Beauty Ingredient 101: Bearberry


The most striking aspect of the bearberry plant may be its bright red berries (a favorite of bears, hence the name), but the most powerful beauty benefits of bearberry are found in its leaves, which are prized for their skin-brightening abilities. Bearberry leaves contain a natural lightening compound called arbutin that's said to be quite powerful at bleaching dark spots, age spots and melasma. Bearberry is usually delivered in small doses in brightening skin care products so its powerful lightening effect remains gentle and natural. Bearberry is also packed with antioxidants and has natural sun protective benefits for the skin.

You'll find bearberry leaf extract in tons of natural skin care products, from John Masters Organics to 100% Pure, Derma-e and Eminence. One of the skin lightening products with bearberry that I'm most excited about is Fei'd (it's pronounced 'fade'), a botanical-based, hydroquinone-free lotion that lightens skin with a handful of powerful natural ingredients, from bearberry to border silver, mulberry, hawthorne and licorice.

I've just started testing Fei'd, but the ingredient combination looks uniquely powerful, groundbreaking (it mixes many ingredients that are well-known in Chinese Medicine)- and gentle. If you're looking to naturally lighten spots on your skin, this formula gets my enthusiastic approval, even if you have sensitive skin! It does not contain controversial and potentially carcinogenic skin lightener hydroquinone or natural lightener kojic acid, which is known to cause skin sensitivity. Of course, you'll need to use Fei'd faithfully, twice daily for three months, to see the best results. Lightening products like Fei'd aren't suited for birthmarks, freckles and moles. Fei'd smells sweet and a bit herbal from its blend of natural ingredients (no fragrance added), making it a pleasure to apply.

Have you tried a natural skin lightener with bearberry? What were your results?