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What is Alpha Arbutin?

Alpha Arbutin is a naturally occurring derivative of hydroquinone, a popular skin-lightening agent, extracted from dried plant leaves like blueberry, cranberry, and bearberry. It is known for its effectiveness in reducing pigmentation and spots caused by acne or sun damage, making it an efficient skin-lightening option.

How does this ingredient work in skincare?

Alpha Arbutin works in skincare through a scientific mechanism that involves inhibiting the enzyme called tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is crucial for melanin production in the skin, and by inhibiting its activity, Alpha Arbutin effectively reduces the formation of melanin. Melanin is responsible for the pigmentation of the skin, so by decreasing its production, Alpha Arbutin helps in lightening dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and promoting a more even skin tone.

How does this ingredient compare to others?

Alpha Arbutin is considered a safer alternative to traditional skin-lightening agents like hydroquinone. It exerts its effects without the potential side effects associated with hydroquinone, such as irritation or rebound pigmentation. This makes Alpha Arbutin a gentle yet effective option for those seeking to address pigmentation concerns.

Potential benefits of this ingredient for the skin

  • Skin Brightening: By inhibiting melanin production, Alpha Arbutin helps lighten dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone, leading to a brighter complexion.
  • Reduction of Dark Spots: It effectively targets and reduces the appearance of dark spots caused by acne scars, sun damage, or other forms of hyperpigmentation.
  • Even Skin Tone: Alpha Arbutin promotes a more uniform skin tone by reducing the contrast between darker and lighter areas of the skin.
  • Gentle Lightening: Unlike some other skin-lightening agents, Alpha Arbutin is gentle on the skin and less likely to cause irritation or sensitivity.
  • Hydration: Some formulations of Alpha Arbutin also include hydrating properties, helping to keep the skin moisturized and supple.
  • Anti-Aging: By improving skin tone and reducing the appearance of pigmentation, Alpha Arbutin can contribute to a more youthful and radiant complexion.

Products we use this ingredient in

Turmeric Hesperidin Fading Serum


  • Boo, Yong Chool. “Arbutin as a Skin Depigmenting Agent with Antimelanogenic and Antioxidant Properties.” Antioxidants (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 10,7 1129. 15 Jul. 2021, doi:10.3390/antiox10071129
  • Saeedi, Majid et al. “A comprehensive review of the therapeutic potential of α-arbutin.” Phytotherapy research : PTR vol. 35,8 (2021): 4136-4154. doi:10.1002/ptr.7076
  • Sccs, and Gisela H Degen. “Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Consumer safety (SCCS)--Opinion on the safety of the use of α-arbutin in cosmetic products.” Regulatory toxicology and pharmacology : RTP vol. 74 (2016): 75-6. doi:10.1016/j.yrtph.2015.11.008