Arbutin (a.k.a. beta arbutin, ursine) is a glycosylated hydroquinone present in the leaves of the Bearberry (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) and responsible for the skin lightening properties of the plant extract. Just like hydroquinone, the shape of arbutin resembles the amino acid tyrosine enough to “fool” tyrosinase, the enzyme that catalyzes the first transformation of tyrosine into melanin. Inhibition of the enzyme in this way is called “competitive” because the false substrate, arbutin, competes with the real one, tyrosine, for the active site of the enzyme.
Arbutin is the natural alternative to hydroquinone, present in the leaves of the bearberry. Arbutin or Beta Arbutin is a highly effective depigmenting and/or lightening composition is accepted worldwide, so it is frequently used as an additive ingredient in the cosmetics or dermatological substance. It can effectually inhibit the formation of melanin. Arbutin is used as skin lightening agents in the cosmetics, especially in advanced cosmetics which have function of lightening skin, sunscreen and dispelling freckle.
Arbutin exhibits potent melanin-inhibiting properties and confers whitening effects on the skin. Sun damage and injury or inflammation to the skin from acne, eczema or psoriasis are the two main factors that cause melanin production on the skin. Arbutin can reduce the accumulation of pigment by inhibiting the production of melanin, which accumulates on the skin when tyrosine is oxidized. An enzyme called tyrosinase is the catalytic for this reaction. Scientists found arbutin has shown inhibitory actions against tyrosinase. When topically apply skincare products containing Arbutin, the inhabitation of tyrosinase results in the decrease of melanin, thus, a whiter complexion