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What-it-does: antioxidant, skin brightening


An optical isomer of naturally occurring arbutin (or beta-arbutin). Just like its sibling, alpha-arbutin is also a skin-brightening, depigmenting agent.

Researching the difference between the two kinds of arbutin, you can read in multiple places on the internet that alpha-arbutin is stronger in effect. Unfortunately, it's never backed up with a credible source. :(  Our own research resulted in conflicting results: a study from 1995 found that alpha-arbutin is 10x as effective on mouse melanoma as beta-arbutin. On the other hand, a more recent study from 2015 found that beta-arbutin is more effective both on mouse melanoma cells and on human melanoma cells (btw, kojic acid was the most effective on human melanoma cells).  

None of the studies we could find is in-vivo (made on real people) anyways, so who knows. We think you cannot go wrong with trying both beta- and alpha-arbutin and see if one works better for you than the other. 

Show me some proof

  • 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

Products with a known amount of Alpha-Arbutin

Other products with Alpha-Arbutin

Skinlex 2% Alpha-Arbutin Serum The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + Ha Garden of Wisdom Alpha Arbutin 2% And Kojic Acid 1% Serum modest. Alpha-Arbutin + B3 WhiteRx Activated Serum MD Skinical B3 Serum SkinMedica Tns Essential Serum BioAqua Aloe Vera 92% Soothing Gel Noreva Anti-Dark Spot Night Care Ishizawa - SHIGAISEN YOHOU Non-Chemical UV Gel Spf30 Pa+++ Kayman Beauty Rosa Glow Treatment Essence MooGoo Brightening Cream MD Complete Spot Corrector Roushun beauty Vitamin C Serum Urban Skin Rx Clear Complexion Acne Serum + Spot Treatment InstaNatural Pro-Radiant Skin Brightening Serum Sidmool Alpha Whitening Power Ampoule Skin better Even Tone Correcting Serum™ Derma E Radiance Brightening Serum Brickell Men's Products Repairing Night Serum For Men First Aid Beauty 5 In 1 Eye Cream RevivSerums Ultimate Serum iS Clinical White Lightening Complex Mesoestetic Melanogel Antispot Cream Sunday Riley Tidal Brightening Enzyme Water Cream Urban Skin Rx Dark Spot Rapid Repair Retinol Treatment NuGene Eye Serum Skin&Lab Vita-C Essence Dermaceutic Yellow Cream Herbery Earth Raw Honey Skin Lotion Pasjel Precious Skin Body Cream Mesoestetic Dermamelan Masque Sidmool Honey Berry Sparkle Serum Urban Skin Rx Hydranutrient Radiance Restore Oil YOU Skincare Clarifying Glow Serum Haze Lightweight Uv Moisturiser Urban Skin Rx Even Tone Cleansing Bar Urban Skin Rx Purifying 2-In-1 Pumpkin Pore Detox Mask And Scrub Sidmool Bee Therapy Mineral Serum Sidmool Snail Brightening Liposome Essence Sidmool Redcure Ruddyderm Serum snail white Gold Your Best Face (YBF-Skincare) Correct Eye Cream