Alpha-Arbutin vs Hydroquinone? Which Is Best?

woman looking at age spotsAlpha Arbutin, how does it compare to hydroquinone? Skin lightening is the practice of using chemical substances to lighten skin tone. They also remove spots and blemishes by lessening the amount of melanin in the skin. Several chemicals are effective in skin lightening, but some are unsafe or even toxic.

However, Alpha-Arbutin, which suppresses unwanted pigmentation rather than killing pigment-producing cells, is an effective alternative much safer to use than the harsh chemicals used in other over the counter skin creams.

What Is Alpha-Arbutin?

The primary source for Alpha-Arbutin is a small evergreen bush called the Bearberry, and it comes from the leaves of this bush. Bearberry grows in the Northern hemisphere and in the continental United States as far south as New Jersey.

Arbutin which has melanin-inhibiting properties comes from the leaves of the bearberry used for centuries by native Americans due to its unique properties. Arbutin exists in two conformations, alpha, and beta.

The alpha conformation offers higher stability and is the preferred form for skin lightening applications. Used in skin creams for years Alpha-Arbutin is without any reports of serious side effects. Government studies have shown it to be safe to use. Medical studies have also shown it to be effective in treating skin imperfections. There are patents covering its use for topical skin lightening products.

The Effect Of Alpha-Arbutin

Alpha-Arbutin is a bio-synthetic active ingredient is pure, water-soluble, and made in a powder form. It works by inhibiting melanin and it works on all the different skin colors. Pure forms of arbutin are potent skin lightening agents.

Alpha-Arbutin inhibits the activity of tyrosinase which controls the production of melanin. Its inhibitory mechanism is different from other forms of arbutin and can be up to 10 times more effective. Alpha-Arbutin is a glucoside and potion makers like it because it is water soluble and stable.

Most importantly it works. A one-month study on 80 Chinese women, using a 1% Alpha-Arbutin concentration, resulted in a “skin lightening effect”. Other studies have come to the same conclusion.

Is Alpha-Arbutin A Safe Alternative To Hydroquinone?

Yes. There’s no doubt about it. Hydroquinone also works by decreasing the production of melanin pigments in the skin. They are both used in skin lighteners. Hydroquinone was once considered a miracle ingredient to whiten skin. Recent studies have cast doubts on the safety of it.

It’s banned from over the counter sale in Europe, Japan, and other countries, yet is still a common ingredient in the US. In short it’s an effective ingredient, however, there are certain health risks associated with using it the dangerous being cancer.

Alpha-Arbutin has a stronger inhibitory action than (beta) Arbutin. It’s a costly ingredient to manufacture, even at low concentrations, which is why manufacturers still use the cheaper hydroquinone.

Alpha-Arbutin works faster and more effectively than kojic acid (another common skin lightener) and is every bit as effective as hydroquinone. It’s much less irritating to the skin than hydroquinone at similar or even greater doses.

This is good news because hydroquinone which once was the most used and popular lightening ingredient around is now considered unsafe for topical skin creams. The best skin whitening creams contain this hydroquinone alternative.

Want Better Looking Skin Without The Use Of Harsh Chemicals?

Topical skin creams using Alpha-Arbutin work well yet are not yet common on the over the counter market. People who want a skin lightening product that’s safe to use, are turning to the more natural based creams using this and other natural compounds.

You also want to look for a skin cream which doesn’t contain harsh chemicals like mercury, steroids, or parabens. The bottom line is to watch those ingredients. Remember what goes on your skin goes into your body.