Everything to Know About Brightening Hexylresorcinol in Skin Care

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When an ingredient is a bit of a tongue twister it can be off-putting. However, you can trust us when we say that hexylresorcinol won’t hurt you. Instead, it’ll improve your skin on multiple levels. To prove it to you, we had experts break down just what this adaptable ingredient does when included in skin care.

What is hexylresorcinol?

Hexylresorcinol is a type of phenolic lipid that is found in whole grain wheat and rye and is traditionally used as an antiseptic and anesthetic in mouthwashes and throat lozenges, says New York dermatologist Marina Peredo, MD. It’s also been used to treat minor cuts, scrapes and skin infections, she adds.

When it comes to skin care, it’s best known as “an age-fighting, anti-glycation agent that brightens and promotes an even skin tone while reducing future discoloration,” says Lia Arvanitidou, PhD, global vice president for Colgate-Palmolive’s research and development for skin health businesses. Additional benefits include DNA protection and anti-inflammatory properties, notes Dr. Arvanitidou.

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It’s an antioxidant and astringent

Dr. Peredo says the antioxidants in hexylresorcinol help neutralize free radicals. The antioxidant and astringent effects help even the skin tone and brighten complexion. “When combined with other brightening ingredients, such as niacinamide, hexylresorcinol has stronger and lasting effects,” notes Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill.

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It can brighten dark spots

In skin care, hexylresorcinol is known to be an “anti-browning agent,” according to Dr. Longwill. It can aid in lightening dark spots to promote a more even skin tone, explains Dr. Peredo. Combating hyperpigmentation may be hexylresorcinol’s biggest claim to fame. Hexylresorcinol brightens skin by “modulating multiple sites in the melanogenesis pathway,” explains Dr. Arvanitidou.

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It can combat signs of aging

Hexylresorcinol can help fight signs of aging, like fine lines and wrinkles, says Dr. Longwill. Additionally, Dr. Arvanitidou notes that the ingredient encourages collagen production, which helps plump fine lines and gives the skin a younger look.

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It can protect against sun damage

We could all use a little extra sun protection. Dr. Arvanitidou says hexylresorcinol helps guard against sun damage. According to Dr. Peredo, it can boost protection against both UVB and UVA rays.

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It improves the skin’s barrier

According to Dr. Arvanitidou and Dr. Peredo, the multi-talented ingredient can help strengthen the skin barrier. When the skin barrier is stronger, it’s better at fending off external aggressors like pollution and sun exposure.

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Products with hexylresorcinol to try

If all of these benefits got you excited to try hexylresorcinol, we’ve got a few product recommendations for you. Both Dr. Longwill and Dr. Peredo recommend PCA Skin’s C & E Advanced ($125). “It’s a great treatment that contains hexylresorcinol,” says Dr. Peredo. “It helps reduce the appearance of dark spots and signs of aging. It also soothes the skin and is good for all skin types.” Dr. Arvanitidou says PCA Skin Intensive Brightening Treatment ($115) and PCA Skin Retinol Treatment for Sensitive Skin ($115) are also great products with hexylresorcinol. Skinbetter Even Tone Correcting Serum ($150) is another product worth checking out.

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