Arbutin For Skin: Meet The Powerful Skin Lightening Ingredient

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Arbutin for skincare has been used for decades in tackling the issue of pigmentation. Infact Asides vitamin C, arbutin is undoubtedly one of the most used skin lightening ingredient in the beauty industry because of its potential towards depressing the production of melanin which in turn helps addresses the issue of Hyperpigmentation such as dark spots, acne scars, melasma, age spots etc.

You may think wrinkles and fine lines are the most annoying skin issues, well, think again, because asides acne, having pigmentations all over your skin is even worst. Especially having them all over your face. This will not only cause uneven skintone but also affects your self-esteem.


 Arbutin for skincare

Hyperpigmentation are mostly caused by age spots, dark spots, and leftover acne scars but the most known cause of hyperpigmentation is the sun. The sun is the devil. Its UV rays causes havoc when it hits the skin as it induces more melanin production (the cell responsible for your skin color) which in turn causes more darker shade especially for individuals with dark skin. And when this occurs the need for brightening products comes in handy and that’s where arbutin comes in.

Threfore, In this article, we shall detail out a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about arbutin for skincare including its skin benefits, types and precautions.

Arbutin For Skincare

What is Arbutin?

Arbutin is naturally derived from bearberry plant, it’s also found in cranberries, blueberries, wheat, and pears. Arbutin prevents the formation of melanin, as it functions as a tyrosinase inhibitor to provide skin lightening and brightening effects.

Types Of Arbutin.

There are two types of Arbutin. They are:

  • Alpha Arbutin.
  • Beta-Arbutin.

Alpha Arbutin.

Alpha arbutin is a biosynthetic active ingredient that is pure, water-soluble and is manufactured in a powder form, its main source of extraction is from bearberry plant. Research has proven that it has a stronger inhibitory action than that of (beta) arbutin.

Though it is a very expensive ingredient to manufacture, even at very low concentrations, alpha arbutin has shown to inhibit the activity of tyrosinase. Alpha Arbutin’s inhibitory mechanism is different from that of beta-arbutin and can be up to 10 times more effective.

The a-glucosidic bond found in alpha-arbutin offers higher stability and efficancy than beta-arbutin. This leads to a skin whitening active that acts faster and more efficiently than existing single components.


Beta-Arbutin is often referred to as just Arbutin. As a natural extract also found in bearberry (Uva Ursi) plants, beta-arbutin also provides a skin lightening effect on the skin by inhibiting tyrosinase activity. Thereby lightens dark spots, lessens appearance of acne scars, helps even out skin tone.

Though it is cheaper to manufacture than alpha-arbutin, the skin lightening effect is much less than that of its counterpart. For this reason, many new skin whitening products now use alpha arbutin as opposed to only beta-arbutin.

Skin Benefits Of Arbutin.

Fades hyperpigmentation.

Be it dark spots, age spots, sun spots and acne scars, arbutin can fade all kinds of hyperpigmentations, all you need is consistent usage and the right concentration.

Lightens uneven complexion.

Since arbutin inhibits tyrosinase, an enzyme that helps with melanin production, it can prevent dark spots or even help fade them, leading to a more even complexion.

Suitable for all skin types.

Arbutin not only proven its efficacy on hyperpigmentation, but also proven to be suitable for all skin types (even the most sensitive skin). It’s gentle on the skin and can be used twice daily for optimum result without causing any dryness or irritation.

Arbutin for skincare

Safer than Hydroquinone.

Arbutin is a perfect alternative to hydroquinone (which is also known for lightening the skin with numerous side effects). Although arbutin converts to hydroquinone in the body but does not possess the same risks or side effects associated with hydroquinone.

Safe to use with other skincare products.

Arbutin not only being skin friendly but also friendly with other skincare ingredients.
There are no known negative interactions between arbutin and other skincare ingredients. Arbutin even works more better when combined with other skincare ingredients like vitamin C, Retinol, AHA,s etc.

Is Arbutin Safe For The Skin Lightening?

There have been some controversies about some relativeness between alpha arbutin and hydroquinone. However several studies has proven that arbutin is completely safe to use for skin lightening as it is 100% natural and derived from bear berry plant, which makes it completely safe to use as long as you want.

According to this study, alpha arbutin has proven to be a safe skin lightening ingredient, as it showed no inhibitory effect on HMV-II cell growth at a concentration below 1.0 mM.

Also, another research test was carried out on a mouse using both hydroquinone and alpha arbutin, results showed that arbutin had no effect on the differentiation of melanocytes, and only suppressed melanogenesis (melanin forming cells).

Does Arbutin Relate To Hydroquinone?

Arbutin is a naturally occurring derivative of hydroquinone. It is believed to be one of the best alternatives to hydroquinone. That being said, it provides the same skin-lightening effect of hydroquinone but does not possess the same risks or side effects.

Is Arbutin Really Suitable For All Skin Types?

Arbutin is generally great for all skin types.(even to the most sensitive skin).
Arbutin on it’s own is gentle and non-comedogenic and easy to include in variety of different formulations, such as serums, creams, face masks and peels.

However, just like we keep advising. It’s always important to go through the ingredients list of any product before purchasing. This is to check for any ingredient not suitable for your skin type or you could be allergic to.

Where Can Arbutin be Found?

Arbutin can be found in serums, creams, lotions, face masks and peels all for the purpose of inhibiting melanin production and tackling hyperpigmentation.

Read: Here’s The Best Alpha Arbutin Serums In The Market

How Often Should I Use Alpha Arbutin Products?

Two times daily is ideal (AM & PM).
In the morning and at night before retiring to bed. However, we strongly advise you should use a sunscreen during the day to protect your skin from the dangerous UV rays of the sun while using arbutin skincare product or any other skin lightening product.

Is Arbutin Safe To Use Alongside Other Skincare Ingredients?

Not only is arbutin gentle on the skin, but also friendly with other skincare ingredients. Infact arbutin even works more better when combined with other skincare ingredients like vitamin C, Retinol, AHA,s etc. This enhances it’s effectiveness towards tackling hyperpigmentation. That being said, there are no known negative interactions between arbutin and other skincare ingredients.

How Long Till I See Results While Using Alpha Arbutin Products?

It all depends on your skin type and severity of pigmentation being treated.
But with continual usage visible lightening effects can be seen as early as 4 weeks.

Is Arbutin Resistant To Sun?

No skincare ingredient is resistant to direct sunlight, as this depletes their potency which renders them ineffective. Therefore its recommend you should put away all your skincare products away from sunlight and store them in a cool dry place.

Arbutin Side Effects.

Arbutin has been tagged safe for skin lightening as it possesses no harmful substances that can cause havoc to the skin even with a long-term usage.

If you happen to experience some ugly reaction while using arbutin products, you should check the ingredients list to see if there’s any other ingredient you’re allergic to.

Wrapping it up.

Arbutin is one of the safest skin lightening ingredient today, which is suitable for all skin types without adverse side effects. This makes it an effective solution for skin problems concerning dark spots and melanin overproduction.

It lightens hyperpigmentation and evens the skin. Leaving the skin visibly brighten and healthy. Hyperpigmentations and uneven skintone can negatively affect person’s self-esteem, but this issues can be remedied with skin lightening products especially the one that contains arbutin.

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