Side Effects of Alpha Arbutin Skin Whitening Products

what are the side effects of alpha arbutin

What are the side effects of Alpha Arbutin in skin lightening? Get more insights into the benefits and negative effects of using this compound as a skin bleaching supplement. Also, find out its effects compared to hydroquinone and why skin lightening products that contain this element have been banned in some European countries.


what are the side effects of alpha arbutin
alpha arbutin side effects

What is Alpha Arbutin?

This is an ingredient obtained from the bearberry plant. It is also found in wheat, Bergenia crassifolia, and is also mostly concentrated in pear skins. Though this element can be synthetically produced in laboratories by acetobromoglucose on hydroquinone, it is naturally extracted from bearberry. It has been used traditionally to treat some diseases such as urinary tract infections, though not scientifically proven.

It is also commonly used as an antioxidant hence used in most anti-aging products. This compound is known to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase activity responsible for the formation of melanin, an element that protects the skin against harmful environmental conditions such as sun poisoning effects of UV and UVB radiations from the sun.

Due to this property, skin lightening products have utilized Alpha Arbutin as an ingredient. Like skin whitening pills, products that use this ingredient are much effective in skin bleaching. Alpha arbutin soap, creams, serums, and lotions are among the major lightening products you will found over the counter.

Side Effects of Alpha Arbutin

This ingredient was seen to be safer compared to hydroquinone, which is highly banned in some countries. Regardless of naturally extracted, Alpha arbutin has been discovered to have the possibility of breaking down to hydroquinone while in the body. This is mainly because Alpha Arbutin is glycosylated hydroquinone in nature.

However, the side effects of Alpha Arbutin are no more or less of hydroquinone. According to the studies and research by the German Institute of Food and research, it was found that this element can easily be converted to hydroquinone by intestinal bacteria. This can, however, lead to intestinal cancer-related conditions.

Alpha Arbutin, when used in large amounts, can also associate other side effects such as skin irritation that can transform into skin acne. Lower concentrations such as 3-4 % are tested to be safe for human consumption. Therefore, while shopping for your alpha-arbutin best skin lightening cream, soap, or lotion, ensure that it contains a lower concentration of this element.

Involve a specialist before using any skin lightening product. Skin sensitivity ought to be tested, and if symptoms persist, then discontinue using the product. These are the best ways to deal with the side effects of Alpha Arbutin.

Alternatively, using glutathione skin whitening products can be an option. While using this skin whitening ingredient, ensure you also protect your skin against sunburn using a sunscreen compound of SPF above 30. Avoid continuous use of Arbutin products to minimize the chances of side effects.

side effects of alpha arbutin
before and after alpha arbutin

Benefits of Alpha Arbutin

Besides the common side effects of Alpha Arbutin, some benefits are associated with this ingredient as far as skin whitening is concerned. First, it is highly effective in the treatment and elimination of skin problems such as dry skin on the face, freckles, moles, and acne scars.

Only used in small percentages to achieve results in a short period of time as compared to kojic acid and glutathione skin bleaching product. Although Alpha Arbutin is expensive to manufacture and afford, it is far more effective compared to Beta Arbutin.

It is one of the best techniques for getting fair skin faster, even and smooth skin tone. Therefore, recommended for attaining beautiful skin for all complexions and types.  These include Blacks, Asians, and African Americans.

Despite the discontinued use in Europe and Japan, skincare products with this ingredient have been proven safe, especially in low concentration. This is why it is still common and effective in the USA and other parts of the world.

Best Alpha Arbutin Products reviews

Doctors recommend using products that utilize Alpha Arbutin below a concentration of 4%. Moderate use will save you from the dangerous side effects of Alpha Arbutin.

Naturism is one of the best products that contain this bearberry extract. It contains 2% Alpha Arbutin. The product is cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan, gluten-free, fragrance-free, and non-toxic. Hence recommended as safe. This is what celebrities use to bleach their skin in some regions.

  • EVEN SKIN TONE, RADIANT COMPLEXION: This serum fades the appearance of dark spots caused by inflammation and environmental stressors, using alpha arbutin, which is one of the safest, non-irritating skin brighteners.
  • DEVELOPED FOR ALL SKIN TYPES: Perfect for sensitive, dry, acne prone, aging, and combination skin to be used daily or as needed. For best results, apply on clean skin and follow with moisturizer.
  • INNOVATIVE FORMULA: Our highly concentrated alpha arbutin serum is formulated with an efficacious level of alpha arbutin, along with niacinamide and lemon, to help fade the appearance of dark spots.
  • BIOCOMPATIBLE & DERMATOLOGIST TESTED: Naturium skincare is formulated with both potent natural ingredients & advanced synthetic ingredients. They utilize efficacious levels of active ingredients, are pH level appropriate, & are thoroughly tested for safety.
  • CLEAN FORMULATION, NON-TOXIC: Cruelty free, paraben free, vegan, gluten free, fragrance free & non-toxic. Made with the highest-quality botanical, earth & marine-based ingredients combined with non-toxic-to-skin alternatives & advanced science.
  • NATURIUM QUALITY GUARANTEE: If for any reason you are not 100% satisfied, we offer a 30-day money-back refund. No questions asked!

* As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


There is always a large disparity in studies conducted on those who frequently use this ingredient. Some people are completely free from the side effects of Alpha Arbutin, while others are found to have been affected.  This, however, shows that it will also depend on the nature and type of your skin. The main reason why you should always involve a specialist in any skin bleaching decisions you make.



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