What Is Alpha Arbutin?

What is alpha arbutin?

Extracted from plants such as bearberries, blueberries, and cranberries, alpha arbutin is a safe skin brightening ingredient which helps to fade scars and pigmentation left behind by breakouts and sun damage. 

How does it work?

Alpha arbutin is frequently marketed as a safer alternative to hydroquinone (a popular skin-lightening ingredient that has been banned in Europe and Australia). It has similar results in brightening skin but without the dangerous bleaching process. Instead, it reduces skin’s pigment production by suppressing the enzymes that stimulate melanin. This also slows down the process by which UV light causes pigmentation, so it both prevents and treats pigmentation issues. 

Why should I use it?

If you experience post-blemish redness, age spots, or acne scars then alpha arbutin is very effective at treating these kinds of pigmentation. It also helps to even out skin tone and reduce overall redness. If you have sensitive skin, then it’s worth giving alpha arbutin a try since it’s known for being gentler than other skin brighteners like retinol and glycolic acid. 

When should I use it?

Alpha arbutin works well for all skin types and tones. To boost its benefits, apply it alongside vitamin C, or after exfoliating with an AHA (which will improve its absorption). It can be worn day and/or night, and should be applied to clean dry skin, before moisturising. It’s important to remember that fading pigmentation takes time – you won’t see results straight away but have patience and persevere with daily use. 

Beauty editor’s picks

Since alpha arbutin has a greater effect when paired with vitamin C, this is an ideal option if you’re after quick results. The winning combination improves skin’s appearance on all fronts, transforming and evening skin tone, resulting in a noticeable glow. 

Boosted with hyaluronic acid to improve its absorption, this light serum delivers a dose of hydration alongside its skin-brightening benefits. The fast-absorbing fluid layers easily under other products and leads to a healthy glow and more even tone with daily use.