How can you erase acne scars and fade freckles? One option is to undergo dermatological treatments, but those are expensive. If you want to save money and you have a little patience, use one of the best alpha arbutin serums. The active ingredient treats hyperpigmentation at the source.
Arbutin can be made from bearberry, wheat, and pears. It’s a natural ingredient that blocks tyrosinase which is the enzyme involved in melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives you a tan but also causes freckles and dark spots.
In other words, arbutin treats dark spots caused by excess pigment. It’s similar to hydroquinone but safe for all skin types. It’s not toxic to melanocytes, or pigment-forming cells, and doesn’t cause side effects like ochronosis. It can be used in the daytime because it doesn’t make the skin more sensitive to sunburn.
Moreover, arbutin can be applied twice a day and works well with niacinamide, alpha-hydroxy acid, and vitamin C serums. But if you ask about beta arbutin versus alpha arbutin, alpha is the best arbutin for hyperpigmentation. Beta is less stable and less potent (1).
- 1 Why is alpha arbutin serum better than hydroquinone?
- 2 What are the benefits of alpha arbutin serum?
- 3 What are the cons of using alpha arbutin serum?
- 4 Best Alpha Arbutin Serums in 2022
- 4.1 Glo Skin Beauty Hydra-Bright Alpha Arbutin Drops
- 4.2 The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + Ha
- 4.3 The INKEY List Alpha Arbutin Brightening Serum
- 4.4 Acure Brightening 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum
- 4.5 NATURIUM Alpha Arbutin Serum 2%
- 4.6 Obagi Clinical Vitamin C+ Arbutin Brightening Serum
- 4.7 iS CLINICAL Super Serum Advance+
- 5 Conclusion
Why is alpha arbutin serum better than hydroquinone?
Technically, hydroquinone may work faster to lighten skin than arbutin, but it may have side effects like turning the skin blue. Worse, it’s toxic to melanocytes and carcinogenic if consumed.
Happily, arbutin doesn’t damage pigment-producing cells. It works like licorice root and kojic acid to brighten and lighten the skin. Meanwhile, it inhibits tyrosinase to keep it from making dark spots appear in the first place.
What are the benefits of alpha arbutin serum?
What’s more, alpha arbutin is gentle to the skin. It releases slowly, which is why applying it as a serum is ideal. That way it stays on the skin all day or all night.
Not only does it even out the complexion, but it also prevents new dark spots from forming after an acne breakout or sun exposure. It can also fade reddish-purple scars left behind after surgery or an injury.
What are the cons of using alpha arbutin serum?
On the downside, alpha arbutin serum is similar to vitamin C serum in that it has a short shelf life and is to be protected from heat, water, and sunlight. Store it in a cool, dark place and keep it tightly capped.
Also, it may take two or three months of daily applications before you’re satisfied with the results.
If you have sensitive skin, please do a patch test and wait 48 hours to see how your skin reacts.
Now, here are the best alpha arbutin serums for hyperpigmentation:
|The best alpha arbutin serums||Why we love them|
|Glo Skin Beauty Hydra-Bright Alpha Arbutin Drops||
|The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + Ha||
|The INKEY List Alpha Arbutin Brightening Serum||
|Acure Brightening 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum||
|NATURIUM Alpha Arbutin Serum 2%||
|Obagi Clinical Vitamin C+ Arbutin Brightening Serum||
|iS CLINICAL Super Serum Advance+||
Best Alpha Arbutin Serums in 2022
Glo Skin Beauty Hydra-Bright Alpha Arbutin Drops
Wouldn’t it be nice to look in the mirror and see radiant skin? This alpha arbutin serum combines the most potent ingredients for treating hyperpigmentation and dullness into one formula. Not only does it have arbutin, but it also features glycolic and lactic acids, gentle exfoliants to smooth fine lines and clear up dry spots.
Next, it has azelaic acid, licorice root, and niacinamide to rapidly reduce dark spots. At the same time, witch hazel, lavender, and citrus oils ward off acne. It tingles a little when first applied and has a unique scent from the natural ingredients. There are no parabens or artificial fragrance.
One enthusiastic reviewer said that it took about two months of applying it day and night until she was able to confidently go out without makeup.
- Potent blend of alpha arbutin, licorice root, alpha-hydroxy acids, niacinamide, and azelaic acid
- Reduces discoloration and brightens the complexion
- Smooths fine lines and rejuvenates the skin
- No parabens or artificial fragrance
- Not everyone loves how it smells or that it stings kind of like a vitamin C serum
The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + Ha
Fix post-inflammatory erythema and hyperpigmentation with this moisturizing serum. It features a 2% concentration of alpha arbutin plus hyaluronic acid to help it penetrate to where it’s needed. Reviewers say it takes a few weeks to a few months to get rid of dark spots, but it gets the job done without unpleasant side effects.
As you might expect from this brand, the serum is fragrance-free and paraben-free. It’s pH-balanced to keep the alpha arbutin stable and potent.
- Straightforward serum that focuses on eliminating hyperpigmentation
- Blends 2% alpha arbutin with hyaluronic acid for maximum penetration and performance
- Fragrance-free and paraben-free
- Formulated to stay fresh and potent
- Although the serum may vary a bit in color, it’s formulated to remain stable
The INKEY List Alpha Arbutin Brightening Serum
If you wear makeup, you’ll appreciate this lightweight serum that doesn’t make foundation pill up. It’s gentle on sensitive skin and noticeably brightens the complexion. One reviewer said that it makes her face “extra glowy”.
The 2% concentration of alpha arbutin is the maximum strength you can get over-the-counter. This active ingredient is derived from bearberry plant leaves.
It’s combined with the powerful plant-based moisturizer called squalane to keep skin happy and hydrated. As you might guess, this product is featured in Clean at Sephora because it’s free from 50+ toxins and irritants like parabens, sulfates, and phthalates. It’s also cruelty-free and vegan.
It only takes a pea-sized amount to cover the face and neck and it can be layered underneath other serums, sunscreen, and moisturizer.
The only downside would be if you are sensitive to soy as that’s one of the ingredients.
- Hydrating serum with 2% alpha arbutin and squalane
- Vegan and cruelty-free
- No parabens, phthalates, or harsh ingredients
- Can be worn underneath other serums, sunscreen, and moisturizer
- Not soy-free
Acure Brightening 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum
Here’s another mild and effective alpha arbutin serum with vegan ingredients. It’s also cruelty-free and does not contain sulfates, mineral oil, petrolatum, formaldehyde, or parabens. But would you expect anything less from Acure? It’s only healthy ingredients in the bottle so that you can enjoy a youthful appearance.
In the formula, 2% alpha arbutin is paired with elderberry, aloe, and hyaluronic acid. Not only will the serum get rid of discoloration, but it also tones and brightens the skin.
The scent comes from natural ingredients, but it fades within a few minutes. Reviewers with acne-prone complexions and sensitive skin find that the serum performs as promised without causing irritation.
- Alpha arbutin with hyaluronic acid, aloe, and elderberry
- Tones, brightens, and fades dark spots
- No harsh ingredients, vegan, and cruelty-free
- Gentle for sensitive skin and acne-prone faces
- None – even the pump top bottle dispenses the correct amount
NATURIUM Alpha Arbutin Serum 2%
Here’s a serum with alpha arbutin and niacinamide. Give it a couple of months to work and you’ll see acne scars and sun spots disappear. What makes it stand out from the competition?
First, it mixes the maximum concentration of alpha arbutin with niacinamide and lemon extract. This blend reduces redness and inflammation and treats dark spots at the source. What’s interesting is that the lemon contains amino acids, vitamins, and trace elements to nourish and rebuild the skin.
Next, the formula has biocompatible ingredients that are carefully tested for safety and efficacy. Everything is pH-balanced and clean, with no artificial fragrance, parabens, or gluten.
Lastly, it’s a vegan and cruelty-free product with a 30-day money-back guarantee. What more could you ask for? Just two pumps can cover the face and neck, but feel free to use it on hyperpigmentation anywhere on the body.
- 2% concentration of alpha arbutin with lemon extract and niacinamide
- Fades scars and dark spots within weeks
- Provides essential nutrients to rebuild the skin
- Vegan, cruelty-free, and pH-balanced
- No artificial fragrance, gluten, or parabens
- Comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee
Obagi Clinical Vitamin C+ Arbutin Brightening Serum
Eighty-seven percent of the women in a consumer study said that using this serum made their skin healthier-looking. It’s just what you’d expect from a vitamin C serum with arbutin. Both ingredients are good for brightening the skin. Arbutin tackles dark spots while vitamin C firms and smooths.
The serum tingles a bit because of the L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), but it dries quickly. Just avoid putting it around the eyes. Although it leaves the skin slightly sticky, if you apply moisturizer over top, all is well.
Happily, the non-comedogenic formula has been allergy-tested for safety. It contains no parabens or artificial fragrance, plus it’s cruelty-free.
- Smooths fine lines and fades discoloration while brightening the complexion
- Alpha arbutin with vitamin C in the form of L-ascorbic acid
- Cruelty-free and allergy-tested, with no parabens or artificial fragrance
- Leaves the skin a little sticky
iS CLINICAL Super Serum Advance+
A professional esthetician told us that this is her favorite alpha arbutin serum for mature skin. It provides spectacular results and it’s pleasant to use. If you would like to look a decade younger, splurge on yourself. The bottle will last long enough for you to see how well it works.
It’s fast-absorbing and wears well underneath moisturizer and makeup. It can also be used on the backs of the hands and other places on the body.
The key ingredients that fight age spots are arbutin, mushroom extract, and vitamin C. Specifically, the vitamin C here is in the form of L-ascorbic acid. As you might already know, this type of vitamin C is potent and shelf-stable.
Then, the serum also has Centella asiatica, also known as gotu kola, cica, and tiger grass. It’s an antioxidant with powerful healing and anti-acne benefits. It helps reverse the ravages of time and environmental pollutants.
Lastly, the serum has hyaluronic acid and copper peptides to firm and hydrate the skin. Fascinatingly, copper peptides can also help with hair growth.
- Excellent anti-aging serum for mature skin
- Erases signs of aging with arbutin, vitamin C, and mushroom
- Firms and tones with hyaluronic acid, copper peptides, and Centella asiatica
- No artificial fragrance or parabens
- More expensive than other options
If you’re wondering which brand of alpha arbutin serum is best, we hope that the reviews above answered your question. It’s wonderful to live at a time when we have access to effective natural solutions to our beauty dilemmas.
Feel free to leave us a comment below about which alpha arbutin serum you chose. We’d love to hear how it’s working for you.
1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3663177/ Sarkar, Rashmi et al. “Cosmeceuticals for Hyperpigmentation: What is Available?” Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery vol. 6,1 (2013): 4-11. doi:10.4103/0974-2077.110089