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Associations actifs acide arbutine.

Which Active Ingredients Can I Combine with Arbutin Acid?

Alpha arbutin is a naturally occurring lightening agent that can be combined with other ingredients with the same properties. Thus, its action is reinforced. Let's focus on the right combinations to increase its effectiveness against hyperpigmentation.

Summary
Published February 22, 2024, by Maylis, Chemical Engineer — 6 min read

Arbutin acid, also known as alpha-arbutin, is a molecule that occurs naturally in several plants belonging to the Ericaceae botanical family. It can be extracted from bearberry, bilberry, ash heather or cranberry leaves. Alpha-arbutin is a skin-lightening active ingredient that is becoming increasingly popular in cosmetics. It targets melanin-producing cells and helps to reduce skin hyperpigmentation.

As a reminder, pigmentation varies according to the concentration of melanin, a pigment synthesized by cells called melanocytes. The tyrosinase enzyme secreted by the body is responsible for stimulating the melanocytes. This is when melanogenesis begins which, when exposed to the sun or under certain conditions, generates an excess of melanin, causing hyperpigmentation.

The mode of action of alpha arbutin is based on its molecular structure, which is similar to that of tyrosine, a non-essential amino acid that binds to the enzyme tyrosinase to catalyze the synthesis of melanin, the pigment that causes the brown color of the skin's surface. This similarity to tyrosine allows it to mimic its action by binding to the active site of tyrosinase, which blocks its action, thus reducing melanin production.

Arbutin Acid and Vitamin C:

Stable, unlike its beta form, alpha-arbutin can be safely combined with other ingredients in cosmetic products:

  • Arbutin Acid and Vitamin C:

    Vitamin C or ascorbic acid targets the oxidation of dermal cells and helps neutralize free radicals that alter its natural biological functioning and cause the premature signs of aging. Working over the long term, vitamin C and arbutin acid help to brighten the complexion, but also reduce the signs of skin aging. During your beauty routine, morning and night, you can for example apply first the vitamin C radiance serum, then the pigmentation spots serum formulated with 2% alpha arbutin and lemon extract.

  • Arbutin Acid and Niacinamide:

    To reduce your acne marks, this combination is the winning combo. Indeed, niacinamide helps restore the skin's barrier function and participates in the healing process. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, it is an active ingredient of choice for improving the overall appearance of blemished skin. This action acts in favor of alpha-arbutin, which then fades acne marks. During your beauty routine, morning and evening, you can, for example, apply first the unifying serum with niacinamide, then the pigmentation spots serum formulated with 2% alpha arbutin and lemon extract.

  • Arbutin Acid and Hyaluronic Acid:

    Hyaluronic acid is an active ingredient known for its benefits on skin hydration. Combined with alpha-arbutin, it helps prepare the skin to absorb this molecule. Therefore, first apply a hyaluronic acid product such as the plumping serum, then a treatment with alpha arbutin, such as the pigmentation spot serum.

  • Arbutin and Kojic Acid:

    Alpha arbutin and kojic acid are both brightening agents. The combination of these two ingredients in the same treatment or in a beauty routine helps to reduce skin hyperpigmentation.

Sources

  • BOISSY R. E. & al. The effect of niacinamide on reducing cutaneous pigmentation and suppression of melanosome transfer. British Journal of Dermatology (2002).

  • PARK Y. & al. Effects of kojic acid, arbutin and vitamin C on cell viability and melanin synthesis in B16BL6 cells. Journal of the Society of Cosmetic Scientists of Korea (2003).

  • MATSUNO K. & al. 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. Planta Medica Letters (2015).

  • DESHMUKH. R. & al. The effect of vitamin C on melanin pigmentation – A systematic review. Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology (2020).

  • MOHAMMADAMINI H. & al. A comprehensive review of the therapeutic potential of alpha-arbutin. Phytotherapy Research (2021).

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