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Alpha Arbutin - An Advanced Skin Lightening Active

by Rashi Bahel Mehra |

Actives are new ingredient heroes which are revolutionizing the whole skin care game and taking skin care to the next level. Active ingredients are incorporated in a product to target specific problems, for which they are known and made to treat. One of such Active ingredients is Alpha Arbutin, which is one of the World’s most popular Actives to effectively reduce pigmentation.

Alpha Arbutin is an advanced skin lightening Active, when added in formula makes one of the best & most effective formulas of all. Its ability to inhibit melanin production in the body makes it special Active among others. 

In this blog get to know all about our world renowned Active - Alpha Arbutin. 

What is Alpha Arbutin?

Arbutin is a naturally occurring chemical found in a variety of plants, including bearberry, mulberry, and pomegranate. Alpha Arbutin is the chemically synthesised version of this plant extract. It is a derivative of hydroquinone, which is one of the most effective and safe skin-lightening and spot-fading Active. It is a more stable and effective version of arbutin. It not only treats existing pigmentation but also prevents UV-induced pigmentation. Ensuring lighter & an even skin tone.


Benefits of Alpha Arbutin for Skin:

Reduces pigmentation

Arbutin reduces pigmentation by stopping any extra melanin production as it blocks the production of tyrosinase (an enzyme responsible for melanin production). 

Fades acne scars and discoloration

It rescues you from acne scars, corrects discoloration without causing any irritation, and provides an even skin tone without any harsh effects. 

Fades Sun Spots!

 Apart from skin lightening & brightening properties, one of its topmost abilities is to fade sunspots and target discoloration.

An antioxidant having anti-inflammatory properties

 It is also known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which protect cells against the effects of free radicals and reduce post-inflammatory pigmentation. 


Safe for sensitive skin

It is much gentle on the skin since it slowly releases its active component- Hydroquinone, and therefore can be used for sensitive skin. 


Alpha Arbutin for Lips

Lips are the most delicate parts of our body, having 3-5 layers which is why they get affected the most due to external, environmental as well as internal aggressors! They require additional care and a different regime altogether! Lip concerns can be addressed with specialized lip care products catering to lip skin!


Incorporating Alpha Arbutin in your Lip care regime can surely take you steps further in attaining healthy lips! 


Can help in removing lip pigmentation! 


By stopping the production of excess melanin, Alpha Arbutin treats severe pigmentation and makes lips and skin visibly lighter! Alpha Arbutin is water-based so it is advisable to look for lip cleansers and lip washes that are effective and contain the prescribed percentage of Alpha Arbutin! Paired with PHA Lactobionic Acid makes it much more effective in terms of cleansing lips

Does not harm the lip barrier!

Being sensitive-skin-friendly, it is safe to use on lip skin as it does not harm the lip barrier or alter it in any case! So it is recommended to use it in your lip care routine to treat dark and pigmented lips!

Comparison between healthy and damaged lip barrier

It can help in reducing sun damage on Lips! 

Sun and its UV rays make Lips dark and dry, Alpha Arbutin can help in healing them and removing the damage caused by other free radicals!


Lips getting exposed to sun rays

Alpha Arbutin can help with Smoker’s Lips!

Smoking not only damages your liver but your lips too! Alpha Arbutin can help in treating lip lines and smoker lips. Melasma patches, spots, and darkness can be reduced by incorporating alpha-arbutin into your lip care regime!


A girl smoking which is a root cause of dark lips


How long does it take for Alpha Arbutin to work?

Although you cannot set a definite timeline for an active because your skin plays a major role here, you can see the difference within 4-5 weeks and if the active is combined with other potential pigmentation reduction actives like PHA Lactobionic Acid can help you a lot in lightening skin and lip pigmentation in a much faster time.


Layering Alpha Arbutin with other actives: 

People get worked up on how well Alpha Arbutin works with other actives or not, does it cause any side effects, whether it can be mixed with other actives, or is used before or after them so we made it easy for you! Let us understand how it works with other actives out there!

Alpha Arbutin VS Kojic acid

Kojic acid is procured from various kinds of fungi, it also inhibits tyrosinase and stops excess melanin production! Since its storage and shelf life are very little it becomes a task to handle it! 


Alpha Arbutin can be used with Kojic acid, they both do the same work and inhibit tyrosinase. If used one after the other, Alpha Arbutin should be used before kojic acid!


Speaking in terms of superiority, Although both of these work well for different individuals, Alpha Arbutin is preferred because kojic acid has a very little shelf life! 


They both can definitely work well together by increasing each other’s effectiveness to remove pigmentation! 


Since Lips are more delicate than other body parts, Alpha Arbutin is considered safe in treating lip pigmentation!


Alpha Arbutin and Vitamin C

Vitamin C, also known as L-ascorbic acid is found in various fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C targets- Pollution and UV radiation. Vitamin C contains antioxidants that neutralize free radicals! It naturally boosts collagen and increases the skin's firmness and elasticity!


Combining them will help you achieve desired results faster but since vitamin C is oil-based and Alpha Arbutin is water-based, it is advised to use alpha arbutin first and then follow it up with Vitamin-C!


Alpha Arbutin and Retinol

Although Retinol and Alpha Arbutin work well together in removing acne and making the skin glow, they fade away dark spots and protect the skin, Retinol can cause dryness when they come into contact with our lips and can even trigger itching, and redness plus retinol should also not be mixed with any form of exfoliation. You must not scrub or brush immediately after putting the retinol on your skin! It is advised to use Pracaxi seed oil and Palmitoyl tripeptide to treat them! 

 Alpha Arbutin Vs Kojic Acid & Vitamin C

Alpha Arbutin and Niacinamide

Niacinamide is a key ingredient when it comes to removing acne marks and treating dark spots! Alpha arbutin and niacinamide make a perfect duo. Both are water-based and often formulated to feel lightweight for the skin. They can restore hydration and the production of collagen. When used together, the build-up of dead cells is exfoliated away providing you with healthier skin!

Niacinamide boosts your body’s natural collagen production, it helps your lips instantly appear plumper! Combining it with Alpha Arbutin for lips totally depends on the concentration of both of the active ingredients and your skin tolerance!


Alpha Arbutin and Hyaluronic Acid!

Hyaluronic Acid has an excellent skin-hydrating property, Hyaluronic acid prepares your skin to absorb alpha-arbutin more effectively, Both of them used together will surely leave your skin looking clear, clean, and pigmentation free!


When it comes to Lips, with age, the collagen naturally decreases. Using lip products with hyaluronic acid binds water to pull in hydration on lips, making them replenished and plump. 


Things to keep in mind- 

  1. Always apply sunscreen after applying Alpha Arbutin because it limits melanin production leaving skin prone to sun damage!
  2. It is always advised to take a patch test before trying a product that has an active ingredient!
  3. Never mix more than two high-performing active ingredients together!
  4. Ascorbic acid does not go well along with Niacinamide! 

Side effects of Alpha Arbutin 

Since it is a gentler version of Hydroquinone, it is safe to use and does not have any potential side effects but people who suffer from extreme acne or rosacea might have to consult their doctor first before incorporating Alpha Arbutin in their regime! Also, Alpha Arbutin is a derivative of Hydroquinone which is usually not recommended during pregnancy! So, if you are expecting, kindly take a green signal from your doctor first! 



With the contemporary wave of active ingredients in skin care products, contemplating ingredients can feel like a chemistry lesson, Leaving you with more questions than answers! But looking for specific skin solutions can make it easy for you to understand actives as they are doing the major problem-solving work. Alpha Arbutin can fade pigmentation and hyperpigmentation! Incorporating it into your regime can do wonders for your skin and lips! 


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