NeoStrata is a company well known for developing several popular anti-aging products under their company name as well as Exuviance and CoverBlend. They make all kinds of skin care products such as cleaners, toners, collagen boosters, and more. But one of their most popular products by far is the NeoStrata HQ Skin Lightening Gel, a topical, targeted treatment that exfoliates the skin and fades dark spots.

NeoStrata HQ Skin Lightening Gel Review


Essentially, HQ is a dark spot corrector. It makes use of hydroquinone and polyhydroxy acids to cleanse the skin, improve the turnover rate of skin cells, and gradually lighten overly pigmented splotches. It works in a similar fashion as other skin lighteners like Meladerm and Olay White Radiance but it is a bit harsher.


Overall, NeoStrata is one of the most popular choices of skin lightening creams on the market today. Why? Because unlike many other products, it actually works.

CLICK HERE to check the price of HQ Lightening Gel on Amazon.

It’s not for everyone, though. If you have sensitive skin we recommend trying Meladerm instead because NeoStrata contains hydroquinone, a chemical that can cause mild irritation on sensitive skin.

Alternatives ARE listed below, though.



  • Exfoliate and fade dark spots
  • Not for sensitive skin
  • Can cause mild irritation

The reason we say this product is more harsh on the skin than others is because it contains both hydroquinone and poyhydroxy acid. Both of these components are known to be highly effective skin lightening agents but they can also be rather rough on the skin. For this reason we’d like to point out that if you have sensitive skin or have had bad reactions to other products you should probably skip out on using NeoStrata HQ as it may irritate your skin.

Here is a list of the ingredients known to be in the HQ gel:

  • Hydroquinone 2%
  • Alcohol Denat
  • Arginine
  • BHT
  • CI 172000 (Red 33)
  • CI 19140 (Yellow 5)
  • Citric Acid
  • Gluconolactone
  • Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Extract
  • Kojic Acid
  • Lactobionic Acid
  • Oxalic Acid
  • Polyquaternium 10
  • Potassium Hydroxide
  • Propylene Glycol
  • Sodium Bisulfite
  • Sodium Sulfite
  • Water

NOTE: We thought it might also be worth stating that in some countries hydroquinone is banned from use in cosmetics because it is considered to be a carcinogen. This hasn’t been 100% verified but some scientists believe that this substance has caused cancer in laboratory mice. The component is not banned in the United States.

Great Product

I bought this at my dermatologist a few month ago. When I was running out, I went to Amazon to repurchase. It was much less money but the best part is that it is a great product. I had a lot of brownish areas, used it steadily and my face looks great now. I mostly used it at night and on days when I was not in the sun. It’s worth a try if you are looking for a brown spot “fix”.


Amazon review

More Even Tone

I only use the product once a day, and the spots I have are getting paler and there are no new spots. It doesn’t irritate my skin. I’m pleased with the product.

S. Brown

Amazon review

Customer Reviews

For every product we talk about here on The Derm Report we like to scour the web and dig up reviews posted by real people that have actually purchased and use the product. We were able to find several NeoStrata HQ Skin Lightening Gel reviews on various trusted websites. Below we’ve posted screenshots of these evaluations.

While there are some bad reviews that claim that the HQ skin lightening gel did absolutely nothing or that it worked but very slowly the majority of consumers seem to believe that the product did a great job of lightening up dark spots, sun spots, age spots, and other hyperpigmentation related issues.

We also found reviews from a handful of people that used the product that had sensitive skin and they did say that NeoStrata HQ is a bit too strong to use. This confirms that if you have sensitive skin that you’ll probably want to look into alternatives because the ingredients within this product are probably too harsh to use.

Our Review

Overall, we believe that NeoStrata’s HQ Skin Lightening Gel is a decent product. It does work well for most people and is capable of fading things like dark spots and even old acne scars. The gel does, however, take a long time to work. If you want to use it you should expect to go through at least 2 tubes of it before seeing any real noticeable results.

As mentioned above, one of the major drawbacks to this skin lightener is that it can be pretty harsh. Hydroquinone is known to be pretty effective but its also a very strong substance that can cause irritation and burning sensations on the skin. Due to that, it’s safe to say that HQ isn’t made for everyone.

Where to Buy

Looking to give this product a try? Unfortunately, this particular gel is rather difficult to come by. It’s not really sold in any brick-and-mortar stores, but you can find it online via either the company’s official website or on Amazon.

We recommend buying from Amazon because they have a proven record of shipping out products fast and providing superb customer service when needed.

Check current prices and read reviews for NeoStrata Skin Lightening Gel on


While NeoStrata HQ is a good product there are better alternatives available for the same price or just a little bit more. HQ works very slowly (it takes up to 3 months to see real lightening results) which can be a deal breaker for many. If you’d like to see faster results we highly recommend checking out either Meladerm Complex of Skinception’s Illuminatural 6i. Both of these products provide visible results in just 2-4 weeks, are a bit more gentle on the skin, and cost about the same as HQ.

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