Kojic acid is a godsend for anyone who’s battling dark spots and dull skin. It is a wonder ingredient present in skin brightening creams and serums, and I will tell you why. Keep reading.
Table Of Contents
- What Is Kojic Acid?
- Uses Of Kojic Acid: How It Works
- Kojic Acid: Is It Safe For Skin? What Are The Benefits?
- Are There Any Side Effects Of Kojic Acid?
- Things To Keep In Mind Before Using Kojic Acid
- Kojic Acid Products You May Try
What Is Kojic Acid?
Kojic acid is an agent that is extracted from different types of fungi, especially the different strains of Aspergillus (a kind of fungus). It was first discovered in 1907 and was extracted from a strain of Aspergillus called Aspergillus oryzae grown on steamed rice.
The name kojic acid is taken from the Japanese term “koji,” meaning “steamed rice.” It is widely used in cosmetic and skin care products as a whitening and brightening agent (1). Let’s get to know more about it in detail.
Uses Of Kojic Acid: How It Works
Kojic acid is a key ingredient in many skin brightening creams, gels, and serums. The Scientific Committees on Consumer Products (SCCP) approved using kojic acid in skin care products at a concentration of 1% or less (2).
You will come across soaps, cleanser, serums, creams, and lotions containing different concentrations of kojic acid. You need to use the product as per the instructions provided by the manufacturer. While you have to wash off soaps and cleansers immediately after application, you can leave serums, creams, and lotions on overnight for better absorption. Let’s now understand how kojic acid functions.
Kojic acid brightens your skin by inhibiting melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that colors your skin, eyes, and hair. Overproduction of melanin often gives you dark spots and uneven skin tone. Your body produces melanin with the help of an amino acid called tyrosine. Kojic acid inhibits the function of tyrosine, which, in turn, inhibits melanin production (3).
But, the question is, how safe is kojic acid for your skin?
Kojic Acid: Is It Safe For Skin? What Are The Benefits?
A study on six postmenopausal women tested the effect of kojic acid cream (containing 1% kojic acid). Their blood test revealed the presence of some amount of kojic acid in their plasma. However, the study suggested that since the absorption of kojic acid into the skin (and subsequently into the bloodstream) is prolonged, there isn’t any chance of adverse effects on humans (2).
Using products with kojic acid has several benefits.
1. It Reduces Hyperpigmentation
Excessive sun exposure may cause hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and freckles on your skin. Applying kojic acid on your face can help lighten the spots and patches, giving you clear skin. It is also said to have an overall whitening effect on your skin. It can treat melasma successfully without irritating your skin (3).
2. It Has Anti-Aging Effects
Now that sounds exciting! Kojic acid creams and products not only reverse sun damage but also reduce wrinkles and signs of aging. Kojic acid inhibits the action of tyrosinase, which is responsible for melanin production and the skin aging process (4).
3. It Has Antibacterial Properties
Although the antibacterial properties of kojic acid are not extraordinarily powerful, it is pretty effective against several strains of bacteria and can inhibit their growth even when used in small dilutions (2).
4. It Has Antifungal Properties
Kojic acid also has antifungal properties. It was found to have an inhibitory effect on certain strains of fungi and is extremely helpful in treating yeast infections, such as athlete’s foot or ringworm and candidiasis. Regular application of kojic acid on the skin helps prevent bacterial and fungal skin infections (5).
Although kojic acid is extremely safe for skin, few people may experience a few side effects.
Are There Any Side Effects Of Kojic Acid?
The most common side effects of kojic acid are:
1. It May Cause Contact Dermatitis
People with sensitive skin are prone to contact dermatitis. According to a review published by the American Contact Dermatitis Society, a patient developed contact dermatitis after using a cream containing kojic acid (6).
2. It Might Make Your Skin Sensitive To Sun Rays
Kojic acid inhibits the production of melanin, a pigment that is also responsible for saving your skin from sunburn and other side effects of harsh sun rays. When melanin production is compromised, your skin becomes susceptible to sunburn.
To avoid any side effects, it is always better to consult a dermatologist before using kojic acid. There are certain things that you should keep in mind while using kojic acid.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Using Kojic Acid
- Kojic acid is helpful for people who have skin spots, hyperpigmentation, scars, and dark patches. People who suffer from any particular skin condition should avoid using kojic acid. Also, those suffering from allergies should consult a doctor before using it.
- When using kojic acid products, always stick to the instructions provided by the manufacturer. If your doctor has prescribed any product, ask for usage directions and follow them.
- If you notice any rash or changes in your skin after using kojic acid products, do not ignore it. Stop using it and visit the doctor immediately.
- Never use kojic acid on broken skin.
The desired result may vary from person to person, depending on the skin type and the severity of the condition. Some may get results in a few weeks while a few others may take months to show results. Try to use kojic acid only for a brief period – until the condition is healed or you get the desired results.
Here’s a list of kojic acid products that are available online.
Kojic Acid Products You May Try
1. Marie France Original Kojic Acid Soap
This soap is specially made for skin brightening. It is usually made in small batches to retain the efficacy of kojic acid. This is because kojic acid tends to oxidize quickly. This soap has high potency and should be used as per manufacturer instructions.
This overnight cream claims to give faster results in reducing age spots, dark spots, and skin discoloration. It contains kojic acid with a refined vegetable oil base that blends quickly into your skin for better results.