This brightening compound is found naturally in fruit extracts like cranberry. It’s nicknamed the “natural hydroquinone” as it has similar abilities to fade dark spots—and is in fact, a natural derivative of the ingredient.
“Arbutin works to inhibit tyrosinase, an enzyme present in melanocytes, the pigment-producing cells in the skin,” says board-certified dermatologist Tiffany Jow Libby, M.D. about the ingredient. “This results in less pigment, dark spots, and skin lightening.”
However, in the case of arbutin, the hydroquinone is slowly released in small doses, making the sensitivity side effects not of concern.
Always worth noting: It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, too.