The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA Ingredients Explained

Last updated on July 18, 2023.

Overview

What it is

Serum with 12 ingredients that contains AHA

Cool Features

It is vegan, cruelty-free, and reef safe

Suited For

It has ingredients that are good for anti aging, brightening skin, reducing pores, scar healing, dark spots and better texture

Free From

It doesn't contain any harsh alcohols, common allergens, fragrances, parabens, silicones or sulfates

Fun facts

The Ordinary is from Canada. This product is used in 938 routines created by our community.

We independently verify ingredients and our claims are backed by peer-reviewed research. Does this product need an update? Let us know.

You should know

Here's our breakdown of the notable ingredients, benefits, and concerns we determined from the ingredients in this product. Click any item to learn more.

Notable Ingredients

AHA

Benefits

Skin Texture
Reduces Large Pores
Anti-Aging
Dark Spots (2)
Scar Healing (2)
Brightening

Concerns

Irritating
Rosacea
Eczema

Ingredient Info

Click any item below to learn more and view relevant ingredients.
alcohol-free
silicon-free
fragrance-free
sulfate-free
paraben-free
oil-free
fungal-acne safe
reef-safe
eu-allergen-free
vegan
cruelty-free

Ingredients Overview

Here's our quick-to-read summary of the ingredients in this product. Keep scrolling if you'd like to learn more about what each ingredient does!
Ingredient
Features
1
Skin Conditioning, Solvent
2
Antioxidant, Bleaching, Skin Conditioning
Antioxidant IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing Icon
3
Emulsion Stabilising
4
Skin Conditioning
5
Solvent
6
Skin Conditioning
7
Emulsifying
Oil IconNot safe for Fungal Acne Icon
8
Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
AHA IconMay cause irritation IconGood for Skin Texture IconGood for Minimizing Pores IconHelps with Anti-Aging IconGood for Dark Spots IconGood for Scar Healing IconMay worsen Eczema IconMay worsen Rosacea IconHelps brighten skin Icon
9
10
Humectant, Solvent
0 / 0
11
Preservative
Preservative Icon
12
Antimicrobial, Preservative
Preservative Icon

Ingredients Explained

This product contains 12 ingredients. Click on any ingredient to learn more about it
1
What it does: Skin Conditioning, Solvent
Community Rating: Loved

Water. It's the most common cosmetic ingredient of all. You'll usually see it at the top of ingredient lists, meaning that it makes up the largest part of the product.

So why is it so popular? Water most often acts as a solvent - this means that it helps dissolve other ingredients into the formulation.

You'll also recognize water as that liquid we all need to stay alive. Talk about multi-purpose! If you see this, drink a glass of water. Stay hydrated!

Learn more about Water
2
What it does: Antioxidant, Bleaching, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Alpha-Arbutin is made from hydroquinone and glucose. It may be derived from the fermentation of soybeans.

It is an antioxidant. Antioxidants help fight free-radicals, or molecules that may damage your skin cells.

Studies show this ingredient helps improve hyperpigmentation and fade discoloration.

Alpha-Arbutin may be used with other ingredients that help with hyperpigmentation. These ingredients include retinol, Vitamin C, niacinamide, and tranexamic acid.

Learn more about Alpha-Arbutin
3
What it does: Emulsion Stabilising
Community Rating: Disliked

Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6 is a texture enhancer and pH adjuster.

It is be used to thicken water-based products and create a gel-texture with a velvet feel.

One manufacturer claims this ingredient to have a pH range of 2-8 and to be biodegradable.

Learn more about Polyacrylate Crosspolymer-6
4
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Mixed

This ingredient is created by putting sodium hyaluronate through hydrolysis.

You might know this as 'mini' or 'ultra low-molecular weight' hyaluronic acid. The small molecule size means it is able to travel deeper in the skin.

According to studies, low molecular-weight hyaluronic acid can:

One study from 2011 found ultra-low weight HA to show pro-inflammatory properties. Another study from 2022 found it to downregulate UV-B induced inflammation.

Hydrolysis is a process of changing a molecule using water or enzymes.

This ingredient is water-soluble.

Learn more about Hydrolyzed Sodium Hyaluronate
5
What it does: Solvent
Community Rating: Liked

Propanediol helps absorb ingredients into your skin, boosting their benefits. It can act as an emollient, making your skin softer. Propanediol can help products last longer by boosting the properties of preservatives within the formulation.

Propanediol is not likely to cause sensitivity and considered safe to use.

It is derived from corn or petroleum with a clear color and no scent.

Learn more about Propanediol
6
What it does: Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Disliked

We don't have a description for Ppg-26-Buteth-26.

7
What it does: Emulsifying
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil is derived from castor oil and polyethylene glycol (PEG). It is used as a emollient and emulsifier.

As an emulsifier, it helps prevent ingredients from separating. It also helps make the other ingredients more soluble; it is often used to solubilize fragrances. This increases spreadability and elongates shelf life in a product.

Emollients help soothe and soften the skin. They do this by creating a protective film on your skin. This barrier helps trap moisture and keeps your skin hydrated. Emollients may be effective at treating dry or itchy skin.

This ingredient may or may not be vegan, depending on the source.

Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil may not be fungal-acne safe. We recommend speaking with a professional if you have any questions or concerns.

Learn more about Peg-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil
8
What it does: Buffering, Humectant, Skin Conditioning
Community Rating: Loved

Lactic Acid is an AHA that is derived from fermenting lactose, a carbohydrate from milk. It removes the top layer of old and dead skin cells and helps increase cell turnover.

Benefits of Lactic Acid are that it can help to reduce large pores and reduce the effects of aging. Some potential downsides are that it can be bad for dry skin, cause irritation, worsen eczema, and worsen rosacea.

Not only does it help exfoliate the skin, it helps strengthen the skin's barrier. When applied, lactic acid helps the skin create ceramides.

Lactic acid is an over-the-counter chemical exfoliant that comes from the fermentation of lactose β€” a carbohydrate found in milk.

Legend has it that Cleopatra used to bathe in sour milk to help reduce wrinkles.

Read more about some other popular AHA's here:

Learn more about Lactic Acid
9
What it does:
Community Rating: Liked

Trisodium Ethylenediamine Disuccinate is used to help stabilize a product.

It is a chelating agent, meaning it helps prevent metal ions from binding to other ingredients. This prevents unwanted reactions in products. Metal ions can come into a product via the water ingredient. They are found in trace amounts and are not known to be harmful.

10
What it does: Humectant, Solvent
Community Rating: Mixed

Ethoxydiglycol is a synthetic solvent.

Solvents are used to keep ingredients together in a product. They can help dissolve ingredients to stable bases or help evenly distribute ingredients throughout the product.

Ethoxydiglycol also helps deliver other key ingredients into the skin.

Learn more about Ethoxydiglycol
11
What it does: Preservative
Community Rating: Very Disliked

Phenoxyethanol is a preservative that has germicide, antimicrobial, and aromatic properties. Studies show that phenoxyethanol can prevent germ and microbial growth. By itself, it has a scent that is similar to that of a rose.

It's often used in formulations along with Caprylyl Glycol to preserve the shelf life of products.

12
What it does: Antimicrobial, Preservative
Community Rating: Disliked

Chlorphenesin is a synthetic preservative. It helps protect a product against bacteria in order to extend shelf life. In most cases, Chlorphenesin is paired with other preservatives such as phenoxyethanol and caprylyl glycol.

Chlorphenesin is a biocide. This means it is able to help fight the microorganisms on our skin. It is also able to fight odor-releasing bacteria.

Chlorphenesin is soluble in both water and glycerin.

Studies show Chlorphenesin is easily absorbed by our skin. You should speak with a skincare professional if you have concerns about using Chlorphenesin.

Learn more about Chlorphenesin
Embed Ingredients

Here's what our community thinks of the 12 ingredients in this product ✨

42% are loved or liked
17% have mixed ratings
42% are disliked or very disliked
0% have no rating yet

When to use

We've created a guide with info on when you should use The Ordinary Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA. We've also included some recommended products to use it with, as well as some routine inspiration!

Read our guide on when to use Alpha Arbutin 2% + HA ->
Verified by SkinSort

We're dedicated to providing you with the most up-to-date and science-backed ingredient info out there.

The data we've presented on this page has been verified by a member of the SkinSort Team.

Read more about us

Top Reviews

View all 7
AshN.'s Avatar'
Feb 13, 2024

(Tried Nov 2022) This turned out to be one of those products that I had a bit of a hard time determining whether or not it worked even after a few purchases. If anything, I appreciated how budget friendly it was and the hydrating feel of...

(Tried Nov 2022) This turned out to be one of those products that I had a bit of a hard time determining whether or not it worked even after a few purchases. If anything, I appreciated how budget friendly it was and the hydrating feel of the serum, but I can't say it did much for my stubborn dark spots.

Great Value
Hydrating
Light
Absorbs Well
Doesn't Work

Latest Reviews

View all 7
Qinasofree's Avatar'
Jul 11, 2022

LOVE THIS
I love TO products, and this Alpha Arbutin is def my skin favourites! It helps in reducing my hyperpigmentation and the added HA keeps my skin hydrated.

LOVE THIS
I love TO products, and this Alpha Arbutin is def my skin favourites! It helps in reducing my hyperpigmentation and the added HA keeps my skin hydrated.

Read more reviews ->

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