What is it?
If your main skin concerns are hyperpigmentation, discoloration, scarring, dark spots or a generally uneven skin tone, alpha arbutin may be the missing ingredient on your top shelf. Safe for all skin types, it brightens skin without bleaching it – a distinction worth noting, as bleaching tends to have harsh effects on your skin. Hydroquinone, once highly regarded as a key ingredient for skin lightening, is known to kill pigment-producing cells, whereas arbutin simply slows them down, which makes it a more mild and safe alternative.
Want to know a little more science behind it?
Arbutin, the b-D-glucopyranoside derivative of hydroquinone, is a plant-derived compound found in the dried leaves of a number of different plant species such as bearberry, blueberry, cranberry, and pear varieties. Its efficacy lies in its ability to inhibit tyrosinase, the enzymes contained within pigment-producing cells called melanocytes, and it is less cytotoxic than hydroquinone. It also slows down the maturation of melanosomes, the organelles in which melanin is deposited and synthesised. But take head – although effective, high concentrations may result in hyperpigmentation.
How does it help your skin?
Alpha arbutin, which is chemically synthesised, has widely replaced its naturally occurring counterpart in topical skin treatments, as studies have shown it to be a more effective and stable skin-brightening solution. Since it is more gentle on the skin than other skin-brightening ingredients, and its active component is released slowly, it's ideal for sensitive skin, but suitable for all skin types. Benefits include an improved, radiant and more even skin tone; sun protection, as a result of alpha arbutin reducing darkening after sun exposure, and faded acne scarring or discolouration. For the best results, use morning and night – or as suggested by your preferred product.
SHOP THE INGREDIENT: Alpha Arbutin Serum