspect is not a widely popular one.

The Zenmed skin eraser kit is a triple acid exfoliating agent that consists of three acids: ascorbic, glycolic, and lactic acid. These three acids work together to provide a peeling effect that you usually get from professional skincare experts.

One of the best aspects of this kit is that it is not tested on animals and is free from petrochemicals. This makes the product more attractive and helps it gain a wider pool of customers that also includes vegans.

The combination of the ascorbic, glycolic, and lactic may tend to irritate the skin, so it is advised to test a little amount of the kit before you adopt it for regular usage. Once that is taken care of, the Zenmed skin eraser kit is the best skin lightening cream with a safe amount of hydroquinone at just 2%.  It is best to use this product in the evening or at night.

In a nutshell, the Zenmed skin eraser is definitely one of the safer and better skin lightening cream options out there and it is difficult to resist a product which provides two products in one kit.

2. Murad Rapid Age Spot and Pigment Lightening Serum

This product contains a typically higher percentage of hydroquinone and has the maximum level of hydroquinone of any product available at the counter (and which does not require a medical prescription).

In addition, this also contains an advanced skin lightening peptide: Hexapeptide-2. This peptide works with the hydroquinone to create a strong serum that rigorously works on pigmentation issues and also makes sure that there are lower chances of the development of future pigmentation.

This serum is applicable on all skin types and as already mentioned, it contains the highest concentration of hydroquinone of any available from a prescription. So this is the best bet for all the hydroquinone enthusiasts.

The serum contains the traditional glycolic acid that helps to remove dead skin cells that make the skin dull. This aids in revitalizing your skin and give it a fresh and supple look. It further facilities the absorption of active ingredients which penetrate deep and provide fascinating results.

It has a gel like structure that helps in the uniform distribution of the serum over the skin. Plus, it is not sticky or gooey despite its gel like consistency. You can apply the skin over your entire face or just focus on the affected areas. It takes a week or two for the spots to start diminishing and in a span of a month, your spots would cease to exist anymore. So yes, it does take some time to show results but it is effective nonetheless.

However, not much serum is needed per usage. Due to its high composition f hydroquinone, a small amount of it would e more than enough to serve the purpose. One of the biggest USPs of this amazing product is that the serum does not irritate sensitive skin. But do pay heed to the fact that if you are sensitive to hydroquinone, then this product is not for you. It should also be noted that this serum contains alcohol.

The serum has a strong chemical scent and this is due to the presence of the peptide. But since you are applying only a minor quantity per usage, it won’t be much of a bother.

This serum should typically be your final step as a part of your nigh skincare schedule. You can apply around half a pump of this serum after the administration of the toner and moisturizer and that would suffice. This product is formulated without parabens, sulfates, gluten and phthalates, so you can have no worries about any side-effects on your skin.

3. Vivier Advanced Skin Lightening Serum

The Vivier Advanced skin lightening serum offers you the benefits of 2 in 1: it is not just a skin lightening serum as its name suggests, but it also couples up as an anti-aging serum. The skin lightening characteristics of this serum helps in toning down the skin damage caused by the sun and other environmental factors while also successfully dealing with freckles and melasma. The anti-aging characteristics of the serum help in smoothing down wrinkles and inducing better evenness of the skin.

The product contains L-ascorbic acid USP which is technically pharmaceutical grade Vitamin C. This is the highest grade of Vitamin C that you can get out of a beauty product and it helps in the gradual lightening of dark spots. Vitamin C is well known for its skincare prowess.

It is widely recognized as a powerful antioxidant that boosts the production of collagen: the main structural block of protein that is made up of several amino acids and takes up the extracellular space in the skin’s connective tissue.

It is also the most abundant form of protein in humans, taking up to 35% of the protein content in the entire body. It also improves the texture of the skin and makes it supple. It is of no wonder that most face washes and face masks come in lemon or orange forms!

The hydroquinone content is the traditional 2%, and the combined effect of the hydroquinone and Vitamin C concentration is super effective in literally making dark spots and blemishes disappear. On a physical basis, the hydroquinone comes in a liquid gel base containing the ascorbic acid. This product is applicable to all skin types as it boasts of being hypoallergenic and does not contain any alcohol.

It is very light in weight and has no oily consistency despite being a serum. And needless to say, it does not contain any traces of parabens, sulfates, gluten, and phthalates. The lack of any such additives (especially alcohol) and the wonderful feeling of the product on your skin makes it a very attractive skin lightening serum.

Even if you have followed pigmentation procedures such as laser treatment or SkinTx, you can still use the Vivier Advanced skin lightening serum safely and without any sort of worry. You can also use this product safely in case you cannot tolerate the long term usage of Retinoids.

The serum is extremely fast absorbing, so you do not have to worry about any layer of the serum persisting on the surface of your skin. This is surely one of the best skin lightening serums you can find!

4. PCA Skin Pigment Gel

PCA Skin Pigment Gel

The PCA skin pigment gel is an amazing skincare product and is very effective against hyperpigmentation and dark spot caused on the skin. This gel can be applied to all skin types and has a 2% hydroquinone composition.

This gel is formulated with the following components:

  • Hydroquinone: It is present in a 2% composition and is the chief component behind the lightening of the skin and preventing future hyperpigmentation.
  • Phenylethyl resorcinol: This is an antioxidant that helps to promote an even distribution of skin tone throughout the surface area.
  • Kojic acid: This is another component that helps to establish an even skin tone as one man (read phenylethyl resorcinol) is not enough for the job! Furthermore, it helps in inhibiting the excessive production of melanin in the skin.
  • Azelaic acid: This component helps in establishing a clear complexion.
  • Citric acid: It helps in maintaining a healthy pH balance of the skin.

These potent ingredients are proven to lighten the skin and with such popular backing, it is very easily available from the official website. Once again, this product is not tested on animals and can thus be safely used by vegans.

It is enriched with antioxidants and AHAs. AHAs go a long way in exfoliating the skin, reducing wrinkles and fine lines and make your skin shiny, radiant and toned.

5.Black and White Bleaching Cream

The Black and White bleaching cream comes in a convenient tube and is a genuine cream that can be used on all parts of the body. The cream contains 2% hydroquinone and it works by decreasing the production of melanin by the skin. The application of the cream helps in inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin.

So the cream works very effectively in lightening the skin, whether discolored or not. Hence, care has to be taken to apply the cream to only those areas which are affected by pigmentation and not on normal skin.

Before you resort to using this cream on a daily basis, it is recommended to test for skin sensitivity and reaction to the cream by applying the skin to a small patch. If you do not get any adverse reaction within 24 hours, you can use the product regularly. It also does not interfere with the functioning of other agents such as moisturizers or toners. At the same time, even those agents don’t interfere with this cream. It takes around two to three weeks for the results to show.

One of the most noteworthy points of this product is that it is a cream. Creams have a consistency that helps it spread around your skin smoothly. Plus, creams do not drip. This helps in minimal wastage of the cream and you can focus on the affected areas alone without fear of the cream spreading to the normal areas of the skin.

Last but not the least; the cream conceals the area you have applied it on better than serums do. It is not greasy and can be applied to your skin before you go outside.

However, you should take into consideration the fact that not much info is available about the ingredients that constitute the Black and White bleaching cream. It is a common occurrence to have an acne breakout when you do not use the cream correctly. So, if you have sensitive skin, you should test the cream properly before starting to use it regularly.

That said, this product is known to yield results and it does so sooner than many of the other hydroquinone products available in the market. The usual 2 percentage of hydroquinone makes it a safe bet among people who are suffering from pigmentation issues.

6. Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener

Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener

Another effective skin lightening cream is here for us; Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener. It is one of the best skin lightener creams in the market. Its superiority in skin treatment and maintenance comes from the ingredients that it has. Hydroquinone, Glycolic AHA, and Vitamin E are its primary ingredients. All these ingredients directly guarantee quality skin health.

They assure a skin free from any discoloration and/or dark colors. This is the reason that our skin brightness and freedom from all sorts of skin discolorations; acne marks, age spots, liver spots, sunburns, freckles, melasma are sure results with Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener.

The lightening and discoloration results from Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener are a result of the functions that all its ingredients have in our skins.

Starting with hydroquinone, it inhibits melanin synthesis. Melanin is the reason behind increased skin darkening and discoloration then brighter and spotless skins come along with the reduced melanin synthesis in the skin.

The vitamin E ingredient, on the other hand, has a nourishing impact on the skin. It is responsible for skin cleansing and impurities removal. It results in brightened, nourished, and radiant skins. Through Vitamin E, radiant and brighter skin complexion is attained.

Finally, the Glycolic AHA ingredient is responsible for all sorts of lines and wrinkles removal. It thus results in fine, smooth, tender, and shiny skins.

As a matter of fact, Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener makes one of the best skin lightening products. With all these procedural lightening effects by Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener, we now have no reason to have poor skin complexions. We should with an immediate effect take a step and get our skins the beauty they deserve through Alpha Skin Care Dual Action Skin Lightener.

7. MelloDerm HQ-2

The MelloDerm HQ-2 is another cream that is very effective in dealing with erasing blemishes caused by hyperpigmentation. As the name clearly suggests, the cream contains exactly 2% of hydroquinone to grade and comes in at a net weight of 0.25 pounds.

This is again a cream which has its own array of advantages compared to that of serums. It is to be applied once in the night daily for good results and has the benefit of being mixable with a moisturizer. It is a very light cream and blends in very well in the mixture.

It can be applied to all skin types and is gender-neutral. So the benefits of this cream can be experienced both in the relatively rougher and firmer skin of men and the relatively softer and tender skin of women.

The cream works by reducing the production of melanin and also erasing the prior damage done by the excessive secretion of melanin.

The MelloDerm HQ-2 is arguably the best cream for dealing with melasma. Melasma is a very common skin condition wherein brown patches start appearing on the skin. It is chronic in nature and it may last for years together. Melasma is usually caused by the usage of birth control pills, hormonal imbalance, stress, thyroid disease, pregnancy, and exposure to the sun.

The cream is extremely effective in tackling these brown spots and erasing them. Apart from the use of moisturizers, it is highly recommended to use sunscreen during the day. However, you should note that there are reports of puffiness being caused by the incorrect usage of this cream.

So you should carefully test it by applying a small amount of the cream on your skin and letting it be for 24 hours. If any sort of irritation or rashes occur, you should not use this cream at all. Otherwise, feel free to include the MelloDerm HQ-2 cream as a regular partner to your moisturizer.

8. Admire My Skin Brightening Serum

The Admire My Skin brightening serum is one of the most potent and effective hydroquinone serums available out there. It contains the usual 2% concentration of hydroquinone (at the higher end of the 2 percentage) which you can get from the counter without a prescription.

This serum made up of components such as salicylic acid, azelaic acid, lactic acid, Kojic acid, and Vitamin C. These components serve the following functions:

  1. Salicylic acid: It clears away dead skin cells and impurities along with pore-clogging substances from the skin. This helps in reducing acne and provides anti-inflammatory characteristics.
  2. Azelaic acid: This component helps in establishing a clear complexion of the skin.
  3. Lactic acid: The presence of this component helps in hydrating the skin and prevents it from drying up. It also prevents signs of aging and keeps the skin firm by erasing lines and wrinkles.
  4. Kojic acid:  It helps in establishing an even skin tone and also prevents the excessive secretion of melanin.
  5. Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps in stimulating the production of collagen which provides anti-aging characteristics.

These powerful components work together along with the hydroquinone to go a long way in tackling hyperpigmentation. It is so strong that the application of the serum is known to produce a burning sensation. Though this is pretty normal, it is better if you start using this serum by applying it every third day and then gradually build it for more frequent usage.

It is strongly suggested to follow up on the usage of this serum with a good quality moisturizer and apply sunscreen during the day. You should ideally use this serum twice a day and since the various acids present in the serum may tend to promote dryness, it is mandatory to employ the services of a good moisturizer. You may expect to see results within 4 weeks of usage.

However, do base in your mind that this serum should not be used for more than 60 days on a continual basis. You may end up having dry and dull skin if you do so. Take a break of around 30 days after your 60 days of usage, and resume the usage of this serum after this 30 days break.

The Admire My Skin brightening serum comes at a very affordable price and is as effective (if not more) than many of its pricier cousins. It is oil-free and hassle-free, as is made to be non-comedogenic. This means that the application of this serum ensures that there are no blocked pores.

With proper care in following the instructions of usage, this serum proves very effective in tackling the skin issues it is supposed to and leaves your skin in a state wherein you will actually admire your skin more than ever!

9. DCL Skin Care AHA Lightening Gel

This is a strong and effective skin lightening gel that works on a triple-action scheme with its potent concentration of 2% hydroquinone, kojic acid, and glycolic acid.

The high concentration of glycolic acid helps in renewing healthy skin cells and exfoliates the dry dead skin cells, leaving your skin feeling fresh and supple. The glycolic acid stimulates the growth of the cells and also gives your skin a vibrant glow.

The combination of the kojic acid and the hydroquinone acts as a melanin inhibiting agent. This duo works hand in hand to curb the generation of tyrosinase, the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin.

In addition, this potent combination helps in lightening the dark spots and paving the way for protecting the skin against further damage. It is to be noted here that the glycolic acid removes the layer of dead skin cells and grime covering the skin and makes it easier for the hydroquinone and kojic acid combo to do their job.

One of the best parts of using this gel is that you can apply it over the entire face without focusing particularly on the spots that are affected. Or you can also switch to a specific mode of usage by only applying onto the dark spots and reducing them to a remarkable extent.

You should ideally follow up on the usage of this gel with moisturizer in the evening and sunscreen in the morning. You are bound to get results within 6 to 8 weeks of proper usage. Along with the moisturizer and the sunscreen, you can also assist the gel with a conditioner.

The conditioner helps in keeping the skin moisture locked and prevents the dehydration of the skin. In a nutshell, this is one of the best skin lightening agents to deal with discoloration, spot treatment, and aid in establishing an even and smooth skin tone.

10. Ambi Fade Cream

The Ambi Fade cream is one of the best skin lightening creams for hyperpigmentation and it is also supremely effective in establishing clear skin. Along with the patented hydroquinone concentration of 2 percentages, this cream consists of a unique blend of Vitamin E, Alpha hydroxy acid, and sunscreen.

That’s right! This skin lightening creams actually have sunscreen among its host of components. It is a well-known fact that the 2% hydroquinone performs the bleaching action. The functions of the other components are the following:

  • Vitamin E: It is a powerful antioxidant that softens the skin and smoothens it out to a even texture.
  • Alpha hydroxy acid: Also known as AHA, it aids in enhancing the effects of the other components and provides anti-aging characteristics.
  • Sunscreen: The USP of Ambi Fade cream, sunscreen is a part of the composition of this cream and provides enhanced protection of the skin from the harmful UV rays of the sun.

The Ambi Fade cream is one of the most iconic skin lightening creams due to a multitude of reasons. For starters, this product is clinically tested and is proven to not cause any bothersome side effects like most other hydroquinone creams to do.

Consequently, it is easily available and has been maintaining its legacy for well over four decades now. Over the course of these 40+ years, the Ambi Fade cream has bagged several awards. To top it all, it comes at a fairly cheap price in the market.

The only thing which might be a bother to some is the fact that this cream is scented, and a pretty strong one at that. However, you will get used to the scent and it’s actually a pretty decent smelling cream.

The cream is available for both normal and oily skin types and regardless of the type of skin, it takes around 12 weeks to show results. The Ambi Fade cream is undoubtedly one of the best skin lightening creams out there. The lack of side effects and the rich legacy is held naturally makes this product one of the most highly rated ones in the domain of skin lightening creams. You are going to love this cream.

11. Porcelain Skin Whitening Serum

The Porcelain skin whitening serum has a regular composition of 2% hydroquinone along with the ever dependent kojic acid. These two components work together to rid your skin of all the excess melanin and erase not just the dark spots present on the skin but also lighten the skin tone in general.

Apart from the potent combination of 2% hydroquinone and kojic acid, this serum is packed with around 97% natural ingredients which primarily involve licorice and mulberry extracts. These natural ingredients penetrate deep into your skin and nourish it while enriching the overall health of your skin.

They also extensively contribute towards maintaining a fresh and supple tone of the skin. The presence of these natural ingredients makes this serum a more natural solution to your skin problems. This also makes the serum smell pleasant. Huge props to the manufacturers for making this such an attractive and effective product.

In addition, the serum is enriched with glycolic acid and Vitamin C apart from a rich composition of antioxidants which contribute towards making your skin very healthy and soft.

However, like any serum, the Porcelain serum is also prone to giving your skin a burning sensation. This is nothing to spend worry about as it is all a matter of getting used to the serum. So just apply a thin layer of serum on your face every night. In no time, your skin will stop having this burning sensation and get accustomed to the working of the serum. Continue using the serum for 30 days and you are bound to find very satisfying results.

The Porcelain serum is suitable for all skin types and is clinically proven to be a reliable skin lightening serum. It is oil-free and carries no fragrance. This makes the usage of this serum more hassle-free. With the promise of nature tagged along with the trademark hydroquinone, and infused with loads of vitamins and antioxidants, your skin will tend to be as smooth and as clear as Porcelain. This may very well end up being your favorite skincare product!

FAQ’s on Hydroquinone cream


We recommend you purchase zenmed skin erase kit because it offers The Renewing Dermabrasion Complex which removes the dead layers of the skin leaving your skin brighter and a hydroquinone serum with gets absorbs into your skin and treat the skin problems like skin discoloration, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, etc. the price of the product is also pocket friendly and the product’s effectiveness is quite impressive when compared to other products available in the market.