Melanin, the protein that causes skin to darken, can be influenced by what experts like to call tyrosinase (tie-rah-sin-aze) inhibitors. Finding products that contain these inhibiting ingredients can help stop melanin production in your skin.

Hydroquinone is an FDA approved bleaching agent. It is usually prescribed by physicians with a concentration higher than 2%. Hydroquinone, although very effective, does have some risks. It can be irritating to the skin causing redness and continuous use over a long period of time can cause a skin condition called ochronosis, which is the darkening of existing pigment. We recommend using HQ for 3-4 months at a time at most. If you are completely new to using the product, it is likely your skin will need to build a tolerance for it. Begin by using it every other night and once your skin has adjusted, nightly use can be better tolerated.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C, otherwise known as ascorbic acid, is a powerhouse ingredient because of its antioxidant characteristics. This antioxidant lightens and brightens while promoting collagen production.

Kojic Acid
Kojic Acid is a natural skin lightener derived from a Japanese mushroom. Once fermented, it can also be found in other substances like rice or soybeans. Kojic acid penetrates deep into the skin and inhibits the melanin production.

Azelaic Acid and Licorice Root
Azelaic Acid is found in wheat, rye, and barley. Not only can it help lighten unwanted pigment, but it can also be anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. Licorice root, like vitamin C, is another powerhouse antioxidant. It is known to help soothe the skin and neutralize free radicals while lifting any hyperpigmentation.
In the flooded market of skincare products it can be overwhelming to find what works, but with knowledge of these effective ingredients, you can achieve an even skin tone.

Janell Bailey, LMA
Master Licensed Aesthetician
Dermatology Associates of Seattle

Janell Bailey, Licensed Master Aesthetician at Dermatology Associates of Seattle is available for secured virtual consultations. For scheduling and information on our virtual appointments, visit us at