Reach Your Pigmentation Goals With Alpha Arbutin
Our simple guide to understanding Alpha Arbutin
First things first - What is Alpha arbutin?
Alpha arbutin is a chemical compound found naturally in plants such as bearberry and mulberry (which have the highest concentration), as well as wheat, blueberries and pear. It is commonly used in cosmetics today to fade dark spots (hyperpigmentation) and even out skin tone.
How does Alpha arbutin work to fade hyperpigmentation?
Hyperpigmentation is caused when the cells responsible for producing melanin (our skin’s pigment), known as the melanocytes, over-produce melanin. This may be in response to UV exposure, which causes the melanocytes to produce melanin to protect our cells from UV damage (hence why we tan in the sun and why this is actually a visible sign of skin damage). Another common reason for hyperpigmentation to occur is as a result of inflammation, such as an acne lesion (known as post-inflammatory-hyperpigmentation or PIH for short).
Alpha arbutin works by inhibiting an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is produced in the melanocyte and involved in the production of melanin. Inhibiting this enzyme reduces the amount of melanin which can be produced, and therefore prevents overproduction from occurring, causing existing darker areas to fade.
How best to introduce Arbutin into my routine?
We typically recommend introducing Alpha arbutin into your routine in a serum form. Serums tend to be designed to penetrate deeper into the skin, reaching the base of the epidermis (the outer layer which continually regenerates) and even down to the dermis (the deeper layer which does not regenerate). Melanocytes are situated at the very base of the epidermis, where it meets the dermis, so in order for a product to affect the tyrosinase enzyme released within the melanocyte, the active ingredients need to absorb into this layer of the skin and remain active until they get there.
How long does it take to see results?
Fading pigmentation is a skin goal which requires patience and can depend on your skin. Medium to deep skin tones (Fitzpatrick 3-6) are more likely to experience hyperpigmentation as a result of inflammation from acne, and it can be more difficult to fade. Expect to start seeing results after 3-6 months of a consistent routine including the relevant active ingredients. Consistency is key, especially with ingredients which work by inhibiting tyrosinase, as you need to continually inhibit this enzyme to prevent the pigmentation returning, even once it has faded.
Can everyone use Alpha arbutin?
Alpha arbutin is generally safe for all skin types, with the exception of those who are pregnant, who we would advise avoid it. Alpha arbutin is structurally similar to hydroquinone, a prescription-grade topical ingredient used to lighten areas of hyperpigmentation. Hydroquinone is not suitable for use during pregnancy, so we would advise that Alpha arbutin, being a derivative of Hydroquinone, is also avoided as a precaution.
If you'd like to know if Alpha Arbutin is right for you - try our free online consultation to discover the best products for your unique skin.