This Could Be Your Secret Weapon For Brightening Your Skin

There's a new skincare ingredient in town, and you need to know about it — arbutin. Not only does it have skin brightening superpowers, but it can also help with acne scars and prevent hyperpigmentation! But what exactly is arbutin, and how can you integrate it into your skincare routine


As Dr. Joshua Zeichner, the director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, explained to Fashionista, "Arbutin is an extract from the bearberry plant that has skin-brightening properties." He continued, "It interferes with activity of an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is needed to produce melanin or pigment in the skin." 

When it comes to your skincare product, arbutin "is commonly paired with other skin brighteners like kojic acid, vitamin C or niacinamide," said Dr. Zeichner. "They all work on the same pathway leading to pigmentation and have a greater effect when paired together." Sign us up!

Arbutin is gentle on skin, making it suitable for all skin types

In terms of usage, Claire Chang, M.D., a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist at Union Square Laser Dermatology, claims you can use it twice a day after cleansing (via Byrdie). "It should be used in the areas of pigment where one is trying to lighten the skin or prevent darkening," board-certified dermatologist Jeremy Fenton, M.D., of Schweiger Dermatology Group in New York told mindbodygreen.


Better still, it's suitable for all skin types. "It has a good safety profile as there are no known negative interactions with other skincare ingredients," board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D., revealed to mindbodygreen. "It's also known to be less irritating and more gentle on the skin than other skin-lightening agents, so it can be a good choice for those with sensitive skin." 

However, like most skincare products, there's no predicting how your skin will react. "Arbutin may cause skin irritation," warned Dr. Zeichner. "If you develop any redness, burning or stinging, hold off and use it every other day."