Arbutin for Dark Spots: Can It Help Even Out Your Skin?

Imani.PrakashImani.Prakash
Sep. 16

Credit: Pixabay

Arbutin is a plant extract that can prevent melatonin from forming, helping lighten dark spots. Discover five of the best products available. 
Dark spots are a common skin complaint that can be challenging to treat. Causes can range from acne scarring to age spots, and sun exposure can make it worse. 
Arbutin is an ingredient you’ll spot in many brightening serums—find out what it is and how it works here. We review five products to introduce it to your skincare regime.

Credit: Pixabay

What is Arbutin?
Arbutin occurs naturally in various plants, such as pear and cranberry trees. It falls into the hydroquinone family.
Hydroquinone is often prescribed to treat dark spots from postinflammatory hyperpigmentation, sun spots, and more. 
Although hydroquinone has good uses, it also has a reputation—controversial skin whitening solutions often include it in some form or another.
There are two types of arbutin: beta and alpha. Research shows alpha might be stronger and more effective than the beta variety. 
You’ll likely find arbutin with other popular tried-and-true brightening agents, such as vitamin C, retinol, niacinamide, and similar compounds.
How Does Arbutin Work?
Arbutin reduces the production of tyrosinase, a type of enzyme that encourages pigment production in our skin. By doing so, it stops dark spots from forming and works to even out your skin tone. 
It also contains antioxidants, although in weaker concentrations than hydroquinone.

Credit: Pixabay

Effects of Arbutin: What Can It Do?
This plant extract can fight dark spots from a variety of causes. Plus, it’s a safer alternative to hydroquinone as it’s less toxic. Here’s what it can work for:
Treat Postinflammatory Hyperpigmentation 
Postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (PH) is a typical culprit behind dark spots, especially in people with darker skin. There are multiple causes, ranging from damage (e.g., a pimple scarring) to vitamin deficiencies. 
If you’re prone to PH, the tyrosinase-inhibiting properties of arbutin should stop dark spots from forming. 
Work Against Acne 
Arbutin is antimicrobial, which means it can target the bacteria that provoke acne. Using the skin-brightening compound could also reduce the severity of scarring. 
Improve Melasma 
Melasma describes dark spots on the face—women are more likely to suffer from it than men are, especially pregnant women or those on hormonal birth control. Arbutin is one of the standard treatment recommendations for it. 
Prevent Age Spots
Age spots, also known as sunspots, usually get worse with exposure to UV light. Arbutin can work to prevent them—along with a quality SPF!
Best Arbutin Products 
Are you ready to try it out? Here are three quality options to consider:
  • The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA
The Ordinary delivers a clinical-style serum to treat dark spots. It includes purified alpha-arbutin and hyaluronic acid, another skin-brightening ingredient. 
The concentration of arbutin is two percent. It’s also free allergens such as gluten, alcohol, parabens, and sulphates.
Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA can also even out skin tone as well as fade dark spots. It’s appropriate for all complexions, including sensitive skin.
  • Cos de BAHA AN Arbutin Niacinamide Serum 
This serum by Cos de BAHA contains beta arbutin and niacinamide at five percent apiece, one of the highest concentrations out there. 
Niacinamide, a form of vitamin B3, can smooth out uneven skin and fade discolorations and blotchiness. The formula also includes aloe vera and hyaluronic acid to limit irritation.
The AN Arbutin Niacinamide Serum also claims to minimize pores and fight acne. It’s 75 percent organic. 
  • The INKEY List Alpha Arbutin Brightening Serum
Affordable skincare brand INKEY list offers up this serum with a two-percent concentration of alpha arbutin. 
Additional ingredients include moisturizing squalane at 0.5 percent to keep your skin hydrated.
Aside from dark spots, the serum can improve dullness and rough texture. The formula is non-toxic and suits normal complexions. 
In a Nutshell 
Arbutin is an ingredient worth looking out for if you want to treat dark spots. It’s usually well-tolerated, although you should always do a patch test first to see how you react.
Remember that consistency is important when treating dark spots. Apply your product of choice, as suggested on the label. 
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