Hydroquinone is a topical skin-bleaching ingredient used to treat age spots, acne scars and hyperpigmentation by slowing down melanin production. Although it is effective for lightening dark spots, hydroquinone has a reputation for possibly creating carcinogens in the body, containing mercury, and causing other skin conditions such as ochronosis. Although much research has shown that these effects are highly dramatized, hydroquinone is still prohibited in certain countries for its toxicity. In addition, hydroquinone can cause skin sensitivity, dryness, and peeling in which the side effects outweigh the benefits. Luckily, there are many alternatives to hydroquinone which may help treat the same issues.