Can I Use Vitamin C And Alpha Arbutin Together? – Here’s What To Know

Vitamin C and alpha arbutin together
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The compatibility status of vitamin C and alpha arbutin together has put some minds into curiosity.


Vitamin C and alpha arbutin shouldn’t be new to your ears, as both skincare ingredients have been in the industry for decades, helping address skin-pigmentation issues since time immemorial.

If you’re a skincare enthusiast, I bet you should be cognizant of vitamin C and alpha arbutin’s benefits to the skin. But the question remains, can both actives be used together? Keep reading to find out. But before we plunge into that, let’s briefly know about vitamin C and alpha arbutin, for those who are still new to these skincare ingredients.

What Is Vitamin C?

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant vitamin which helps improve the appearance of the skin, potentially reducing pigmentation, dullness, neutralizing free radicals and environmental aggressors and helps stimulate collagen production.

A daily application of vitamin C will help reverse sun damage (which helps potentiates your sunscreen), boost collagen production and also address minor hyperpigmentation, which leaves the skin with a wonderful glow and with improved skin texture.

Main Skin Benefits Of Vitamin C.

  • Reduces the appearance of dark spots and pigmentation.
  • Reduces the looks of wrinkles by stimulating collagen production.
  • Powerful antioxidants that fend-off free radicals and environmental aggressors.
  • Improves the appearance of red marks left on the skin from spots and breakouts.
  • Builds skin resilience to UV exposure making it able to protect itself better from the sun.

What Is Alpha Arbutin?

Alpha arbutin is naturally derived from the bearberry plant. It’s also found in cranberries, blueberries, wheat, and pears. Alpha arbutin prevents the formation of melanin, as it functions as a tyrosinase inhibitor to provide skin lightening and brightening effects. It does this by gradually but effectively reducing melanin production in the skin, which contributes to skin luminosity.

Main Skin Benefits Of Alpha Arbutin. 

  • Irrespective it’s a naturally occurring derivative of hydroquinone, it’s safe for all skin types and offers its potentials by suppressing hyperpigmentation without side effects.
  • Fades hyperpigmentation (which includes acne scars, dark spots, sunburns).
  • It evens skin complexion thereby improving overall skin tone.

Can Vitamin C And Alpha Arbutin Be Used Together? 

Vitamin C and alpha arbutin together

Yes, vitamin C and alpha arbutin are compatible together and safe for all skin types. Infact the compatibility status of both actives is top-notch. And why’s that? Vitamin C inhibits melanin synthesis by decreasing the activity of an enzyme known as tyrosinase, thereby encouraging more brighter skin complexion.

Alpha arbutin on the other hand helps inhibit the action of tyrosinase in the melanin production process. Due to its naturally occurring hydroquinone’s attributes, when it gets into the skin, it slowly releases hydroquinone in skin cells. This allows for depigmentation to occur overtime which helps address hyperpigmentation issues, but without any of the side effects associated with hydroquinone.

Tyrosinase is a group of enzymes that contributes to your skin’s pigmentation process. These enzymes are responsible for the production of melanin in the skin for the sole aim of protecting the skin from UV damages. However, it becomes a problem when melanin is overproduced, which gives rise to hyperpigmentation.

See? Both skincare ingredients play a huge impact when it comes to depigmentation towards eradication of hyperpigmentation (including melasma). That’s to say, the combination of vitamin C and alpha arbutin together offers two times more depigmentation action than using one alone. And the most fun part is, both ingredients are safe for all skin types (even the most sensitive skin)

However, for pregnant women, it is better to check with your dermatologist before using alpha arbutin, as alpha arbutin breaks down to hydroquinone when it gets into the skin may be unsafe for the fetus.

Also when it comes to vitamin C, using a high L-ascorbic acid concentration, (which is known as the purest and most potent form of vitamin C) may likely irritate the skin, especially sensitive skin. As L-ascorbic acid is acidic in nature and possesses exfoliating potentials, which can traumatize sensitive skin when used in higher concentration, example 15%-20%. It’s best advised to use L-ascorbic acid vitamin C at 10% concentration which is best suitable for all skin types, including sensitive skin. Recommended – Timeless 10% Vitamin C Serum (contains 10% L-ascorbic acid).

If you’re worried L-ascorbic acid may sensitize your skin, you can divert to vitamin C derivatives, such as ethyl ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbyl phosphatemagnesium ascorbyl phosphate, ascorbyl glucoside, tetraisopalmitate or tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, which are known to be very stable (doesn’t oxidize quickly) and non-acidic in nature, thus won’t sensitize your skin or cause inflammatory-irritation which is normally associated to L-ascorbic acid. Recommended – FaceTheory Regena C20 Serum (contains 20% ethyl ascorbic acid) or The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum 12% (contains 12% ascorbyl glucoside).

How To Use Vitamin C And Alpha Arbutin Together.

To get the most out of vitamin C and alpha arbutin together, it’s best for you to go for their serum formulas, because serums are more concentrated, thereby making them more potent and effective.

Both vitamin C and alpha arbutin can be used in a single skincare routine or used at different intervals. That’s to say, you can use vitamin C and alpha arbutin together in the same skincare routine, (vitamin C serum to be applied first, followed by alpha arbutin) that’s if they’re both water-based serums. They can also be used at different skincare routine intervals, that’s to say. Vitamin C serum in the morning, while alpha arbutin serum at night.

If your vitamin C serum is thicker in consistency than alpha arbutin serum, then start by applying alpha arbutin serum first, likewise vitamin C serum too. This is because you don’t want to reduce the absorption rate of the actives into your skin, because when a thinner skincare product is applied over a thicker one, it’s definitely going to slow the absorption rate, thereby minimizing results.

What Are The Best Vitamin C And Alpha Arbutin Serums To Use Together?

If you don’t have sensitive skin, you can go for a 15% – 20% L-ascorbic acid-based vitamin C serum. Recommended – Geek and Gorgeous C-Glow Serum (contains 15% L-ascorbic acid), SkinCeuticals 15% vitamin C Serum or Timeless 20% Vitamin C Serum. But if you have sensitive skin, and love to use L-ascorbic acid vitamin C, then you should go for a 10% L-ascorbic acid-based serum. Recommended – Timeless 10% Vitamin C Serum.

However, if you love to use vitamin C derivative serums, FaceTheory Regena C20 Serum is your best bet (contains 20% ethyl ascorbic acid) or The Ordinary Ascorbyl Glucoside Vitamin C Serum 12% (contains ascorbyl glucoside).

The best alpha arbutin serums to use In combination with vitamin C? Recommend – The Ordinary 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum or The Inkey List 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum.

In Conclusion.

Vitamin C and alpha arbutin aren’t only compatible together and safe for all skin types, but also more powerful together as they hit hyperpigmentation harder and also improve overall skin complexion for more brighter looking skin. If you’re seeking to eradicate dark spots (caused by acne scars), sunburn, and melasma, the combination of these two actives will do a great job.

Don’t forget to perform a patch test prior to commencing any product application to test for allergies and also always wear your sunscreen daily before exploring your outdoor activities to protect your skin from UV rays exposure. Remember, the sun is the devil.

UP NEXT: Can Vitamin C & Tranexamic Acid Go Together In A Skincare Routine? – Check It Out.

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