Plant Extracts

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]

References Cited:

  1. Hori I, Nihei K, Kubo I. Structural criteria for depigmenting mechanism of arbutin..Phytother Res.. 2004;18(6):475-9.
  2. 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.
See hydroquinone

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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