What does it do?
Arbutin blocks an enzyme called tyrosinase, and helps prevent melanin (pigment) production

Why should I use it?
Uneven skin tone
Post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation

How do I use it?
Once or twice daily, before moisturiser and sunscreen

Arbutin is another ingredient used for skin brightening, pigmentation and uneven skin tone. It blocks an enzyme called tyrosinase, which is responsible for the production of melanin (pigment) in our melanocytes (pigment cells). By doing so, it reduces pigment production in the skin. The form alpha-arbutin is used most commonly in skincare.

Why should I use it?

Arbutin is useful for melasma, post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, and uneven skin tone.

How should I use it?

Arbutin can be used once or twice daily. It’s generally well tolerated, and can be combined with most other skin care ingredients, including other brightening ingredients such as Vitamin C. Look for products containing alpha-arbutin, at concentrations of 1-2 %. 

Evidence: Fair

Sarkar R, Arora P, Garg KV. Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available?. J Cutan Aesthet Surg. 2013;6(1):4-11.


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Spotlight on Skin was created by award-winning Melbourne-based dermatologist, Dr Julia Rhodes.

Julia knows first-hand how overwhelming the skincare world can be, and that’s with over 10 years of experience practicing dermatology. Given that even she gets overwhelmed, she appreciates how hard it can be for those of you without a scientific background to make sense of all the information available, and choose products that are right for your skin…