Hydroquinone is a skin bleaching agent and is used as the active ingredient in creams to fade unwanted tattoos. It also is used to fade liver spots, moles, freckles and any other darker spots on the skin. This chemical was banned in several countries around the world for being linked to cases of skin cancer when it was used for prolonged periods of time. If you have an existing skin condition, consult a physician.

Hydroquinone Creams

For tattoo removal, you can purchase an over-the-counter hydroquinone cream with a 1% or 2% concentration of the skin bleaching chemical. There also are brands specifically made for tattoo removal with hydroquinone in them, such as SkinTx, Fade Gel and Black and White. There are other kinds of tattoo removal creams that do not contain hydroquinone, but it has been proven to be the quickest and most effective in the fading and ultimate disappearance of unwanted skin pigments. Although it works quickly, it is only recommended to be used for no more than six weeks. Always follow the directions found on the specific hydroquinone cream you buy.


Before applying the cream all over your tattoo for the first time, do a skin patch test to make sure you don't have an adverse reaction. Dab some of the cream on a small area and, if you don't experience any excessive irritation after 24 hours, you can use it on your whole tattoo. Do not let the cream come in contact with broken skin, internal tissues or mucous membranes. Before you apply to your tattoo, you should clean the whole area thoroughly and dry. Rub the cream into your skin and wash your hands as soon as you are done.


Never use the cream for longer than the recommended time. There are warnings that say that prolonged exposure to this chemical will lead to skin cancer. Protect the areas of your skin where you have applied the hydroquinone from direct sun exposure because the skin will be photosensitive right afterward. Cover the areas with clothing or keep applying a strong sunblock.