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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

Devine Derriere Radical Dark Spot Remover Cream LTS Korea Triple Lightening Serum Pharmaclinix Lightenex® Gold Cream Pharmahealth Fair And Pink Cream Royal Beauty Collagen Serum + Vitamin C Serum Starville Whitening Cleanser Starville Whitening Cream Starville Whitening Gel Votre Lightening & Brightening Serum bea Skincare Brightening Serum bea Skincare Solar Defence SPF 30 ASDM Beverly Hills Professional Bleaching Lotion- With 10% Alpha Arbutin, Bearberry, & Papaya Enzymes Acure Brightening 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum Aselia Professional Lightening Cream Avoskin Your Skin Bae Alpha Arbutin 3% + Grapeseed CUURA Spotless Serum (Pigmentation Serum) Cleo Laboratories Whitening Intimate Serum Deconstruct Clearing Serum 2% Alpha Arbutin+ 5% Niacinamide Derma 10 Arbutin Brightening Power Doctox Ouli Scar Serum Earth Rhythm 2% Alpha Arbutin + Hyaluronic Acid - Skin Clarifying Serum Her Skin Secret Glow Water Gel Hydrator K-Glow Collagen Bright Whitening Soap Lavino Brightening Moisturizer Lilac 3x Spot Lightener Matte Skin Whitening Serum My Scheming 7% Alpha Arbutin Whitening Serum PLUM 2% Alpha Arbutin & Hyaluronic Acid Face Serum With Yuzu Lemon Fades Tan & Even-toned Skin Principia Alfa Arbutin Procsin Hydra Boom Alpha Arbutin 2% Dark Spot Corrector Queen Natural New York 7 In 1 White And Bright Super Serum Refresh Skin science Alpha Arbutin Serum Revox Alpha Arbutin 2% + Ha Revox Help Anti Dark Spot Serum Roushun Whitening Shower Gel SKIN401 Alpha Arbutin Equalizer Serum Silki 2% Alpha Arbutin + 1%hyaluronic Acid + 5% Vitamin C Skinlex 2% Alpha-Arbutin Serum Somethinc Revive Potion 3% Arbutin + Bakuchiol Serum St. Botanica Azelaic Acid Thalia Natural Beauty 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + Ha The Purest Solutions Brightening Serum Arbutin %2 + Hyaluronic Acid bea Skincare Solar Defence SPF 50 ASDM Beverly Hills Professional Gel Bleaching Lotion- With 10% Alpha Arbutin. Glycolic Acid, Bearberry & Licorice Agartha Beauty 3% Alpha Arbutin + 3% Kojic Acid + HA Aizen Pythocrystal Holybright Ampoule Avoskin Ultra Brightening Cream Be Minimalist Alpha Arbutin 0.2% Be Minimalist Alpha Arbutin 2% + Hyaluronic Acid 1%