top of page


Arbutase and hydroquinone are both used in skincare for their skin-lightening effects, but they differ significantly in their composition and mechanism of action.


1. Hydroquinone:

                                  - Mechanism: Hydroquinone works by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase, which is essential in the melanin production process. By blocking this enzyme, hydroquinone reduces the production of melanin, leading to lighter skin tones where it is applied.

                                  - Usage: It's often prescribed for treating hyperpigmentation, such as age spots, melasma, and freckles.

                                - Concerns: Hydroquinone is considered effective but can have side effects such as skin irritation, increased sun sensitivity, and, with prolonged use, ochronosis (a bluish-black discoloration of the skin). Due to these concerns, it is regulated in many countries and available only by prescription in concentrations above 2%.


2. Arbutase:

                                - Mechanism: The term "arbutase" isn’t a standard skincare ingredient and might be a less common term or brand-specific name. It could be a variant or derivative related to arbutin, which is known for similar effects to hydroquinone but is considered gentler. Arbutin (also known as alpha-arbutin) is a naturally occurring compound found in certain plants. It also works by inhibiting tyrosinase but is released more slowly, which may result in less skin irritation compared to hydroquinone.

                               - Usage: Arbutin is used in over-the-counter skin-lightening products and is favored for being gentler and less irritating.

                               - Concerns: While generally safer and less irritating than hydroquinone, it is typically also less potent. People with sensitive skin or those seeking a natural ingredient often prefer arbutin. If "arbutase" refers to a product or specific formulation containing arbutin or a similar compound, it would generally be considered safer and suitable for over-the-counter use, offering a milder alternative to hydroquinone with fewer side effects. Always check the specific product details or consult with a skincare professional to understand the exact ingredients and their implications.


 Hydroquinone and kojic acid are both popular ingredients used in skincare products for their skin-lightening properties, but they have different characteristics and mechanisms of action:

1. Hydroquinone:

                                 - Mechanism: It inhibits the enzyme tyrosinase, which is crucial for melanin production. By reducing melanin synthesis, hydroquinone effectively lightens skin discolorations such as age spots, melasma, and other forms of hyperpigmentation.                                            - Usage: It's considered one of the most effective skin-lightening treatments and is often available by prescription in higher concentrations (above 2%) due to its potency.

                                  - Concerns: Hydroquinone is powerful but can cause side effects, including skin irritation, redness, and in rare cases, ochronosis (a bluish-black discoloration of the skin) with prolonged use. It also increases sun sensitivity, requiring users to apply sun protection diligently.


2. Kojic Acid:

                                   - Mechanism: Kojic acid, a by-product of certain fungal species, also inhibits tyrosinase. It interferes with the production of melanin in a similar way to hydroquinone but is typically considered less potent.

                                   - Usage: Often found in over-the-counter skin-lightening creams and serums, kojic acid is used to treat sun damage, scars, and age spots. It's also popular in products aimed at evening out skin tone and enhancing brightness.

                                   - Concerns: Kojic acid can cause skin irritation and sensitivity, particularly in higher concentrations. It is generally considered safer than hydroquinone, leading to its widespread use in cosmetic formulations. However, like hydroquinone, it can increase sensitivity to sunlight, necessitating the use of sunscreen.


                                  - Effectiveness: Hydroquinone is more potent and may show results more quickly than kojic acid. However, this potency comes with a higher risk of adverse effects.

                                  - Safety: Kojic acid is often preferred for users with sensitive skin or those looking for a gentler alternative to hydroquinone.

                                 - Availability: Hydroquinone is regulated in many countries and may require a prescription, while kojic acid is widely available in over-the-counter products.

                               - Application Regime: Both ingredients increase the skin's sensitivity to sunlight, making the use of a broad-spectrum sunscreen essential.

In summary, the choice between hydroquinone and kojic acid often depends on individual skin tolerance, the degree of hyperpigmentation, and personal preference regarding ingredient safety and origin. For severe hyperpigmentation, hydroquinone may be recommended under medical supervision, while kojic acid serves as a suitable alternative for those seeking a less aggressive approach or have sensitive skin.


60 East 56th St., #300 • New York, NY 10022

  • Instagram
  • Facebook

Thanks for submitting!

bottom of page