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Also-called-like-this: Beta-Arbutin
What-it-does: antioxidant, skin brightening

Official CosIng Information


A pretty well-known and often used ingredient with the magic ability to fade brown spots. It's used traditionally in Japan and can be found naturally in a couple of plants, including the leaves of pear trees, wheat and bearberry

Arbutin seems to work its magic and hinder the pigmentation process at the second step of it. An enzyme called tyrosinase is needed to create melanin (the pigment that causes the brown spots) and while several other skin lightening agents work to inhibit the synthesis of tyrosinase itself (like vitamin C or licorice), arbutin lets tyrosinase be and rather hinders the melanin-forming activity of the enzyme. (So it might be a good idea to combine arbutin with some direct tyrosinase inhibitors for more skin lightening effect.)

All in all, arbutin is one of the better-known skin brightening agents, that's probably worth a try if pigmentation is an issue for you.

Show me some proof

  • Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics February 1996, 276 (2) 765-769; Arbutin: mechanism of its depigmenting action in human melanocyte culture
  • Leslie Baumann, MD, Cosmetic Dermatology, 2nd edition, Arbutin - page 280

Products with Arbutin

Answer19 Cica Arbutin Cream Bougas Beauty Advanced Serum Good Molecules Daily Brightening Serum Tosowoong Vita Clinic Vitamin Eye Cream Benton Snail Bee High Content Mask ELIXIR COSMECEUTICALS Acticlear Eventone Serum Hada Labo Perfect 3D Gel Purid Lab. Restoring Brightening Serum innisfree Soybean Energy Essence Botanic Farm Salmon Egg Hydrogel Eye Patch Dr. Jart+ Water Drop Hydrating Moisturiser ElsheSkin Radiant Skin Serum Hada Labo Premium Whitening Essence Hada Labo Shiro-Jyun Serum Hada Labo Shirojyun Clear Lotion It's Skin Power 10 Formula Wh Effector Joanna Vargas Twilight Face Mask LadyKin Vanpir Dark Repair Youth Activator Mirae Ex8 Minutes Instant Whitening Mask Nanowhite Intensive Brightening Serum Obagi C Fx C-Therapy Night Cream Paula's Choice Resist Brightening Essence Treatment Sidmool Bee Therapy Mineral Serum Sidmool Dr. Troub Skin Returning Niaten Serum Skin Watchers Aqua Most Whitening Water Drop TIA'M Vita B3 Source innisfree Firming Energy Essence With Fermented Soybean oneoseven Core Flex Essential Liquid BERRISOM Timetox Revitalizing Essence Hada Labo Shiro-Jyun Milk Rebalance PWP BIOSKIN Hylu Collagen Vitamin Secret Key Starting Treatment Essence Sidmool Snail Brightening Liposome Essence HANNAN MEDISPA Triple Whitening Serum Missha Misa Geum Sul Overnight Cream Nature Republic Collagen Dream 70 Essence Secret Key Syn-Ake Anti Wrinkle & Whitening Emulsion Secret Key Syn-Ake Anti Wrinkle & Whitening Eye Cream Zymogen Fermented Soybean Firming Serum innisfree Brightening & Pore-Caring Serum innisfree Jeju Orchid Lotion innisfree Truecare Cica Intensive Balm oskia Renaissance Brightlight Serum Dermaceutic Mela Cream Goodal Green Tangerine Vita C Dark Spot Serum Missha M Perfect Cover Bb Cream Spf42 Pa+++ (No. 27) Obagi-C Rx System C-Clarifying Serum Sidmool Honey Berry Sparkle Serum Skin Food Platinum Grape Cell Emulsion TIA'M My Signature A+ Cream