Hydroquinone (4%)

Hydroquinone targets hyperpigmentation, melasma & sun damage.

Hydroquinone cream is a pigment suppressing ingredient available by prescription only in the UK. It reduces excess melanin product to target hyperpigmentation, melasma, dark spots and sun damage. If used appropriately it is one of the most potent and effective skin-brightening agents available to reduce dark patches and even out skin tone.

Infographic fr page on hydroquinone personalised prescription skincare treatment cream or gel, benefits, side effects and difference between compounded, generic and obagi clear and obagi blender  hydroquinone creams

Benefits in Skincare

Hydroquinone work by inhibiting Tyrosinase enzyme activity which results in suppressing the production of melanin. If used appropriately it can reduce excess pigment production. For this reason Hydroquinone is used in skincare to:

  • Lighten dark spots and patches
  • Even out skin tone
  • Treat melasma, sun damage and other forms of hyperpigmentation

Treatments with Hydroquinone 4% Cream

The main benefits of hydroquinone is to lighten hyperpigmentation and even out the skin tone. It is a powerful ingredient but must only be used in the right circumstances and for short periods to reduce risks and side effects. We use Hydroquinone in several of our personalised prescription skincare treatments usually as a cream for suitable patients. The dose, length and whether we use Hydroquinone alone or with other ingredients depends on the patients health, skin concerns, goals and wishes. The treatments we may use Hydroquinone in are:

  • Skin Ageing
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Melasma
  • Body treatments for hyperpigmentation
  • Dark spot fader

Prescription Hydroquinone Cream Treatments Online

Hydroquinone treatments are available by prescription only in the UK. We add them to our personalised skincare treatments if we think that they are appropriate and safe for the patient. To get your custom made skincare treatment, you will need to complete the online consultation form or book a virtual video consultation with one of our doctors. They will include Hydroquinone in your formula if they think it is appropriate and safe for you. They’ll also decide if any other ingredients are worth adding to your formula but will take into account any wishes or preferences you’ve expressed as much as possible. Your doctor will also give you a step by step routine to follow and ongoing follow up throughout your journey. You will be able to contact your doctor by email at any time as part of your treatment.

It is also possible to get treatment with generic and branded creams like Obagi hydroquinone containing products through a number of in person and online clinics in the UK if a doctor or other prescriber deems them suitable for you. These services vary so its essential to choose one where you will be under the supervision of a skincare professional throughout your treatment.



    Your doctor will design a personalised skincare treatment and program for you to follow. The cost of the consultation will be deducted from any skincare purchase.


    This is a 3 month supply of treatment. The cost depends on the type so please visit our treatment pages for full break down. Your doctor will create a personalised treatment taking into account your health, skin concerns, goals and wishes.

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What’s the Difference Between Compound Hydroquinone vs Generics & Brands like Obagi Clear or Blender?

Compound hydroquinone refers to formulations created by pharmacists to meet specific prescriptions for individual patients. This allows for customisation in concentration, ingredient combinations and even things like product feel or consistency. This personalisation can help develop treatments that target each patient unique skin needs. However, the trade-off is shorter expiry dates (maximum 3 months) and they are not licensed. In contrast, off-the shelf hydroquinone creams which are available as generic products or brands like Obagi Clear and Blender usually just offer a set concentration and ingredients. They are also not licensed for most cosmetic skincare uses but are rigorously tested, come with consistent potency track records and a long expiry date when unopened. It’s important to note that regardless of whether its compounded or off-the-shelf, the there is no difference in the type of Hydroquinone in all these products. They are also all prescription only medicines in the UK.

The most popular off-the-shelf brand of Hydroquinone is Obagi cream which is available as part of the Obagi-C and Nu Derm (in the form of Clear and Blender) lines. Obagi Clear is a skin brightening cream with 4% hydroquinone, designed for once or twice daily use. Obagi Blender, also contains 4% hydroquinone and is designed to be mixed with Tretinoin or retinol for use in the evening. Whilst both Obagi Clear and Blender contain the same concentration of hydroquinone, they serve different purposes. Obagi Clear is for daily use to consistently inhibit melanin production, while Obagi Blender works with your other night-time skincare products to enhance overall results. They also claim to work on different layers of hyperpigmentation.

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Important Information

Please note: Hydroquinone is a powerful and effective skin-lightening cream. That being said, use should only be under the care of a medical provider if they deem it appropriate to treat hyperpigmentation, melasma and other causes of skin damage. It’s also not suitable for everyone. That’s why it’s vital to discuss any potential risks and side effects with your skincare professional before starting treatment.

Hydroquinone is a potent skin-lightening agent. It reduces hyperpigmentation, melasma and sun damage. It does so by inhibiting the production of melanin. When there is excess melanin pigment, you get dark spots. Hence through this mechanism, Hydroquinone helps to lighten dark skin patches and even out skin tone.

Efficacy and Use

Hydroquinone works by reducing the production and increasing the degradation of melanin pigments in the skin. This subsequently helps to lighten the dark patches of skin (e.g. hyperpigmentation, melasma, liver spots, age spots or freckles). The most common causes of these are pregnancy, birth control pills, hormone medicine, or injury to the skin.


Before starting Hydroquinone, it’s key to be aware of any allergies to it or similar products. You must not use it if you have or develop an allergy to any of the ingredients. Moreover, there is no data on its safety and efficacy in patients younger than 12 years of age. It is not appropriate for use by pregnant or breastfeeding women. If you suffer from eczema, fish allergy, or have any sores, burns, or wounds, please inform your doctor.

Side Effects of Hydroquinone

Common side effects include mild skin irritation, redness, and dryness especially at the start of treatment. Less commonly some people might experience excessively red, swollen, blistered, or crusted skin. Some users may also experience allergic reactions, leading to itching, swelling or severe redness.

Rarely it can cause ochronosis – a blue-black or gray-blue discolouration. This is rare and more commonly seen in patients that use a high concentration of hydroquinone and/or for prolonged periods.

It is crucial to use hydroquinone as directed and avoid excessive sun exposure by using sunscreen. If any side effects occur, please discontinue use and let your doctor know. They will either stop the treatment or adjust it to a level or frequency that you can tolerate depending on the adverse reaction.

For more information about Hydroquinone in the UK and side-effects please read our in-depth Hydroquinone guide.

Frequently asked questions

Of course if your doctor feels this is safe and appropriate for you. We encourage all our patients to express their wishes and concerns when we design their treatment. Wherever possible we respect and accommodate these as long as we feel it is medically safe and beneficial to do so.

This depends on how frequently you use it and how much you use. In general if used as instructed then the treatment should last 3 months.

We advise not using Hydroquinone consistently for more than 6 months to avoid side-effects.

This is a prescription only medicine and hence can only be offered if after a consultation your doctor feels it is safe and appropriate to include in your protocol. This ensures that the treatment they design is beneficial for you to use and will also ensure that it meets your treatment goals. Your doctor will also be able to answer any questions you have and provide you with a personalised treatment plan so you get the most out of your treatment and avoid irritation or side-effects.

Yes, if you are a new client to our clinic you must have a consultation first so we can assess what the best treatment is for you.

You will have direct access to your doctor by email so you can ask questions, get advice and let them know if you have any problems.

No, you just need to reach out to your doctor by email and they will arrange your follow up. This maybe by email or a virtual video follow up depending on the problem.

Absolutely not. We never charge for any follow up or aftercare. You can contact your doctor at any time for advice, updates and any issues.

No, you can just email your doctor and they will assist you.

No it is not. We are really passionate about putting you in control of your treatment. Everyone responds differently to their treatment so we don't think subscriptions make sense for a personalised journey. That's why we leave it up to you to let us know when you need a refill and we make it very easy to order these.

Yes. We provide two ways to access our doctors. You can either fill in an online consultation form or book an online video appointment. Please feel free to choose the option that is most convenient for you. Regardless of which consultation type you choose, you will have a single dedicated doctor throughout your treatment journey. They will create a personalised treatment protocol for your and provide ongoing aftercare and advice.

Unfortunately we can only offer our services to customers based in the UK.

Your product(s) will be delivered straight to your home. It usually takes 2-3 business days for products to arrive.

Nope! All our prices are as listed on the website. The fees also include delivery.


Compounded treatments like the ones we use are unlicensed medications because they are custom-made for each patient based on a specific formulation tailored to their unique needs. Unlike licensed medications, which are approved by regulatory bodies for general use, compounded treatments are created by pharmacists to meet the specific requirements of an individual patient as prescribed by their doctor. While they do not undergo the same approval process as licensed medications, they offer a personalised approach that can address specific concerns where a licensed treatment doesn't exist effectively under professional supervision.