Perhaps you may have heard of this product. Or you may not have heard about it at all. Whatever it is, mequinol is one of the most effective substances that can lighten skin. So, what is mequinol and how does it affect your skin? Read on to find about it more!
What is Mequinol?
Mequinol is often the active ingredient that is found in common drugs used for skin depigmentation or skin bleaching. It is actually a derivative of hydroquinone. This is a substance also used for effective skin whitening. When used properly, mequinol can bring about long-term effects and permanent whitening.
Mequinol is often available as a cream that also contains tretinoin. Tretinoin is a retinoid often applied to the skin for wrinkles and age spots. These two components are often available as a solution that is composed of 2% mequinol and 0.01% tretinoin. This solution is often prescribed by doctors to treat age spots, liver spots and other blemishes. Some dermatologists have used low doses of mequinol along with skin laser treatment in people with vitiligo and other skin discolorations.
How Does Mequinol Whiten the Skin?
Actually, the mechanism behind the whitening effect of mequinol is unknown. It is said that mequinol is being acted upon by a substance in the skin called tyrosinase. This enzyme has something to do with skin color. It also inhibits the formation of melanin pigments in the skin. The melanin pigment is responsible for skin colour. Somehow, mequinol and tretinoin work hand in hand to inhibit its formation. Thus, it brings about fairer and lighter skin.
Unlike hydroquinone, mequinol does not cause bluish-black discoloration of the skin. This bluish hue is a condition known as ochronosis. It occurs with continued use of hydroquinone. It is said that mequinol inhibits the production of melanin by destroying the cells that produce it. This can therefore lighten up the skin tone. It has been proven to treat age spots, melasma, blemishes and other discolorations along with skin whitening.
In one study by the company that markets Solage, mequinol was applied to people with a certain skin condition called solar lentigines. This condition which brings about pigmented spots in the skin after sun exposure. The results showed that mequinol was able to decrease melanin pigmentation in skin cells. After treatment, the skin cells assumed their normal state before the disease. These results showed that for mequinol to be truly effective, it has to be applied continuously.
So far, many doctors have found success in treating brown spots, age spots or liver spots with mequinol. These spots are often caused by too much sun exposure. According to some studies, mequinol was able to clear up these spots and bring about lighter and fairer skin.
Is Mequinol Safe to Use?
The answer is yes and no. Mequinol is safe to use only within 24 weeks, depending on the advice of your doctor. Mequinol needs a prescription so it is best to check with your doctor first before using it. Beyond 24 weeks, mequinol can bring about bothersome effects.
You should use mequinol only as prescribed. It is usually prescribed along with a strict skin care regimen. You have to avoid sunlight exposure while using it. If you expose treated skin to the sun, it may give rise to sun burns and uneven skin tone.
Also, the safety of mequinol depends on the product being used. Mequinol is both safe and effective when used at a concentration of 2% or less. While it is usually given for age spots, sun spots and melasma, using this product for skin lightening purposes needs doctor’s guidance.
Your doctor often uses a solution that contains both mequinol and tretinoin, marketed under the brand name Solage. This solution leads to powerful skin whitening effects. Since it is potent, it may also give rise to burns so be careful.
Don’t use mequinol if you are pregnant or expecting to become pregnant. You should not also use it if you have allergies. Skip it if you have conditions such as eczema, skin irritations, sunburns, vitiligo or are breastfeeding.
Are There Side Effects?
When buying a product, read the product labels first. Don’t opt for the products that contain a high concentration of mequinol as it may result in burns. Highly concentrated mequinol can cause serious side effects. You may experience skin burning, skin irritation, peeling, numbness, severe itching and redness.
How Should You Use it?
Mequinol is often available as a cream and is combined with tretinoin. You should use the cream with a sunscreen with SPF30+ when you are going outdoors. If you are taking medicines such as thiazides (for blood pressure), avoid using it. It is also contraindicated to be taken with antibiotics (tetracyclines, fluoroquinolones, or sulphonamides). Avoid using it with antipsychotic medicines called “phenothiazines”. These medicines can make your skin sensitive to sunlight.
Overall, mequinol is a potent medicinal product that is able to eliminate sun spots, age spots and liver spots. It has the potential of permanent whitening. However, you should only use it at a concentration below 2% and with doctor’s guidance. You should also avoid extreme sun exposure and medicines that can make you more sensitive to sunlight.
Instead of mequinol, maybe you can opt for safer and more natural products that can produce the same results.
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