Arbutin is a naturally occurring compound found in many plants such as barberry, mulberry, pomegranate, cranberry, and wheat. It is the derivative of hydroquinone without irritation and burning that normally comes with hydroquinone.
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Benefits of Arbutin:
- Helps with hyperpigmentation and melasma: arbutin works by slowly releasing hydroquinone over time, stopping tyrosinase, the enzyme that helps with the production of melanin in the skin.
- It can also help with pigmentation caused from sun damage and acne scars.
- Antioxidant: arbutin has antioxidant properties that enable it to scavenge free radicals, but not as effective as Vitamin C.
- It is the best alternative to hydroquinone because HQ can be aggressive and can lead to pigmentation.
- It can brighten skin.
Cons of using Arbutin:
- Higher concentration can sometimes lead to paradoxical hyperpigmentation.
Different types of Arbutin:
1. Alpha arbutin: this is a more potent form of arbutin. It is water-soluble and has antioxidant properties. It can help with pigmentation and is safe for all skin types and skin colors.
2. Beta arbutin: this is also another form of arbutin and can address the problems of pigmentation, but alpha arbutin is shown to be more effective than beta arbutin.
3. Deoxyarbutin: deoxyarbutin is another potent form of arbutin, it has been shown to reduce the effects of pigmentation. It is also less irritating and is less toxic to cells.
Who all can use it?
Arbutin is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin and skin of colour, but make sure to do still conduct a patch test to be on the safe side.
What skincare ingredients can you mix with Arbutin?
- Retinol and retinoids
- Vitamin C
- Kojic acid (can be irritating)
- Azelaic acid
- Hyaluronic acid
- Licorice root. (another depigmenting ingredient)
- Tranexamic acid.
How to choose the best arbutin?
Look for arbutin or alpha arbutin-based products. You can also look for products that contains another depigmenting ingredient like kojic acid, tranexamic acid, retinol, vitamin C, and niacinamide along with arbutin. A combination of all these ingredients can decrease hyperpigmentation.
How to add Arbutin to my skincare routine?
Some things to look into before using Arbutin?
- Make sure to conduct a patch test
- A, B, C’s of skincare: always look into retinol and vitamin C as they are powerful antioxidants and can cause irritation. Always start with niacinamide and then proceed to other forms of actives,
- Toner is not really necessary.
- Chemical exfoliants can be used 1-2 or 3 times a week depending on your skin type.
- Moisturize and apply sunscreen
- Arbutin can be used twice a day (in the morning and night)
- The skincare routine down below is how you can mix arbutin and hydroxy acids without any irritation.
- Use a gentle cleanser
- Apply your skincare actives such as Niacinamide or vitamin C and combine it with arbutin
- Moisturize and then apply sunscreen
- Apply AHA/BHA/PHAs. Mandelic acid is best for sensitive skin and skin of colour.
- Apply arbutin can also be used along with retinol, niacinamide, or vitamin C.
Note: you can combine arbutin with any of these skincare actives since it’s safe and non-irritating.
- Tip 1: If you’re sensitive to arbutin, you can use alpha arbutin or deoxyarbutin and combine them with other actives such as vitamin C and retinol or their derivatives.
- Tip 2: Since your using AHA/BHA/PHAs 1-2 times a week, you can modify your skincare actives such as Vitamin C or Retinol. For example:
- Alternate nights: on 1st night you can use your AHA/BHA/PHAs with retinol along with arbutin. On the 2nd night, you can use your AHA/BHA/PHAs with Vitamin C along with arbutin or alpha arbutin.
Arbutin is a great alternative to hydroquinone if you’re allergic to it. It can take weeks to months for you to see results when using this ingredient.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Arbutin safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding?
No, arbutin is not safe for pregnancy and breastfeeding. You can go for other skincare actives such as vitamin C, azelaic acid, and niacinamide. These actives can also help with hyperpigmentation.
Does Arbutin cause purging?
No, arbutin does not cause purging because it doesn’t increase cell turnover rate. AHAs, BHAs, LHAs, PHAs, retinoids, azelaic acid, etc are the only actives that can cause purging.
Can I use Arbutin with tretinoin?
Yes, it is safe to use alpha arbutin with tretinoin. Since arbutin is a gentle ingredient it can be used in the morning and tretinoin can be used at night.
Does Arbutin cause pimples?
Arbutin could cause pimples or breakouts if you have sensitive skin or an allergic reaction to the product.
Can I use arbutin with epiduo?
Yes, it is safe to use arbutin with epidou because arbutin does not cause any irritation or burning sensation to the skin. You can use arbutin in the morning and epidou at night followed by a moisturizer.
Can I use arbutin with mandelic acid?
Yes, it is safe to use arbutin with mandelic acid because it does not cause any irritation or burning sensation to the skin. You can use it in the morning and also at night along with mandelic acid followed by a moisturizer. Both of these skincare ingredients can be very effective at decreasing pigmentation and brightening the skin.
- Use a cleanser.
- Apply your skincare active like niacinamide or arbutin.
- Use a moisturizer and then finish it off with sunscreen.
- Start with a gentle cleanser.
- Use mandelic acid
- Apply your skincare active like retinol or arbutin, and
- Then finish it off with a moisturizer.
Can I use arbutin with differin?
Yes, you can use arbutin with differin as long as you use them both at separate times of the day. You can use arbutin in the morning and differin at night followed by a moisturizer.
Can I use arbutin with clindamycin?
Yes, it is safe to use arbutin with clindamycin as long as you use them both at separate times of the day. Arbutin is a safe and non-irritating active and using it with clindamycin won’t cause any harm. You can use arbutin in the morning and also at night along with clindamycin (if you do not have any irritation) followed by a moisturizer.
- Use a cleanser.
- Toner is optional
- Start with your skincare actives like vitamin C or arbutin.
- Use a moisturizer and then sunscreen.
- Use arbutin, and then
- Apply clindamycin and finish it off with a moisturizer.
If you do experience any irritation after using arbutin and clindamycin, then use arbutin only in the morning.
Can I use arbutin with pycnogenol?
Yes, arbutin should be safe to use with pycnogenol if you use them both at separate times of the day. You can use arbutin in the morning and pycnogenol at night. You can use them both at the same time if you do not experience any irritation.