Everything You Need to Know about Arbutin According to a Skincare Expert

We spoke to our in-house cosmetic scientist, Lalita Iyer, on everything arbutin. 

What is arbutin?

Arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinone – a topical skin lightener that reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation.  Having uneven skin tone, dark marks and hyperpigmentation is fairly common.  Adding arbutin to your skincare routine is a proven ingredient to help reduce these concerns!

Arbutin is, in fact, safe despite being a derivative of hydroquinone because it slowly releases hydroquinone to the skin. The skin is not exposed to too much hydroquinone at any one time which is what contributes to its safety despite hydroquinone having a bad rep. 

Arbutin works by suppressing melanin activity of an enzyme that plays an important role in melanin production. This reduces dark spots, lightens the skin, and evens out the skin tone. 

NB – It takes about 1 to 2 months of consistent use to see results and yields maximum results. 

Benefits of Arbutin

  1. Brightens Complexion

Arbutin evens and brightens your complexion making your skin look healthier and vibrant.

  1. Less Aggressive than Hydroquinone 

Hydroquinone used in skin care products is aggressive, and can badly damage the skin if used incorrectly. Arbutin on the other hand is safer, more natural derivative of hydroquinone, with all the great results without  the side effects. 

  1. Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Arbutin prevents extra production of melanin, thereby reducing hyperpigmentation and dark marks evening out the skin tone. 

 Types of arbutin

  1. Alpha arbutin

Alpha arbutin is synthesized in the lab and safe for use in concentrations of 2% in skincare products. 

However, if you have some concerns ensure to book a one-on-one consultation with our in-house skincare therapist, Joyce Waiharo, here to get your questions answered and receive expert guidance on your options especially if you’re a mom-to-be.  

  1. Beta arbutin

Beta arbutin is a natural alternative to alpha arbutin. It’s found in the leaves of the bearberry, cranberry, and pomegranate among other plants, and is safe for use in concentrations of up to 7% in skincare products. 

3 ways to add arbutin to your skincare routine

  1. Use 1 – 2 times a day

Arbutin can be used in the AM and PM. Ensure to work your way up in terms of frequency to see how your skin is responding and act accordingly. 

  1. Build an intentional skincare routine

The best way to get the most out of your skincare routine is to ensure you’re using the right products and that you’re layering them well. Check out some expert tips on how to build a skincare routine here or take our skin quiz. If you’re using arbutin in serum form and you have normal skin, cleanse then follow up with moisturizer and SPF. 

  1. Layer well

Arbutin can be used alongside hyaluronic acid to enhance absorption into the skin. It can also be used alongside Vitamin C, Niacinamide and AHAs and BHAs

Learnt something new? Let us know in the comments 🙂

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