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* Glucosylatedhydroquinone, derived from the leaves of fruits such as bearberry, pear and cranberry. See Alpha Arbutin.
A natural skin lightening/whitening agent. It works by slowly releasing hydroquinone through hydrolysis, which in turn blocks Tyrosinase activity and reduces the skin’s melanin (pigmentation) production. In cosmetics, this ingredient appears in two different forms: Alpha-Arbutin or Beta-Arbutin. Due to patenting concerns, most skin care products contain plant extracts that contain Arbutin (e.g. bearberry, pear, blueberry), rather than pure Arbutin. Used in a variety of cosmetics, particularly ones aimed at lightening the skin such as lotions, crèmes, serums, cleansers, and spot treatments.
While most research strongly supports the ingredient’s ability to fade/lighten age spots and hyper-pigmentation, it is still unclear as to how much Arbutin it takes to inhibit melanin production. Overall, the general consensus is that it works as a skin lightening agent and seems to be a promising alternative to pure Hydroquinone.
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
There are many questions surrounding the safety of this ingredient. This is mainly due to the fact that it is a form of hydroquinone-a skin bleaching ingredient that has indicated a potential for causing cancer, and consequently been banned in several countries. In addition, studies have shown high doses of hydroquinone to frequently cause ochronosis (a bluish black pigmentation of skin tissue), particularly in dark skinned people. Of course, more research on hydroquinone is needed to substantiate any claims, and it still remains to be the premiere skin bleaching ingredient to the dermatological community.
Arbutin appears to be less irritating than hydroquinone when used in similar concentrations. It also is reported to cause less sun sensitivity. This is most likely due to the gradual release of hydroquinone. All in all, it is regarded as a safer and gentler alternative to pure Hydroquinone.
Recommended Products w/ Arbutin:
MD Skincare Lift & Lighten Eye Cream, Your Best Face Correct ($150)