Derived from plants such as cranberries, blueberries or bearberries, alpha-arbutin is used as a lightening agent in face and body care. This molecule helps reduce hyperpigmentation and skin marks resulting from overexposure to the sun, acne outbreaks or the natural aging of the skin. Here are some tips on how to integrate this active ingredient into your routine.
Arbutin Acid, Short Description.
Arbutin acid, or alpha-arbutin, is a safe and natural alternative to hydroquinone, a whitening agent that has been banned in many countries and areas, including Europe, since March 2001, due to its carcinogenic potential.
The effectiveness of alpha-arbutin on pigmentation spots is due to its high affinity with the activity of tyrosinase, the enzyme that stimulates melanin synthesis in the skin. As a reminder, melanin is the pigment responsible for the brown color. When too much melanin is produced in a localized area, it leads to the formation of persistent brown spots on the skin's surface. This phenomenon has a name: hyperpigmentation. Alpha-arbutin inhibits the overproduction of melanin and fades the spots already present, as well as any skin marks left by imperfections.
In addition, this active ingredient has an antioxidant power that helps the skin defend itself against attacks by free radicals. These highly reactive molecules accelerate skin aging.
The Various Care Products With Arbutin Acid.
Acne marks, sun spots, pregnancy masks are all skin irregularities that can affect the uniformity of the complexion and sometimes cause a certain amount of discomfort for the individuals affected. In order to fade these marks of all kinds, different formulations contain alpha-arbutin and are now distributed on the cosmetic market. This active ingredient can be found in creams, lotions, tonics, aqueous serums or even night masks.
To observe an efficiency on the skin, the arbutin acid must be at least concentrated at 0.2% in a cosmetic formula. In general, serums are the formulations that have a higher concentration of active ingredients and therefore also of alpha-arbutin.
Note: According to a 2015 report, the SCCS (Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety) considers the use of alpha-arbutin in cosmetic products to be safe for consumers at a concentration of up to 2% in face creams and up to 0.5% in body milks.
How Do You Include Arbutin Acid in Your Daily Routine?
Areas of Application:
An alpha-arbutin treatment can be applied to the entire face, avoiding the mouth, lips or eyes. It can also be used locally, only on areas affected by hyperpigmentation as a spot treatment.
Frequency of Application:
Arbutin acid is not a photo-sensitizing substance. It does not increase skin sensitivity to the sun's UV rays. Thus, you can apply a care containing this active ingredient morning and evening. However, make sure you protect your skin every morning with a broad spectrum sun protection.
The Modes of Application According to the Galenics Used:
Generally, serums are more concentrated in active ingredients than creams. To apply a serum, pour 3 to 7 drops into the palm of your hands. Using your fingertips, apply the treatment, spreading it evenly over your face and neck. Massage gently. Some serums have a high alpha-arbutin content and are used as a spot treatment for persistent hyperpigmentation. To apply an alpha-arbutin cream, take a small amount of the product and spread it over the entire face. Gently massage it in. If you use a body cream, apply a sufficient amount to dark areas such as inner thighs, underarms, bikini line, etc.
Typology Hyperpigmentation Serum.
The hyperpigmentation serum contains 2% alpha-arbutin acid, as well as lemon extract, which is known for its lightening properties. It helps reduce the appearance of brown spots and acne marks. We advise you to apply a few drops morning and evening on your face after cleansing and drying. Then, gently massage the face and neck using circular motions. Afterwards, apply a moisturizing cream appropriate for your skin type. We recommend that you use this serum daily for at least 6 weeks in order to notice its effects.
Note: This serum can also be applied to other parts of the body, such as the back, which is often affected by acne, or the underarms, which are blackened by repeated shaving.
Rapport du CSSC sur l'alpha-arbutine (22 juillet 2015).
KAULPIBOON J. & al. Optimization of amylomaltase for the synthesis of alpha-arbutin derivatives as tyrosinase inhibitors. Carbohydrate Research (2020).
MOHAMMADAMINI H. & al. A comprehensive review of the therapeutic potential of alpha-arbutin. Phytotherapy Research (2021).