Kojic acid is an ingredient found in some of the better skin lightening products. It’s all natural and has the reputation of being very effective at helping to reduce the appearance of dark blemishes and unwanted hyperpigmentation. This article takes an in depth look at it, Where does it come from?, How does it work? Is it safe?
What is Kojic Acid?
Kojic acid is an all natural ingredient, it can be extracted from a number of sources.
It can be taken from certain types of fungi.
It is also a byproduct of certain foodstuffs when they are fermented.
These can include Rice wine, Soy sauce and Japanese sake.
Uses of Kojic Acid for Skin Issues
Kojic acid has a number of uses in the treatment of skin conditions
Approved by the FDA for use in cosmetic products at concentrations of no more than 1%.
Various skin care products contain it including serums, creams, soaps and powders.
Powders containing it have to be mixed with other lotions or water.
Soaps and cleansers containing it are usually intended for short term use, then are meant to be applied and then washed off immediately.
Creams and serums that use it are supposed to be applied and left on the skin for it to be absorbed.
Of all the above, it’s most commonly used in skin lightening products. Commercial brands such as Meladerm and Amaira include as a main ingredient in the formula.
Primarily designed for use on the face.
However it can also be used on all non-sensitive parts of the body.
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How Does Kojic Acid Work for Lightening Skin?
It is quite effective at reducing the production of tyrosine.
This is a naturally occurring amino acid found in the body that plays a key role in the production of melanin.
This is the pigment that gives our skin its colour as well as playing a part in the color of our eyes and hair.
By reducing the amount of melanin being produced, this ingedient can play a key role in lightening the appearance of our skin.
It can also help to reduce the signs of ageing
The Benefits Of Using Kojic Acid to Lighten Skin
Although its main use is for lightening the skin, Kojic acid does have some other benefits.
It has some proven antimicrobial properties.
This means that it can have some benefits in the treatment of a number of bacterial strains that can affect the skin.
For instance it has been shown to have some benefits when used to treat cases of acne.
It can also help to reduce the appearance of scars left behind from acne.
It is also a proven anti-fungal agent, this makes it suitable to help treat other types of conditions including:
- Athletes foot
- Yeast Infections
It can be found in numerous treatments for the above conditions, largely in soaps or body washes.
Side Effects And Adverse Reactions
The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Panel, and the FDA in the US has studied and reviewed Kojic acid for use in cosmetic products.
It has determined that it is generally safe when used in concentrations of no more than 1%.
That said, it still has the potential to cause side effects in some users.
Government guidelines recommend that you always buy OTC products from a reputable, approved source.
The most common side effect of using Kojic Acid is contact dermatitis.
This can be recognised by the appearance of redness, rashes, irritation, swelling along side sensitivity or pain.
This problem is more like to occur in those with sensitive skin.
It can also be a sign of using an unlicensed product with a concentration of more than 1%.
There is also the chance that with longer term use, some users skin may become more sensitive to sunburn.
Some of the better lightening products contain an SPF in their formula.
If yours does not, make sure you use a good sunscreen of at least 30SPF when going outside.
Finally, NEVER use Kojic Acid on broken or damaged skin.Mina Mansell
Kojic Acid as a Skin Lightener – Our Conclusion
The topical use of products containing Kojic Acid is a great way to lighten unwanted blemishes and cases of hyperpigmentation.
It’s relatively quick to work, and its effects can be speeded further when used alongside other ingredients such as Glycolic acid.
Kojic acid is great at treating areas of scarring, hyperpigmentation and Melasma.
It is however, less effective when used on its own to overall lighten your complexion.
Always use a product that contains 1% concentration OR LESS* – any higher and its most likely unlicensed for sale over the counter.
*The only exception to this are products prescribed by a medical doctor or dermatologist.
If you ever experience any irritation when using Kojic Acid, stop using it immediately and apply an OTC hydrocortisone cream to the affected area.
Study results (under certain conditions) conclude that Hydroquinone is more effective at whitening skin.
Study results and user feedback suggest that it is effective under certain conditions .