Most treatments designed to remove age spots on hands contain an ingredient called hydroquinone. Not to be confused with ubiquinone, which is another name for the antioxidant coenzyme Q10, hydroquinone may cause cancer.
In some countries, the use of hydroquinone in skin whitening has been banned, because of the possible cancer risk. Since you might not be worried about cancer, there is another possible side effect. It can cause hyper-pigmentation or darkening, instead of lightening of the skin.
So, why use something that might be dangerous and could do more harm than good? People continued to use hydroquinone creams because they « were » the most effective thing on the market.
Hydroquinone inhibits melanin production. It is not a bleaching agent like the mercury containing ingredients. You should keep an eye out for those, too. They have not been banned, because they have not been proven unsafe. So, they are still found in a lot of over-the-counter creams and lotions. If you’re like me, you don’t like the idea of rubbing toxic mercury on any part of your body.
So, most doctors feel that hydroquinone is safer than bleaching agents like mercury. Until recently, it was the only compound known to inhibit melanin production, which is necessary, if you want to remove age spots on hands or any other part of the body, because the spot is actually a melanin clump.
Recently, a German manufacturer found that an extract from the common nut grass plant would inhibit melanin just as effectively as hydroquinone, but without any of the unwanted side effects. Hydroquinone can be irritating. Nut grass extracts are anti-irritants.
Creams containing nut grass were originally developed to provide relief from irritations, such as allergic reactions and dermatitis. It was only during testing that the company found that they could remove age spots on hands and lighten the skin’s overall tone by inhibiting melanin production at a rate of over 50%.
While nut grass extracts work faster than anything else, there are other effective ingredients. For example, creams containing ubiquinone or coenzyme Q10 have been shown to reverse sun damage after three months of use. Since the sun damage is the usual cause of increased melanin production and clumping, it should effectively remove age spots on hands or face, over time.
Some of the better body lotions contain coenzyme Q10 and a compound called functional keratin, which has been shown to stimulate the production of new cells. If you avoid the sun and use antioxidant-rich creams, the new cells should be lighter in color.
Even the better whitening creams now contain functional keratin, because it speeds results. In just a few weeks time, women have seen a significant lightening effect after using creams containing functional keratin, coenzyme Q10 and nut grass extract.
In a way, we are lucky that hydroquinone was banned in some countries. The ban meant that research and development teams had to look for something else that would remove age spots on hands. We are also lucky that they found nut grass extract.