Negative Effects of Ill-Conceived Ingredient Bans

As a hydroquinone user, I was disheartened to learn that HQ is banned in some countries in the EU. Kojic acid is not appropriate for all skin types, particularly those who are already on a retinoid. Alpha-arbutin is very slow working and what worse way to discriminate someone than to steal their time away? This is extremely negative for people’s dermatological health, since triple combination (Kligman’s formula) is one of the best products for dealing with melasma and post-acne hyperpigmentation especially for people whose skin is olive or darker.

Therefore banning its use has a disproportionate impact on underrepresented minorities. Moreover, it is an anti-aging mainstay for all skintypes due to solar-related age spotting. Melasma and aging are real health problems, since skin is your largest organ. This negatively impacts women, who have more to lose from age discrimination.

Moreover, according to dermatologists, dyspigmentation is one of the primary signs of aging among POC and those with olive skin, even more so than wrinkling.

The anti-HQ push comes from the popularity of formulas that combine HQ with mercury and which do not carry a warning to not use for more than 8 weeks continuously. But many of these formulas became so popular because the law forces them to use ingredients that are unlisted – therefore not informing people of the risks. If there were no blanket ban on HQ, then companies can list their ingredients accurately and users can make informed decisions.


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