When there’s a ton of products featuring different ingredients and benefits, how exactly should we use them? We’ll be covering a few ingredients that help target skin concerns like acne and skin discoloration.


What is it?

Arbutin (otherwise known as alpha arbutin) is a natural skin brightening and lightening ingredient that’s derived from bearberries, blueberries or cranberries. It’s a gentle alternative to other brightening ingredients that are more potent and irritating, especially to sensitive skin. 

Who can benefit?

Since arbutin is a natural skin brightening ingredient, it can benefit all skin types. It’s especially beneficial for those who have hyperpigmentation or skin discoloration. So if you have post acne marks, melasma, sun spots, and even age spots, definitely give arbutin a try.

What ingredients does it pair well with?

Vitamin C

Arbutin and vitamin C are two of the best skin brightening powerhouses for discolored skin. They are found to draw on each other’s strengths and even speed up brightening the overall complexion.

AHA (lactic, mandelic, glycolic acids) /BHA (salicylic acid)

Ideally you’d want to exfoliate before applying your arbutin product. When you exfoliate, you’re helping your skin shed off the layer of dead skin cells that can prevent active ingredients from penetrating through. 

Hyaluronic acid

This goes without saying – a happy moisturized skin leads to healthy skin. Hyaluronic acid is technically considered an active ingredient, but it’s not as acidic as your AHAs and BHAs. If anything, it’s a great soothing ingredient that can help replenish any lost moisture in the skin. And here’s a useful tip: after cleansing, apply on damp (but not wet) skin!

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Azelaic Acid

What is it & how does it work?

Azelaic acid holds a very special place in Felicia’s heart. It’s a natural acid that’s found in your skin and it’s also derived from grains like barley, wheat, and rye. Fun fact: azelaic acid is gluten-free! 

Who can benefit?

Azelaic acid is very beneficial to acne-prone skin. It’s also great for skin discoloration, redness, hyperpigmentation and even rosacea. This is one of those ingredients that multi-tasks. And it multi-tasks pretty hard. We’re talking about lightening pigmentation while killing acne-causing bacteria. It works to calm red or inflamed skin while exfoliating to push dead skin cells to the surface. 

What ingredients does it pair well with?

AHA (glycolic or lactic acid) / BHA (salicylic acid) / PHA

Pairing these two ingredients can act as a tag team. The exfoliants can unclog pores while on the other hand, the azelaic acid sweeps up acne-causing bacteria and calm the skin. It’s a great duo.


Niacinamide is widely-known to minimize pores and brighten skin. When combined with azelaic acid, those abilities double without causing irritation.


On the other side of the spectrum, retinol is a more nitty-gritty player. If acne or acne-caused hyperpigmentation is your main concern, retinol can add a boost to the exfoliating, skin tone evening, and acne killing powers. 

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Tranexamic Acid

What is it & how does it work?

Tranexamic acid is a synthetic amino acid derived from lysine. Lysine is responsible for hydration and stimulating collagen production in the skin’s deeper layers. So it’s a pretty big deal. This ingredient was used orally and topically, especially in surgeries to stop excessive bleeding. But in the skincare world, it’s known as a depigmenting ingredient with added benefits. This includes calming down the skin, restoring skin barrier, and decreasing the skin’s sensitivity to UV rays. 

Who can benefit?

If you have melasma, splotchy red skin, post-acne marks or discolored skin, tranexamic acid can help. And according to this study, tranexamic acid has similar skin brightening abilities as hydroquinone without the potential side effects. We’re talking about potential inflammation, dermatitis, and other unwanted conditions.

What ingredients does it pair well with?

Niacinamide, Alpha Arbutin, Kojic Acid, Vitamin C + E + Ferulic acid

What do these ingredients have in common? They all have skin brightening properties. When you pair tranexamic acid with any of these ingredients, you might be able to see your skin discoloration lightening a bit sooner. 

PHA/ Retinoid

If you’re focusing more on exfoliating, PHA or a retinoid can help to boost the results They can help even out skin tone and texture while tranexamic acid tones it all down.

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