Arbutin

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 29.10.2020

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Synonym(s)

Arbutinum; Hydroquinone-beta-D-glucoside; Urisin

Definition
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Arbutin is a naturally occurring glucoside that can be extracted from Uvae uris folium, the leaves of the bearberry. It is also found in other plant species such as Ericaceae, Lamiaceae, Rosaceae, Caprifoliaceae etc. As a hydroquinone derivative it has an inhibitory effect on melanogenesis in external preparations (often extracts of bearberry leaves are found in (natural) cosmetics), i.e. it lightens the skin. Arbutin is hydrolytically split in the organism into hydroquinone and glucose.

Literature
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  1. Crocco EI et al (2015) A novel cream formulation
  2. nicotinamide 4%, arbutin 3%, bisabolol 1%, and retinaldehyde 0.05% for treatment of epidermal melasma. Cutis 96:337-342.
  3. Desmedt B et al (2016) Overview of skin whitening agents with an insight into the illegal cosmetic market in Europe. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol 30:943-950.
  4. Liang K et al (2016) Arbutin encapsulated micelles improved transdermal delivery and suppression of cellular melanin production. BMC Res Notes 9:254.
  5. Morag M et al (2015) A double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial of Serratulae quinquefoliae folium, a new source of β-arbutin, in selected skin hyperpigmentations. J Cosmet Dermatol 14:185-190.
  6. Wu SY et al (2015) 4-(Phenylsulfanyl)butane-2-One Suppresses Melanin Synthesis and Melanosome Maturation In Vitro and In Vivo. Int J Mol Sci 16:20240-2057.