Looking for a natural alternative to hydroquinone to lighten your dark spots?
Your derm keeps telling you hydroquinone is the gold standard for treating every type of hyperpigmentation. He’s right. No matter if you’re dealing with freckles, melasma or sun spots, nothing lightens them up faster than hydroquinone.
But what about its side effects? Claims hydroquinone causes cancer turned out to be bogus (phew!), but it’s still extremely harsh and can seriously irritate your skin.
And for those with darker skin tones, you’ve also got ochronosis to worry about. That’s what scientists call the blueish tint hydroquinone can give your darker complexion.
It feels like you can’t win. You’re fading away pesky dark spots just to deal with a new kind of problem. Isn’t there an alternative that gives you all the benefits of hydroquinone without any of its side effects?
You’re in luck. Meet bearberry extract, a.k.a. “natural hydroquinone:”
What’s Bearberry Extract?
Bearberry extract comes from the leaves of the Uva Ursi plant, which gives us those delicious red berries. Uva Ursi means “bears’ grapes” in Latin. You can guess why... Bears love to munch on these berries.
Bearberry is a powerful skin-lightener that fights both wrinkles and dark spots. It’s considered a hydroquinone derivative because it works much in the same way. But it’s not hydroquinone and doesn’t break down into hydroquinone.
Translation: bearberry extract can give you all the benefits of hydroquinone without its nasty side effects. Here’s how:
Bearberry Extract Is A Powerful Skin-Lightener
It’s arbutin that gives bearberry its powerful skin-lightening properties. Like hydroquinone, arbutin works in 2 ways:
- It tells the enzyme tyrosinase to slow down the production of melanin, the pigment that gives your skin its beautiful, natural colour.
- It inhibits the maturation of melanosomes, the organelles that produce melanin.
In plain English, the arbutin in bearberry extract prevents your skin from pumping out the extra dose of melanin that’s giving you spots here and there. As this extra melanin fades away, these darker spots slowly return to their original colour.
What Else Does Bearberry Extract Do?
Bearberry extract isn’t an one trick pony. It shot to fame thanks for its skin-lightening properties, but it also keeps wrinkles at bay.
Research shows that bearberry extract is loaded with antioxidants that can neutralize free radicals before they give you wrinkles. A 2004 study shows it’s more powerful than licorice or echinacea at scavenging free radicals.
That’s not all. Bearberry extract has anti-inflammatory properties, too. It contains allantoin, which helps soothe irritations and slow down the aging process. Inflammation is one of the main causes of premature aging, so anything that can quench it will help you keep wrinkles at bay.
Does Bearberry Extract Have Any Side Effects?
Only if you overdo it. Bearberry extract is so powerful, it’s easy to get carried away and think, “hey, if this little has faded my dark spots so much, I should double the dose and make them disappear twice as fast.”
Don’t. Using a stronger dose of bearberry extract doesn’t make your dark spots go away faster. But it could cause uneven lightening, getting you back to square one again.
That’s why we strongly recommend to dilute our Pure Bearberry Extract to 25% for best results. You can do this in two ways.
The easiest way is to add the contents of the bottle to at least 4 ounces of your fave lotion/cream/serum and mix well. Or, if you prefer to mix one dose at a time, pour a pea size amount of lotion/cream/serum on the palm of your hand, add a few drops of bearberry extract and mix well.
If you're not the "mix it yourself" kind of person and prefer a ready-to-go formula, try our Skin Lightening Serum which contains a good dose of bearberry.
Bye bye, dark spots!
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to hydroquinone that fades away dark spots and hyperpigmentation just as well but without the nasty side effects, bearberry extract fits the bills. Bonus points: it helps you keep wrinkles away, too!