Glycolic Acid vs Hydroquinone to Reverse Sun Damage and Decrease Hyperpigmentation
Glycolic Acid and Hydroquinone have both been regarded as effective ingredients to help lighten hyperpigmentation and reverse sun damage. But which is most effective while still being safe?
Glycolic acid is a natural ingredient derived from sugar cane, though it is now often made synthetically. It falls into the set of ingredients called AHA's, or alpha hydroxy acids. Glycolic acid is probably the most common alpha hydroxy acid and has the reputation of being one of the safest forms of alpha hydroxy acid. Glycolic acid is a common peeling agent used in chemical peels and used at a strength of 30-70%, while over the counter strengths are generally less than 10%. Since glycolic acid is an exfoliator, it safely removes the outer layer of dead skin cells on the surface your skin, bringing fresh new skin to the surface. Perhaps the biggest danger of a glycolic peel is burning the skin at high concentrations.
Hydroquinone is a strong inhibitor of melanin production, meaning that it prevents skin from making the substance responsible for skin color. Hydroquinone does not bleach the skin but lightens it, and can only disrupt the synthesis and production of melanin hyperpigmentation. Despite its effectiveness, it has been banned in some countries (e.g. Europe) because of cancer risk fears.
BlackBox Cosmetics, a natural skin care company that creates toxin free personal care products, recently released Revive Gx which is a glycolic acid product that contains a total of 5 AHAs in a proprietary combination and concentration of 10%. Founder of BlackBox Cosmetics, Kevin Evans, says the most common skin condition improvements with Revive Gx have been:
1) A drastic reduction in fine lines, scars, sun damage related dark spots and pigmentation, and pore size.
2) Improved skin tone, clarity, evenness, and reduction in acne related breakouts. Many customers have reported noticing a difference in how their skin looks upon wakening.
So, while hydroquinone is highly effective, the cons may outweigh the pros and there are other safe alternatives available.