Hydroquinone, a dihydroxylated benzene derivative is used therapeutically as a topical agent for the treatment of certain skin conditions. Ten (10) cosmetic creams containing hydroquinone were randomly sampled based on consumer demand from the open market in Jos, Plateau State. The labels on the packages noticeably did not indicate the levels of hydroquinone present. The creams were subjected to colour and chromatographic test for identification, as well as assay by UV spectrophotometry. All ten (10) creams sampled, gave positive results to the test for hydroquinone. The level of hydroquinone was below 2% for seven of the creams, between 2 - 5% for two and above 5% for one. (The upper limit for cosmetic creams is 2 and 5% for therapeutic use). This study shows that despite the potential health hazards of hydroquinone, cosmetic products containing this agent are available for sale in the open market with inadequate warning on the labels.
Key words: Spectrophotometric analysis, hydroquinone, cosmetics.
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