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Want Brighter Skin? Try Hexylresorcinol

In the quest for even-toned skin, chances are good that you’ve tried quite a few different concoctions, to varying degrees of success. From old-school ingredients like retinol to natural newness like pineapple juice, there are so many ways to get your glow on these days. Time to add one more to the list: hexylresorcinol. Not familiar with it? Well, let us en-brighten you.


It’s a bit more of a mouthful than, say, vitamin C, but this little-known ingredient is a skin-brightening power player that deserves a place in your regular rotation. In order to understand what makes HR so special, let’s take a little walk down beauty memory lane.

There are two main types of brighteners: Those that fade existing spots and those that block your skin from creating melanin (read: pigment). For many years, the gold standard for the latter was a chemical compound called hydroquinone. Used both in prescriptions and over the counter, hydroquinone works by inhibiting the activity of something called tyrosinase, which is the enzyme that helps your skin create that melanin. By blocking its activity, it prevents the formation of new hyperpigmentation and keeps any existing pigmentation from getting darker.

Sounds great, but there’s a catch: In the last decade, research showed that hydroquinone in large concentrations could be a potential carcinogenic. While it hasn’t been proven without a doubt to cause cancer in humans, it created enough concern that the E.U. banned it entirely and the FDA now only permits products to have 2% or under in their formulas.


Enter hexylresorcinol. A synthetic ingredient, HR has that same tyrosinase inhibiting power without the harmful side effects. Many skin experts say it’s even more powerful than hydroquinone, thanks in part to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. And, unlike retinol, it won’t irritate most skin types and does not increase your sensitivity to UV rays. But, obviously, still wear sunscreen when you use it because that’s just common sense.

Even more promising is how well hexylresorcinol plays with natural brighteners like vitamin C. As we’ve talked about before, vitamin C works by breaking down existing pigments to diminish their appearance over time. Paired with HR, which prevents hyperpigmentation from forming in the first place, the two are a dynamic duo for a sparkling complexion.

Which is why we put the pair together in our ultimate skin brightener, Pineapple-C Bright Serum — the two make each other work harder. Add in the bromelain enzymes and alpha-hydroxy acids found naturally in pineapple juice, plus calming chamomile and aloe, and you’ve got the perfect transformation potion to take your skin to smooth, soft, even, and bright new heights.

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