Hydroquinone derivative isolated from the leaves of the bearberry shrub, cranberry, blueberry, some mushrooms, and most types of pears. Arbutin’s hydroquinone content gives it melanin-inhibiting properties.
Although the research describing arbutin’s effectiveness is persuasive, concentration protocols have not been established. That means we don’t know how much arbutin it takes to have a skin-lightening effect and there is only limited research, mostly animal studies or in vitro, showing that the arbutin-containing plant extracts used in skincare products have any impact on skin. Whether or not these extracts are effective in the small amounts present in cosmetics has not been established. [1, 2]
- Hori I, Nihei K, Kubo I. Structural criteria for depigmenting mechanism of arbutin..Phytother Res.. 2004;18(6):475-9.
- Sugimoto K, Nishimura T, Nomura K, Sugimoto K, T. K. Inhibitory effects of alpha-arbutin on melanin synthesis in cultured human melanom a cells and a three-dimensional human skin model.. Biol Pharm Bull. 2004;27(4):510-4.