Last update Oct. 20, 2016


Low Risk

Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

Benzene derivative which is topically used with creams and solutions (2-4%) as a bleaching agent for several skin disorders associated to hyper-pigmentation.

In industry it is used as photographic developer. TLV or threshold limit value which means maximum exposure limit for workers is 2 mg / m3 (Flickinger 1976).

At latest update relevant published data were not found on excretion into breast milk.

It is well absorbed through the skin, both when used as a therapeutic agent (Bucks 1998, Wester 1998, Westerhof 2005, Andersen 2010, Bozzo 2011) or industrial use (Barber 1995, McGregor 2007), however, a significant excretion into breastmilk is not likely for their lack of fat solubility.

There is controversy and doubt about a possible mutagenic and carcinogenic effect (Kooyers 2004, FDA 2006, Levitt 2007, Andersen 2010), so it does not seem wise a chronic or continued use while breastfeeding.

Do not apply it on the breast to prevent ingestion by the infant; otherwise, do it just after a meal and clean the nipple thoroughly with water before the next feed.
Do not apply it over large areas or on long-term treatments to avoid an excessive systemic absorption.


  • Azelaic Acid ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Hydroquinone is also known as

Hydroquinone in other languages or writings:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Hydroquinone in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Oral Bioavail. Dermat: 45 ± 11 %
Molecular weight 110 daltons
Tmax 4 hours


  1. INSHT - Instituto Nacional de Seguridad e Higiene en el Trabajo. Límites de exposición profesional para agentes químicos en España. - 2022 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  2. Butler DC, Heller MM, Murase JE. Safety of dermatologic medications in pregnancy and lactation: Part II. Lactation. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2014 Mar;70(3):417.e1-10; quiz 427. Abstract
  3. Bozzo P, Chua-Gocheco A, Einarson A. Safety of skin care products during pregnancy. Can Fam Physician. 2011 Abstract
  4. Andersen FA, Bergfeld WF, Belsito DV, Hill RA, Klaassen CD, Liebler DC, Marks JG Jr, Shank RC, Slaga TJ, Snyder PW. Final amended safety assessment of hydroquinone as used in cosmetics. Int J Toxicol. 2010 Abstract
  5. McGregor D. Hydroquinone: an evaluation of the human risks from its carcinogenic and mutagenic properties. Crit Rev Toxicol. 2007 Abstract
  6. Levitt J. The safety of hydroquinone: a dermatologist's response to the 2006 Federal Register. J Am Acad Dermatol. 2007 Abstract
  7. Food and Drug Administration Skin Bleaching Drug Products For Over-the-Counter Human Use; Proposed Rule. 2006 Full text (in our servers)
  8. Westerhof W, Kooyers TJ. Hydroquinone and its analogues in dermatology - a potential health risk. J Cosmet Dermatol. 2005 Abstract
  9. Kooyers TJ, Westerhof W. [Toxicological aspects and health risks associated with hydroquinone in skin bleaching formula]. Ned Tijdschr Geneeskd. 2004 Abstract
  10. Wester RC, Melendres J, Hui X, Cox R, Serranzana S, Zhai H, Quan D, Maibach HI. Human in vivo and in vitro hydroquinone topical bioavailability, metabolism, and disposition. J Toxicol Environ Health A. 1998 Abstract
  11. Barber ED, Hill T, Schum DB. The percutaneous absorption of hydroquinone (HQ) through rat and human skin in vitro. Toxicol Lett. 1995 Abstract
  12. Hidroquinona. Ficha internacional de Seguridad Química. 1994 Full text (in our servers)
  13. Bucks DA, McMaster JR, Guy RH, Maibach HI. Percutaneous absorption of hydroquinone in humans: effect of 1-dodecylazacycloheptan-2-one (azone) and the 2-ethylhexyl ester of 4-(dimethylamino)benzoic acid (Escalol 507). J Toxicol Environ Health. 1988 Abstract
  14. Flickinger CW. The benzenediols: catechol, resorcinol and hydroquinone--a review of the industrial toxicology and current industrial exposure limits. Am Ind Hyg Assoc J. 1976 Abstract

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