September 26, 2021

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In general, can you explain what the ingredient Hexylresorcinol is?

Hexylresorcinol is known to have antiseptic, antimicrobial, and anesthetic properties. It’s been used for over a century as it was shown to have strong antiseptic properties while being harmless to humans. 



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What is the purpose of using an ingredient like Hexylresorcinol in your skincare routine?

It has also been shown to have a skin lightening and anti aging effect. It’s skin lightening effect has been shown to be a result of its ability to inhibit tyrosinase and peroxidase to block melanin production. 

Its anti-aging properties are primarily from its anti oxidant and anti inflammatory properties. 

Where does Hexylresorcinol come from?

Hexylresorcinol is found naturally in whole grain wheat and rye. It has actually been used also as an anti-browning agent for shrimp and fruits. It has also been used with ascorbic acid to prevent pears and apples from browning.

Although it has been in use as an antiseptic and anesthetic for almost 100 years, it has only recently been introduced as a skin care agent. 







What does Hexylresorcinol do for the skin?

Anti-aging is achieved through three methods:

  1. Anti oxidant: it’s Antioxidant is indirect through its metabolites. The metabolites Of HR can stimulate a known cell protectant called glutathione.  It also stimulates antioxidant defense enzymes including glutathione peroxidase and glutathione reductase.
  2. Anti inflammatory: There is a factor called NF kappa beta that plays a key role in triggering inflammation. It has been shown that HR can stimulate collagen and elastin synthesis by inhibiting NF-kappa beta.
  3. Glycation: AGEs (advanced glycation end-products) are one of the factors in skin aging. One of their functions is to stimulate the breakdown of collagen. HR is thought to inhibit this reaction. 

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Skin lightening:

HR has a strong effect to inhibit tyrosinase and peroxidase which play a role in stimulating melanin production. It also stimulates the effect on glutathione and E-cadherin production which also play a role in inhibiting the production of melanin in the skin.

What kind of products can Hexylresorcinol be found in? 

One of the most common products to find Hexylresorcinol in is throat lozenges. With its antiseptic and anesthetic properties, it can soothe throat pain and discomfort.

It is found in skin lightening lotions. Compared to a known bleaching agent, hydroquinone 2%, it has similar results.

It is also used in some anti aging formulations, often in combination with other ingredients with similar effects such as vitamin C.

How is Hexylresorcinol applied? 

It is most commonly found in skin care as a lotion or serum. It is usually best applied at night depending on the formulation used.  See the chart below for the options available and how to use.


Product Key Ingredients  When to use in your routine



I recommend adding this to your morning routine before sunblock.  The niacinamide works as an antioxidant while the hexylresorcinol can help prevent discoloration.  Consider this for work from home days as well if in front of the computer/blue light for long stretches of time






The retinol in this product ideally suits it for evening use in my opinion.  Niacinamide can help restore the skin while resveratrol is another antioxidant.  The addition of hexylresorcinol potentiates the benefits in evening out pigmentation that retinol offers.



With both hexylresorcinol and niacinamde, consider applying this prior to sunblock in the morning.

Salicylic acid

Licorice Root


Tea Tree Oil 

I really like this unique product.  The thoughtful combination of ingredients sets it aside as a unique option of acne related pigmentation of the skin.


Are there other usage considerations to be aware of?

HR is in the ‘generally recognized as safe’ category for the FDA.

It’s not to be confused with resorcinol- this is used to break down the skin in chemical peel formulations,




Mattiana Murray

Mattiana Murray said:

Is it a group of serums I would purchase, explain what step I would put this on or when I would use the serum



Great question! Hexylresorcinol is an ingredient in some skin care products. To decide the best time of day to use it depends on the product used. Many products that are intended to prevent discoloration of the skin that include vitamin C are best used in the morning. They work best to avoid further discoloration triggered by light sources. However, if the product used contains retinol as well as hexylresorcinol then it will work best at night. I will update the article with links to products to consider!

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