Arbutin is a glycoside; a glycosylated hydroquinone extracted from bearberry plant in the genus Arctostaphylos among many other medicinal plants, primarily in the family Ericaceae. Applied topically, it inhibits tyrosinase and thus prevents the formation of melanin. Arbutin is therefore used as a skin-lightening agent. It is used as antioxidant, for skin bleaching and skin conditioning, and the structurally related compound beta-arbutin is also used as a depigmenting agent
Very tiny amounts of arbutin are found in wheat, pear skins, and some other foods. It is also found in Bergenia crassifolia.
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