Uva Ursi for Skin: Naturally Lighten and Brighten Your Look

Uva ursi for skin

There are a variety of reasons dark spots can appear on our faces. If you're a sun worshipper, it could be a side effect of too much UV exposure. For the skin-picker, it's likely you're familiar with scarring, or the dark spots left over from acne. And some conditions that cause dark spots, like hyper-pigmentation or melasma, seem to come from nowhere and heal only with time.

While we believe in fully embracing your skin, and all its perfect imperfections, we also understand that sometimes these spots can be a nuisance.

That's when we like to bring in one of our favorite natural alternatives to help brighten your look. It's a plant called uva ursi, also known as bearberry.

what is uva ursi?

Uva ursi (scientifically called Arctostaphylos uva-ursi) is a small shrub with rooting branches and white, pink-flushed, bell-shaped flowers that create glossy, red fruits. The plant is also called “bearberry,” because bears like eating the sour fruits. In fact, the Latin name “uva ursi” actually means, “bear grape.”

The plant likes cooler climates, such as those in northern Europe, North America, and Asia. The leaves stay green all year, with flowers blooming in the summer and then turning into bunches of red and pink berries.

Internal Health Benefits of Uva Ursi

Uva ursi extract is pulled from the leaves of the plant, which have long been used to treat urinary tract disorders, including infections of the kidney, bladder, and urethra; increased urination; painful urination; and urine that contains excess uric acid or other acids. It’s also been used to treat constipation and bronchitis.

So popular was this plant for the treatment of urinary tract infections that it was the common treatment for the condition, right up until the discovery of antibiotics.

Benefits to the Skin

In skin care, we like uva ursi because it can help brighten your look. But aside from that, it's packed full with nourishing antioxidants and astringent properties.  These are just a few of the benefits of this powerhouse plant.

brightens your look

To get all scientific, uva ursi is one of the only natural sources hydroquinone. This is the compound that helps to lighten the appearance of skin, and especially goes to work on dark spots.

Protective antioxidants

Like most plant extracts, uva ursi comes complete with other nutrients, including antioxidants that provide natural protection against environmental stressors.


The extract has natural cleansing properties, which help minimize the appearance of pores, helping skin to appear smoother and more uniform while reducing puffiness.


Uva ursi is a gentle astringent, which means that while it minimizes the appearance of pores, it can also help tighten and firm your look.

Try uva ursi

Uva ursi is included in our formulations for the Citrus Stem Cell Serum and the Illuminating Pearl Mask, two products that help reduce the appearance of dark spots for smoother, more even looking skin. Try it and let us know what you think!

Have you used uva ursi in your skin care? Share your experience in the comments below.

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Reader Interactions


    • Annmarie Skin Care says

      Uva Ursi can be found in our products, but if you wanted to purchase just the herb you’ll want to check out a place like Mountain Rose Herbs!

  1. Lisa Glines says

    I liked it but I didn’t realize how much it was working until I ran out and my spots started getting dark again. I use it every day now.

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