Arbutin Vs. Hydroquinone: What’s the Difference?

Jun. 2, 2020
Dark spots, hyperpigmentation and acne scars are some of the top skin concerns we see. What if there was a safe product that could help with these issues? Keep reading to know about the benefits of arbutin, the natural skin lightening alternative to hydroquinone.
What Is Arbutin?
Arbutin is a safe and effective skin lightening solution that you’ve probably never heard of! Derived from hydroquinone, this powerful molecule is extracted from a variety of berry plant species including the bearberry, blueberry, mulberry and cranberry. Often marketed as alpha arbutin, you receive the skin-lightening benefits of hydroquinone without any of the associated risks. Arbutin can achieve this brightening skin results because it is a tyrosinase inhibitor. This means that it blocks or reduces the production of pigment by suppressing the enzymes that stimulate melanin production when exposed to UV rays. 
Many skincare products that you've probably tried already include this beneficial brightener. Great for post-blemish redness, dark spots, and acne scars, arbutin is a great alternative to hydroquinone for any kind of pigmentation or unevenness. People with sensitive skin can also benefit from its use because it’s gentle enough for all skin types.  
Risks Associated with Hydroquinone 
While arbutin is relatively risk free and safe to use, you may have heard some questionable and even negative things about the compound it’s derived from—hydroquinone. Hydroquinone has been banned in many countries including Japan, the UK and Australia. Why? While hydroquinone has been shown to effectively reduce and lighten dark spots, it does so with risks. Hydroquinone uses a “bleaching” process that is quite potent when applied to the skin. 
One of these risks is “halo spots” appearing around the treatment areas. While the hydroquinone treats the darkened skin, any skin surrounding that area that comes in contact with the product will be lightened, creating a halo effect. Another possible side effect that can occur with long-term use is a condition called ochronosis, which ironically discolors the skin. Many pregnant women also choose to skip the use of hydroquinone as many doctors say it’s unsafe. But the biggest issue we’ve seen with hydroquinone is that it has been ruled a carcinogenic by the FDA. A carcinogenic is anything that promotes carcinogenesis, or the formation of cancer. 
Benefits of Arbutin
Hyperpigmentation, age spots and acne scars are some of the most common—yet troublesome—skin conditions we can experience. While there are numerous products available that promise to lighten, brighten and even out skin tones and textures, if you have sensitive skin, these products may not work for you. Arbutin is a safe and natural way to treat pigmentation and a host of other maladies including:
  • Treatment for acne scars - post-blemish redness and scars will be effectively lightened and smoothed.
  • Gentle on sensitive skin - because arbutin’s active component is released slowly, rather than all at once, it isn’t as harsh or irritating as other skin lighteners.  
  • Can be used with other products - arbutin is gentle and natural, therefore it’s an effective product to use with your other skincare essentials. It works especially well with vitamin C and AHA’s. 
  • Can be used in the sun - because it doesn’t react with the sun, arbutin is safe to use in the summer.
  • Prevents and treats - this powerful molecule does double duty, effectively preventing new dark spots from appearing and lightening current ones.
How to Use Arbutin
Adding arbutin into your current skincare routine is easy because it works well for all skin types and tones. Because it is gentle, our experts recommend using arbutin two times a day, once in the morning and once at night, preferably before your moisturizer. Pairing it with a vitamin C based product or an AHA can further boost its benefits and even help improve absorption. Arbutin can be found in many products including creams, serums, moisturizers, and night creams so it’s really up to you on how you’d like to use it.
If you’re looking for a safe and gentle way to fade dark spots, pigmentation, and acne scars, arbutin may be right for you. It’s always advisable to speak with your dermatologist before starting any new skincare product. It’s also important to remember that fading any type of pigmentation, smoothing unevenness, or diminishing the appearance of dark spots can take time. With daily use and a little patience, you’ll begin to see a brighter, lighter, and more even skin tone! Have you tried the safe alternative to hydroquinone, arbutin?  
Best Reviews
I was so excited to try these out because I love moisturizers & I am always in search of a good one! These looked & sounded very promising! They’re from a woman owned company, completely natural, vegan, & cruelty free! However, I was quite disappointed. EARTH HARBOR - MERMAID MILK Nutrient Glow Moisturizer This moisturizer claims to give you a glow right away & it contains spirulina + matcha. I was excited about the matcha because it has so many amazing benefits for skin. It has a very whipped consistency which I like. However it always contains essential oils that were strong, although not toooo strong for my liking. But I’m really just not a fan of essential oils in my face creams. The moisturizer did make my skin appear a little brighter but the cream just sat on my face. All day long I could touch my face & still feel the cream sitting there! I hate that feeling! It also almost gave me a greasy appearance after a while? Not a fan. EARTH HARBOR - SIREN SILK Multi-Tasking Hydration Creme This one was absolutely awful. If I could give it 0 stars I would. It says to use it at night time & the apply it at least 5 minutes before bed so it can absorb on your face & not your pillow. It contains Sea Retinol + other Superherbs which normally make me love a product! But that just wasn’t enough here. First, when I put it on my face my eyes started to actually burn & I felt suffocated from the scent. It was THAT strong. Guys, I’m not being dramatic at all. The smell like attacked me it was crazy! I have never had something like that happen with a face cream! I couldn’t believe how strong the fragrance was. & to top it off, it wasn’t even a pretty smell. My husband described it as smelling like floor cleaner. But I powered through. The longer I had it on, the more “used” to the smell I got. So, I wore it overnight. But then I woke up even more upset with it! I had pilling all over my face. It almost looked like my face was peeling but it wasn’t, it was jus the cream. One thing I cannot stand about a moisturizer is pulling. That’s enough for me to throw it out! It also didn’t really even moisturize my face that well! All in all, I hated this experience. But if you want, you should try them out for yourself, don’t let my experience deter you from trying something new! I however, will be sticking with my Youth To The People Dream Mask & Superfood Whipped Moisturizer! Love those two!! YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE - Superberry Hydrate + Glow Dream Mask YOUTH TO THE PEOPLE - Superfood Air-Whip Moisture Cream 💗💗💗 @cherie@Cheriebeauty@CheriePick
We’ll Miss You!
We’ll Miss You!
To our cherie fam who has inspired us deeply over the last year and a half: thank you. We are so grateful to have been a part of your beauty journeys and the community you created with us was nothing short of amazing. It's with sadness that we announce that cherie will be closing our doors on April 8, 2021, and your posts will no longer be available. While our platform will no longer be available, we encourage our community members to continue finding ways to create and allow their authentic voices to be heard.
Wednesday Wellness 🙏🏾
Wednesday Wellness 🙏🏾
This past week has been rather hard and long for me. I ultimately decided to get back on track with my wellness plan. My main wellness goal for 2021, is to indulge in myself more. I definitely am a firm believe in “as within, so without”. I started my day with: #Four Sigmatic - Mushroom Elixir Mix with Chaga[products]#[FiveStars] I have been getting back into adaptogen and herbal medicine. What we put into our bodies is just as important as what goes on the outside. Adaptogens are apart of ancient medicinal traditions traced all over the world. I also drink Tulsi “Holy Basil” Tea. If you need a pick me up or emotional boost I highly recommend! SUNDAY RILEY - U.F.O. Ultra-Clarifying Face Oil is my treatment of choice I used during the day. Do not be afraid to use salicylic acid during the day. I applied plenty of sunscreen afterwards as well! This is a GODSEND for clearing up acne and acne scarring. It’s by far the best acne treatment I’ve tried and its mostly due to the immediate results I get. This is a dry oil, so it should be used before a heavy moisturizer or sunscreen. THE BODY SHOP - Spa of the World Thai Makrut Lime Firming Oil is a staple in my night time routine. When I want to relax and really unwind I use a body roller with this oil. It smells like a fresh key lime pie and it’s so hydrating. This is great for firming, especially when paired with a body tool. What do you do for wellness?
Double Your Lash Length With Sky High Mascara!
Double Your Lash Length With Sky High Mascara!
I bought this mascara after seeing a post about it on Facebook. I love trying out new mascaras but rarely do I find one that I will use regularly like my beloved tarte - Maneater Mascara However this stuff is good. MAYBELLINE - Lash Sensational Sky High Waterproof Mascara It gave my lashes so much volume & length they literally doubled in size! My lashes are already pretty long to begin with but this made them look amazing. The photo is after applying only one coat so I can only imagine how good they will look after two or three coats! It also didn’t clump up my lashes at all. I applied it really quickly & lazily too because I was in a rush to get ready & I was still amazed! I honestly think this is going to be my new daily mascara. It is waterproof but not the annoying kind that leaves your eyes completely black when you go to take it off. It came off really easily with my POND'S - Facial Moisturizers Dry Skin Cream which is what I’ve always used to remove my eye makeup, since I was a kid! @cherie@Cheriebeauty@CheriePick
Clear skin the gentle way?
Clear skin the gentle way?
Thank you @cheriefor this amazing gift 🤩 “buh-koo-chee-all” HERBIVORE - Bakuchiol Anti-Aging Serum I’ve already become a diehard Herbivore lover. So to receive this beauty was super exciting. When I started my acne journey on Cherie I was (and still am) a Differin Acne Gel stan. This was my choice of retinol and I wanted it strong to treat acne and boost my cellular turnover. Now that my acne is currently under control and it’s getting hot again, I definitely want something smooth and gentle. Bakuchiol is a gentler alternative to the very popular ingredient retinol. So essentially you’ll get overall youthful results for your skin. I haven’t tested this on my acne theory yet, but overall my face has been smooth and irritation free. This serum does not have a smell which I love for products of this caliber. I also love that it’s light and not drying at all. I use this at night and since i have a tolerance to retinol I use it every night. I haven’t been using it long enough to see results (about 12 weeks) but I definitely can’t wait to finish this. Have you tried Bakuchiol?