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Alpha Arbutin for Acne Scars and Hyperpigmentation

Pimples can leave dark marks on the skin which remain long after the original acne lesion has gone. These dark spots can take over three months to fade completely. Fortunately there are products such as alpha arbutin which can help! This post shows you how to use alpha arbutin for acne scars and dark marks.

Alpha Arbutin Acne Scars

The dark spots left behind by acne are not the same as scars. Scars leave the surface of the skin bumpy either with craters or raised scar tissue. Dark spots however are usually flat against the skin. It’s easier to remove dark marks than it is to fade scars.

Alpha arbutin can help to reduce the appearance of dark spots and prevent new areas of pigmentation from forming. This is because it is able to inhibit the enzyme tyrosinase which is involved in melanin production. It is melanin which is responsible for the amount of pigment in our skin.

The Ordinary produce two excellent products containing alpha arbutin which work well at reducing dark marks left behind from acne. This post looks at both of those products, as well as the benefits of alpha arbutin for acne scars.

Alpha Arbutin for Acne Scars

What is Alpha Arbutin?

Alpha arbutin is an antioxidant that is found in blueberries, bearberries and cranberries. It’s used as a skin brightening ingredient which can help to reduce dark spots on the surface of the skin.

Bearberries, blueberries and cranberries which all contain alpha arbutin

What is Alpha Arbutin Good For?

Since alpha arbutin reduces melanin formation, it can improve the appearance of of pigmentation left behind by acne breakouts. It can also help to fade age spots, melasma, dark marks from the sun and post-inflammatory pigmentation.

Alpha arbutin can also prevent the formation of future hyperpigmentation or freckles from developing. It is often used as a natural alternative to hydroquinone, which is traditionally used to lighten the skin.

With regular use alpha arbutin leaves the skin looking healthier, brighter and more vibrant.

Using Alpha Arbutin for Acne Scars

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2%

The The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% + Alpha Arbutin 2% combines two powerful skin brighteners: pure Vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin. Vitamin C is known to be able to slow down the production of melanin in the skin and reduce dark marks. It helps to improve current skin discolouration and even out overall skin tone.

The combination of both Vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin help to fade pigmented acne scars and other dark marks left by sun spots or ageing. The two together provide better results than if the ingredients were used separately, and can help to lighten dark spots quicker.

How to Use The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid + Alpha Arbutin for Acne Scars

To use this product to fade acne scars apply a couple drops to your skin in both the morning and evening as part of your regular skincare routine. The product is used as a serum and should be followed with your regular moisturiser. It may take one to two months of consistent use before you see results.

The Ordinary Ascorbic Acid 8% & Alpha Arbutin 2% Review

Full ingredients: Propanediol, Ascorbic Acid, Alpha-Arbutin

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA

The second Alpha Arbutin product produced by The Ordinary is their Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA. This concentrated serum contains purified Alpha Arbutin along with Hyaluronic Acid. Hyaluronic acid helps to moisturise the skin and can reduce the fine lines and wrinkles caused by dehydration.

Hyaluronic acid also helps to heal wounds faster and promotes tissue regeneration. If you have pigmented marks left on the skin, hyaluronic acid can be useful in encouraging the skin to heal and repair itself faster (source).

This would be a great option if you have dark marks and pigmented scar tissue left behind from recent acne lesions. Hyaluronic acid is known to have a skin lightening effect which can help with pigmentation issues. When combined with Alpha Arbutin, this formula works well to reduce the appearance of blemishes and fade dark acne scars.

How to Use The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin + HA for Acne Scars

This product should be used as a serum and followed with a moisturiser. Apply a few drops to your face in the morning and evening as part of your skincare regimen. For optimal results ensure to use the product consistently.

Full ingredients: Water, Alpha-Arbutin, Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6, Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate, Propanediol, Ppg-26-Buteth-26, Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Lactic Acid, Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate, Ethoxydiglycol, Phenoxyethanol, Chlorphenesin.

The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin Vs The Inkey List

The INKEY List 2% Alpha Arbutin

The Inkey List also make a product containing 2% Alpha Arbutin which is similar to The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA. They work in a similar way but have small differences in texture and ingredients.

The Inkey List Alpha Arbutin has a slightly thicker consistency compared to The Ordinary. I found it to be more of a gel whereas The Ordinary product was like a watery serum.

When comparing the two ingredients lists, the Inkey list formula was slightly more hydrating than The Ordinary product. The Inkey list Alpha Arbutin contains both hyaluronic acid and squalane to help increase smoothness and hydration, whereas The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin only includes hyaluronic acid.

If you have extremely dehydrated skin, The Inkey List Alpha Arbutin would be my choice over The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin, however both products are very similar and work in the same way.

Full Ingredients: Water (Aqua/ Eau), Butylene Glycol, Propanediol, Glycerin, Alpha-Arbutin, Dicaprylyl Carbonate, Caprylic/ Capric Triglyceride, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Hyaluronic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Hydroxyethyl Acrylate/ Sodium Acryloyldimethyl Taurate Copolymer, Caprylyl Glycol, Squalane, Phospholipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Extract, Carbomer, Polysorbate 60, Disodium EDTA, Sodium Hydroxide, Glycolipids, Glycine Soja (Soybean) Sterol, Tetrapeptide -30.

How Long Does it Take for Alpha Arbutin to Work?

The amount of time it takes for Alpha Arbutin to work will depend on your skin type, how pigmented your acne scars are, and how frequently you use it. It is recommended that you use Alpha Arbutin consistently for at least 1-2 months to see a noticeable difference.

Unlike other skin brighteners, Alpha Arbutin will not leave you with irritated or dry skin. It is safe, and recommended to be used daily to see the fastest results.

FAQs on Alpha Arbutin

Can I use Alpha Arbutin with niacinamide?

Yes. Alpha arbutin and niacinamide are both water based serums which work well together. In fact alpha arbutin and niacinamide are often paired together along with other skin brightening ingredients such as vitamin C or kojic acid. These ingredients have a greater effect when used together than when used alone.

Be aware however that Alpha Arbutin should not be mixed with Niacinamide powder due to its pH level.

Does Alpha Arbutin whiten skin?

Yes, alpha arbutin can help to whiten the skin. It is often sold as a safer, natural alternative to hydroquinone as it has a similar lightening effect but without the potential side effects.

Can I use Alpha Arbutin everyday?

Yes it is safe to use Alpha Arbutin every day and it can even be used in the summer months since it won’t make your skin more sensitive to the sun. If you are using Alpha Arbutin for acne scars it is recommended that the ingredient is used daily for quicker results.

Can I use Vitamin C with Alpha Arbutin?

Yes, Vitamin C and Alpha Arbutin make a great combination. Together they can help to lighten dark marks and pigmented acne scars quicker than if they were used alone.

What should you not mix with Alpha Arbutin?

You should not mix Alpha Arbutin with Niacinamide Powder due to its pH level. Apart from this Alpha Arbutin can be mixed with any other ingredient including retinol. For this reason, Alpha Arbutin fits well into any skincare routine!

What Other Products Work for Acne Scars?

If you have acne scars which have left the skin rough, bumpy and uneven, there are other products from The Ordinary which may be more suited to you.

Alpha arbutin is recommended for acne scars that appear in the form of dark marks that are flat against the skin. If you have uneven skin however you may be better off choosing a product that contains chemical exfoliants. These could include alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic acid, or beta hydroxy acids like salicylic acid, or both.

Check out the 9 Best Products from The Ordinary for Acne Scars to find products for different types of acne scars. In this post I list not only Alpha Arbutin but also:

  • The Ordinary Azelaic Acid
  • The Ordinary Niacinamide
  • The Ordinary Vitamin C Serum
  • The Ordinary Lactic Acid
  • The Ordinary Peeling Solution
  • The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid
  • The Ordinary Retinol
  • The Ordinary Glyolic Acid Toning Solution

Other Skin Lightening Ingredients

I love using The Ordinary products for acne scars, however there are natural treatments which lighten dark spots, that may be more preferable for sensitive skin types. In fact you don’t need any over the counter products to start whitening hyperpigmentation and evening out skin tone. If you want to try a natural topical treatment check out the following posts:


RelatedHow to Build a Skincare Routine Using The Ordinary


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This post was all about using Alpha Arbutin for Acne Scars

Thank you for reading my post about using Alpha Arbutin for acne scars. Alpha Arbutin is excellent for improving uneven skin tone, and fading hyperpigmentation from acne marks or sun damage. With regular use it can improve the appearance of your skin and leave your entire face brighter and clearer.