Skin Care

Is Alpha Arbutin Serum An Underrated Magic Skin Care Portion?

“Alpha arbutin serum is a superior skincare ingredient for all skin types and skin tones”, how true is this statement?

Written by Aashika Rajendran

On Apr 13, 2023 – 8 minutes read

Is Alpha arbutin serum an underrated magic skin care portion - FEATURE

There are a ton of products in the market that claim to help you achieve brighter skin. While some work, some don’t. Which category does Alpha arbutin serum fall into?  We know hydroquinone, which is a topically used skincare component that is prescribed by doctors to lighten skin, dark spots, and treat other issues related to pigmentation. Hydroquinone has a downside which is that it has side effects. It could dry out and damage the skin. For this reason, it was banned in some countries, and today without a doctor’s prescription it’s nearly impossible as well as risky to use hydroquinone as a skincare product.

Now, alpha arbutin is a naturally occurring form of hydroquinone with nearly no side effects. It works similarly to hydroquinone to help with pigmentation and spots when used the right way.

What Is Alpha Arbutin Serum?

Alpha arbutin is a naturally occurring compound derived from the dried leaves of berries like blueberry, cranberry, and bearberry. It works by controlling melanin production. Melanin is a naturally occurring pigment in the skin that determines the skin color of a person. People with a lighter complexion will have less melanin when compared to a person with a deeper complexion. Our body has cells known as melanocytes, where an enzyme called tyrosinase is responsible for controlling the production of melanin. Alpha arbutin acts as a blocker here and helps control melanin production which occurs every time our skin comes in contact with the sun. 

What Is Alpha Arbutin Serum?

Pigmentation occurs when certain areas of the skin produce more melanin than others. Acne marks or scars tend to darken when exposed to sunlight. Alpha arbutin helps in fading out these scars and evens out the skin tone. Alpha arbutin can be found in creams and gel variants too but Alpha arbutin serum is the most potent and gives you quick results when compared to the others. This is because serums are very light in texture making it easier for the skin to absorb and also penetrate into the deeper layers of the skin.

Note: Alpha arbutin is in no way a skin-bleaching agent. Every skin color is beautiful and trying to change one’s natural skin color will do more damage to the skin than any good.

If you are looking for a way to brighten your skin and fade dark spots and pigmentation it, then Alpha arbutin is your best buddy, especially if you have sensitive skin. Keep reading to learn how to find the right kind of Alpha arbutin serum, and how and when to use it. Before getting into various ways to incorporate Alpha arbutin into your skincare routine let’s learn the key benefits of including this serum in your everyday skincare.

Benefits Of Alpha Arbutin Serum

  • This is a great antioxidant making it the perfect ingredient to prevent oxidative stress and oxidation of makeup.
  • Helps in removing tanning and pigmentation with consistent usage.
  • Reduce marks, dark spots, and skin damage.
  • Reduces melanin production not to whiten the existing skin but to bring back the real color of the skin.
  • Works well on under-eye dark circles.
  • When it comes to Alpha arbutin even low concentrations work well and it works across all skin types.
  • Does not have skin-damaging and lightening ingredients such as bleach and mercury.
  • It Imparts a nice glow in the skin.
  • Unlike other types of serum alpha arbutin also has moisturizing properties making it a better option than vitamin C for sensitive skin.
  • Alpha arbutin with consistent use has been claimed to lighten freckles.

Alpha Arbutin Serum Combinations That Work Best Based On Skin Issues

  • Acne-prone skin- Using this serum in combination with hyaluronic acid serum is claimed to work wonders for healing acne and acne scars.
  • Pigmented skin-To treat sun damage and lightens skin a combination of Alpha arbutin with kojic acid will give you the best results
  • Dry skin-Alpha arbutin serum when used in combination with  AHA helps the formula absorb better into the skin and gives it better moisturization. For extremely dry skin during the winter this combination can be a great choice to add hydration to the skin.
Alpha Arbutin Serum Combinations That Work Best Based On Skin Issues

When Is The Right Time To Use  Alpha Arbutin Serum?

The best thing about using an alpha arbutin serum is that it can be used any time of the day. It can also be used twice a day in your morning as well as at nighttime skincare routine. If you use Alpha arbutin in the morning, it can help in targeting sun damage. Being an antioxidant it can also protect your skin from pollution and help with keeping your makeup from oxidizing. Using Alpha arbutin at night can help your skin glow the next day morning. 

How To Use Alpha Arbutin Serum?

There is no rule of thumb to use your Alpha Arbutin. It can be used in both your morning skincare and nighttime skin care. After cleansing and toning apply three to four drops of Alpha arbutin to your face and dab the product till it’s fully absorbed into the skin. Follow up with a good moisturizer. If you wish to use this serum in the morning then make sure you never skip your sunscreen.

Simple Steps That You Can Follow While Using This Serum

  • Use a mild cleanser and toner, and choose the two skincare products based on your skin type.
  • Try to include hyaluronic acid before using Alpha arbutin. Hyaluronic acid wilL help in better absorption of the alpha arbutin serum.
  • Make sure you apply the product to your neck.
  • Wait a few minutes post-application for the product to completely absorb into your skin
  • Use sunscreen with an SPF of above 50 and a PA rating of +++ or more(1).
  • The serum will take around one month of consistent usage to show visible and drastic results, so consistency and patience is the key.

Note: If you are using other serums in your skincare routine, then follow the general rule of serum application. Use the serum that has the lightest consistency first and move on to the ones with the thickest consistency.

Do’s And Don’ts  

Do’s- Alpha Arbutin goes well with almost all actives such as Vitamin C, Niacinamide, Hyaluronic Acid, AHAs/ BHAs, Kojic Acid(2), and Retinol.

Don’ts- Alpha Arbutin serum in general is great for the skin but using too many actives on the skin at the same time will not give the skin any of its benefits. It is advised to use not more than two actives in a skincare routine at a time. If you love using active and your skin loves it, then split the time using between morning and night-time skincare routines.

Side Effects Of Alpha Arbutin Serum? 

Alpha Arbutin serums are usually safe for all skin types and skin colors, but very rarely people have reported facing hypersensitivity from using this ingredient. In the rarest of the rare cases, people might experience breakouts, dryness, redness, and sunburn, so make sure you choose the right serum for your skin.

Side Effects Of Alpha Arbutin Serum? 

Note: Do a patch test for all skin care products before using them all over your face- the rule applies to not just serums but to all skincare products.

List Of Best Alpha Arbutin Serums Of 2023

  1. The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Hyperpigmentation Serum
  2. The Inkey List Alpha Arbutin Brightening Serum
  3. iS Clinical Brightening Serum
  4.  Minimalist 2% Alpha Arbutin Serum
  5. The beauty of Joseon Glow Deep Serum Rice + Arbutin
  6. The Derma Co. 2% Alpha Arbutin Face Serum
  7. Urban Skin RX Super C Brightening Serum
  8. Peter Thomas Roth PRO Strength Niacinamide Discoloration Treatment
  9. Paula’s Choice Radiance Renewal Mask
  10. Earth rhythm alpha arbutin skin clarifying serum.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What does Alpha arbutin do to your skin?

Alpha arbutin serum controls the melanin production in the skin there by lightning, dark spots, and fading pigmentation to give even-looking and brighter skin.

Can I use Alpha Arbutin serum every day?

Yes, Alpha Arbutin serum is safe to be used every day. You can also use it twice a day if required.

Is Alpha Arbutin better than vitamin C?

Vitamin C in its most potent form is very unstable in nature. When it comes in contact with light and water it could easily oxidize and turn yellow. Vitamin C can also be harsh on very sensitive skin. Alpha arbutin serum on the other hand is safe to use and suits almost all skin types. If you have very stubborn pigmentation then using a combination of Vitamin C and Alpha arbutin can be a powerful combo to get rid of the hyperpigmentation.


Overall Alpha arbutin is a great choice for people who suffer from uneven skin tone, scars, dark spots, acne marks, and hyperpigmentation. Alpha arbutin serum very rarely causes side effects. When you use multiple skincare actives and products, the more likely reason your skin is not responding at all or is responding badly is due to the imbalance in PH levels of the skin care products you might be using. For example, your Alpha arbutin might be on the right PH level for your skin, and your Hyaluronic acid serum might be on the right PH scale too, both these products might work great individually but when you use both in combination the products might have an imbalance in PH which can disrupt the natural Ph levels of your skin, leading to side effects. It’s better to buy products with a combination of skincare ingredients rather than buying each product individually and layering them. Hope you found this article informative, let us know your thoughts in the comments below. 

A note to all you beauties out there- You are beautiful with all your perfect imperfections, they do not define you. The choice to get rid of your scars and spots is completely an individual choice which is the sole purpose of this article.  Follow SoulFactors for more beauty, make-up, fashion, and health-related updates.

  1. Korea Institute of Science and Technology Information.(2014). Study on the Factors that Influence the Sun Protection Factor(SPF) and Protection Factor of UV-A(PA) in Sunscreen. Available at:
  2. Elsevier B.V.(2023).Kojic Acid. Available at:

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Aashika is a makeup and beauty expert known for creating stunning looks that not only accentuate facial features but also empower women to feel confident in their skin.

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