Alpha Arbutin and Hydroquinone
Alpha Arbutin is bio synthetic molecule extracted from the evergreen bear berry plant. This bio synthetic molecule is mainly used for its skin lightening properties and also for its protective properties from the Sun.
Arbutin comes in two variants- the Alpha and the Beta. Alpha arbutin is most common than Beta arbutin because of it is more stable then beta arbutin and thus more incorporated in skin lightening products.
How does it work ?
Alpha arbutin is more preferred because of its skin friendly nature. Alpha arbutin is basically a Tyrosinase enzyme inhibitor which in turn helps in skin lightening. Tyrosinase is an enzyme present inside melanocytes pigments which is a main cause of browning of skin when exposed to sun for long hours.
These melanocytes pigments gets activated under the falling of U.V rays from the Sun, which in turn releases the enzyme which start producing freckles or brown spots in the skin.
Arbutin does not let this particular enzyme to get released from the melanocytes pigment thus causing no dark spots and freckles of skin from the sun.
Why not Kojic and Hydroquinone?
Kojic and hydroquinone are also used for skin lightening and bleaching purposes. These molecules are prescribed when skin lightening effect is desired at a faster rate.
Kojic is less efficient then Alpha arbutin and causes the lightening of skin to some extent. Though all of these extracts are prescribed in a very low concentration, any over dose can cause serious skin disorders.
Hydroquinone the Evil ?
Hydroquinone had been the doctors favourite till recent years. All fairness and beauty products used hydroquinone in their products and it helped many customers as well.
But recently it had been found that, hydroquinone has been causing cancer and hence declared as a carcinogenic substance by the FDA.
It has been found that Hydroquinone worked by killing the cells that produced pigmentation in the skin. While it is a destructive method of causing skin lightening, it causes more harm than good. It becomes cytotoxic to melanocytes.
Alpha Arbutin Reliablity
Alpha Arbutin has since been the most reliable natural skin lightening extract and is a favorite among the dermatologists. Since it is a natural extract thus it is more favored.
Although in alkaline conditions Alpha arbutin hydrolyzes to form hydroquinone but unless any other products are used on the skin prior to this use which changes the pH of the skin, Alpha arbutin does not change into hydroquinone. Thus when buying any beauty products make sure to look out for the composition.