Is Arbutin The Answer for Acne?

QandA3Question:   Can  Arbutin  help my  acne?

Answer:  Found in both the mulberry and  bearberry  plants, arbutin  is known not  for acne care  but for its ability to lighten skin discolorations.   Arbutin acts by inhibiting production of tyrosinase , the enzyme that promotes  melanin.  In short, less tyrosinease, less melanin.  Keep in mind that Arbutin  converts to hydroquinone in the body, so if you wish to avoid hydroquinone, arbutin is not the lightener  you want.

Arbutin does not directly deal with  the forces behind acne.  However, it may be useful to lighten  darkening or hyperpigmentation that can develop after breakouts.   While laboratory studies  indicate that  arbutin can reduce melanin production it is   often not possible to determine how much  arbutin  is used  in a commerical, non-prescription  products.  With active ingredients like zinc oxide  or salicylic acid, the concentration is listed on the label.  Without this information, you cannot  judge how strong or how weak  an arbutin product is  before you buy it.  With arbutin, this info is just not provided on the package.   Arbutin is often called mulberry extract and the amount of this ingredient is also  not stated on the label.  Like most skin lightening formulations, arbutin is usually combined with other skin brighteners including Kojic acid and even hydroquinone.

Like most lightening  ingredients, arbutin  has to be used for at least six weeks to see a difference.  Most  work by inhibiting new melanin production so you need to slough off the old darkened  cells before the slow down of melanin will make a visable difference. And whenyou use a lightening agent,  its absolutely imperative to use an effective SPF50 sunscreen to prevent new melanin production.

And to get back to  your original acne problem. You need to look for products that contain proven, measured anti-acne ingredients eg salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. You also want to avoid products with  acne triggers such as mineral oil, shea butter, beeswax and lanolin


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