Alpha Arbutin

Meet the Best Ingredient for Lightening Dark spots, Acne Scars, & Uneven Skin Tone

how to clear acne and smooth wrinkles by hydrating dryness

Dark spots, acne scars, and uneven skin tone can make anyone feel self-conscious about their skin. The makeup industry knows this and has made countless full coverage foundations and heavy duty concealers. While we may enjoy the look of clear, flawless skin with makeup, we need to target the root cause of dark spots and uneven skin tone with skincare.

We take a holistic approach to skincare; every skin problem isn’t only superficial but tells us how our skin needs more support. For example, acne is not only caused by bacteria on the skin surface but also because the skin is dehydrated on the inside.

Why Do We Get Dark Spots?

When our skin is exposed to the sun for too long, it becomes dehydrated and overreacts by slowly producing a high concentration of melanin as a defense mechanism against the UV rays. Although not immediately visibly, the dark spots and uneven skin tone becomes more apparent the day after.

Dark Spots
In general, most dark spots are caused by too much prolonged sun exposure on skin that did not have enough nutrients and moisture.

Acne Scars
This type of dark spot can make the skin appear rough and is often caused by collagen damage from picking at the pimple.

Appears similar to freckles and is often seen in people who are over the age of 40, melasma is caused by too much sun exposure on skin with weak collagen.

Uneven skin tone
Some areas of the face are slightly more tanned than other areas often due to prolonged uneven sun exposure. Dark spots are more likely to form on areas with uneven skin tone.

Most skincare products that deal with lightening, brightening, or correcting dark spots, acne scars, melasma, or uneven skin tone are made with harsh, high concentrations of acids to exfoliate the problems away. 

Although chemical exfoliation does help boost radiance in overall skin tone, dark spots, acne scars, and melasma need a smarter solution.

How Does Arbutin Work?

Dark spots are not only visible on the surface of the skin, they are also present in the deeper inner layers. Therefore, exfoliating the skin surface with acids usually does not get rid of dark spots, acne scars, or melasma. This approach to clearing dark spots is not suitable for people with sensitive skin types.

For even people with normal skin types, frequent chemical exfoliation causes skin thinning and damaging of the skin barrier, which can cause premature wrinkles.

After your skin has had a bit too much fun in the sun, your skin cells start to overproduce tyrosinase, an enzyme which leads to the formation of melanin aka dark spots, melasma, and uneven skin tone. Tyrosinase production happens deep within the skin layers at the cellular level1. No amount of chemical exfoliation can help reduce this process.

However, arbutin works to literally reduce tyrosinase production without harming your skin cells2. This essentially stops the production of melanin, which prevents dark spots, melasma, and uneven skin tone from even forming in the first place. Treating your skin to a hydrating serum with arbutin after sun exposure is key to getting clear and even toned skin.

Arbutin is naturally sourced from the bearberry plant, which grows natively in chilly parts of Asia, Europe, and North America. The Forte Serum is made with alpha-arbutin, the more effective and powerful form of arbutin.

Although alpha-arbutin is a derivative of hydroquinone, it does not share any of the potential negative side effects of hydroquinone2.

Why is Arbutin the Best Brightener?

When treating an existing skin concern, it is important to consider the long term health of your skin. As explained earlier, harshly exfoliating and chemical peels at the surface level do not effectively lighten dark spots, acne scars, melasma, or uneven skin tone. Instead, they trigger dryness, skin barrier damage, and skin thinning, which make the skin highly prone to premature wrinkles.

The overproduction of melanin that forms concentrated dark spots and blotchy skin tone is caused by one thing: the overproduction of tyrosinase. Alpha-arbutin is one of the only ingredients that has been researched and clinically proven on humans to reduce tyrosinase production at the cellular level to help prevent the formation of dark spots in its tracks2.

Although alpha-arbutin is made from hydroquinone, these two ingredients work differently. Hydroquinone attacks melanocytes, the cells that produce melanin, while alpha-arbutin does not harm melanocytes. Hydroquinone is not recommended as there have been reports of adverse side effects3.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C works like arbutin by helping reduce tyrosinase production. However, not all vitamin C in skincare is created equal. The most common forms of vitamin C in skincare (even found in expensive luxury products) are unstable and lose their effectiveness before you can finish the product4. Read our post about Why Vitamin C Skin Care Products Don’t Work for Everyone.

Arbutin, especially alpha-arbutin, is a safe and stable skin lightening ingredient that addresses the root cause of dark spots, acne scars, melasma, and uneven skin tone. Unlike harsh exfoliating acid ingredients, arbutin does not peel or bleach your skin, causing even more uneven skin tone.

Because arbutin works to reduce the overproduction of tyrosinase, your skin will stay even toned. With regular daily use of a powerful arbutin infused serum, your complexion will appear brighter as the dark spots lighten to match your natural skin tone.

Your skin’s health is foundational when it comes to looking its best. The Forté Serum provides a high concentration of alpha-arbutin along with over 22 skin antioxidant-rich herbal extracts that nourish your skin for that genuinely healthy glow. To smooth stubborn acne scars, the Forté Serum and Cream both provide skin renewing EGF and 9 collagen boosting peptides.

Many customers who have dealt with skin damage, thinning, and premature wrinkles caused by over-exfoliation have found relief and are seeing their best skin ever with Cell Forté Skin care due to our natural yet powerful medical-grade formula.

1 Saeedi, M., Khezri, K., Seyed Zakaryaei, A., & Mohammadamini, H. (2021). A comprehensive review of the therapeutic potential of α‐arbutin. Phytotherapy Research.
2 Sugimoto, K., Nishimura, T., Nomura, K., Sugimoto, K., & Kuriki, T. (2004). Inhibitory effects of α-arbutin on melanin synthesis in cultured human melanoma cells and a three-dimensional human skin model. Biological and Pharmaceutical Bulletin, 27(4), 510-514.
3 Lee, Ji Yeon, et al. "Hydroquinone, a reactive metabolite of benzene, reduces macrophage-mediated immune responses." Molecules & Cells (Springer Science & Business Media BV) 23.2 (2007).
4 Telang, P. S. (2013). Vitamin C in dermatology. Indian dermatology online journal, 4(2), 143. 

Natural, Powerful Ingredients for Youthful-Looking Skin at Any Age

Sodium Hyaluronate

Works better than hyaluronic acid to deliver immediate hydration deep into the skin to help plump fine lines and wrinkles

Brightening Botanicals™

Four natural extracts work in synergy to help gently brighten dark spots and restore radiance without harsh acids or exfoliants


Sourced from silk protein, sericin helps strengthen the skin barrier with 38 amino acids to seal in long-lasting hydration

Sh-oligopeptide-1 (EGF)

Stimulates the skin’s natural renewal process and collagen growth to fight stubborn wrinkles, fade dark spots and acne scars


Sourced from the bearberry plant, arbutin helps brighten uneven skin tone and improve the skin’s resilience against future dark spots and dullness

Nourishing 9 Peptides™

The potent combination of peptides help support collagen growth to help smooth wrinkles while restoring firmness and elasticity

Get Clear, Brighter Skin

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