Daniel Liebler
Faculty Member
Last active: 2/15/2016

Final amended safety assessment of hydroquinone as used in cosmetics.

Andersen FA, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Hill RA, Klaassen CD, Liebler DC, Marks JG, Shank RC, Slaga TJ, Snyder PW
Int J Toxicol. 2010 29 (6 Suppl): 274S-87

PMID: 21164074 · DOI:10.1177/1091581810385957

Hydroquinone is an aromatic compound that functions in cosmetics as an antioxidant, fragrance, reducing agent, or polymerization inhibitor. Hydroquinone is also used as a skin bleaching agent. Safety and toxicity information indicate that hydroquinone is dermally absorbed in humans from both aqueous and alcoholic formulations and is excreted mainly as the glucuronide or sulfate conjugates. Hydroquinone is associated with altered immune function in vitro and in vivo in animals and an increased incidence of renal tubule cell tumors and leukemia in F344 rats, but the relevance to humans is uncertain. Quantitatively, however, the use of hydroquinone in cosmetics is unlikely to result in renal neoplasia through this mode of action. Thus, hydroquinone is safe at concentrations of ≤1% in hair dyes and is safe for use in nail adhesives. Hydroquinone should not be used in other leave-on cosmetics.

MeSH Terms (16)

Administration, Cutaneous Animals Antioxidants Carcinogenicity Tests Chemical Phenomena Clinical Trials as Topic Consumer Product Safety Cosmetics Dose-Response Relationship, Drug Humans Hydroquinones Mutagenicity Tests Polymerization Skin Toxicity Tests, Acute Toxicity Tests, Chronic

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