According to the results of a randomized, double-blind clinical trial, over-the-counter hydroquinone fade cream and another cream without hydroquinone for reducing facial hyperpigmentation are effective in patients with skin of color. Incidentally, hydroquinone is widely used in the United States for the treatment for hyperpigmentation. It is available both as over-the-counter and prescription products. The study was sponsored by Johnson & Johnson Consumer and Personal Products Worldwide (Division of J&J CCI).

Highlights of the clinical trial
a. Adult women with Fitzpatrick skin types IV-VI were enrolled for this trial.
b. All the women had at least two facial hyperpigmentation lesions of at least moderate severity.
c. Some of the patients were given twice-daily treatment with a fade cream containing hydroquinone 2 per cent plus vitamin E, alpha hydroxyl acid and a sunscreen (AMBI Fade Cream).
d. The others were treated with an alternate cream product containing vitamins A, C and E (AMBI Even and Clear Targeted Mark Minimizer).
e. All the participants were asked to use a sunscreen containing SPF 30 every morning.
f. The treatment was for a period of 12 weeks.
g. Responses were assessed after 2, 4, 8 and 12 weeks.
h. It was seen that both products were safe and very effective.
i. It was seen that two-thirds to almost 90 per cent of women who used the hydroquinone cream reacted positively about skin pigmentation, overall look of their skin and the speed of the product in clearing their skin discoloration.
j. More than half of the women who were given the hydroquinone product said that their skin discolorations reduced visibly.
k. Among the women who used the vitamin A, C and E cream, 42 to 68 per cent reacted positively.
l. This trial also underscores the importance of using a broad-spectrum, photostable, SPF 30+ sunscreen in preventing re darkening of skin.