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Powder Dictionary
What is Arbutin?
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How fluent are you in beauty speak? We’ll admit that product ingredients can be a real tongue twister at the best of times – and they’re even trickier to decipher. For this week’s Powder Dictionary edition we’re taking a look at Arbutin. Without any further ado…

What is it?

Arbutin is a plant extract that works to brighten and prevent brown spots. It works by blocking tyrosinase production (a key ingredient in the production of pigment to stop darks spots from forming). There are three forms of arbutin, with alpha arbutin being the strongest, while beta arbutin and plain old arbutin are weaker forms.

Who needs it?

If you’re an avid sun-worshipper, or have been in the past, then arbutin could help hide the evidence of that 1979 Corfu summer. It’s the answer to the annoying ‘prevention is better than cure’ conundrum when you’ve skipped the SPF each day and now your skin needs a helping hand on dark spots. It’s also a good bet if you’re battling with acne scarring, as arbutin can help lighten up marks from spots gone by. Arbutin is less aggressive than hydroquinone (which you normally need a prescription for) so it’s good if your skin is sensitive and it’s also more widely available over the counter.

Where do we find it?

To scoff: Arbutin is concentrated in the skin of pears. Who knew?

To smother: Cleansers, serums, moisturisers and face masks are where arbutin calls home.

When should it go on our face?

Use arbutin pm when your skin isn’t photosensitive.

Avoid it…

There’s no need to avoid this one, but it’s recommended that you wear an SPF in the day while using this ingredient. We know it’s a bore, but your skin is more susceptible to sun damage when using any kind of arbutin. Bottom line, SPF is everything, ladies.

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