CAS #: 84380-01-8 | EC #: 283-934-3
Chemical/IUPAC Name: 4-Hydroxyphenyl-Alpha-D-Glucopyranoside

Quick Facts

  • Extracted from plants such as blueberries and cranberries that provide brightening benefits to the complexion
  • Known as a safer alternative to hydroquinone which is banned in Europe and Australia
  • Can reduce pigmentation in dark spots, acne scars, age spots and post-inflammation redness
  • Praised for its beneficial ability to improve absorption of other ingredients, such as vitamin C 

Who can use it?

Alpha-arbutin works well with all skin types and tones, just perform the standard 24 hours patch test before applying it to the skin will prevent any unwanted reactions.

What is Alpha-Arbutin?

Alpha-arbutin is a skin brightening agent by reducing the appearance of pigmentation by suppressing the enzymes that stimulate the melanin to overproduce resulting in the dark spots to become more noticeable. It can also help slow down the effects of UV light reaching the lower layers of the skin and causing more damage. Overall the benefits of alpha-arbutin is to prevent and treat the overall uneven tone of skin that has the results of sun damage, age spots and redness caused by minor surface injuries and breakouts. It is also known for being gentler to the skin compared to other brightening ingredients such as glycolic acid and retinol making AA a reliable and easy ingredient to incorporate into an everyday skincare routine.

Side effects of Alpha-Arbutin

There are in fact two variants of arbutin, Alpha and Beta, both of which still lacking in the credible scientific backing to share which type performs best. Having said that you will still find both alternatives found in skincare formulations and each provide impressive results.

Scientific Evidence of Alpha-Arbutin

  • Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, Vol. 27 (2004) No. 4 P 510-514, Inhibitory Effects of α-Arbutin on Melanin Synthesis in Cultured Human Melanoma Cells and a Three-Dimensional Human Skin Model
  • Masataka Funayama, Hirokuni Arakawa, Ryohei Yamamoto, Toyokazu Nishino, Takashi Shin & Sawao Murao (1995) Effects of α- and β-Arbutin on Activity of Tyrosinases from Mushroom and Mouse Melanoma, Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry, 59:1, 143-144
  • Planta Med Lett 2015; 2(01): e39-e41, Assessment of the Effect of Arbutin Isomers and Kojic Acid on Melanin Production, Tyrosinase Activity, and Tyrosinase Expression in B16-4A5 and HMV-II Melanoma Cells


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