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Kojic Acid for Skin : Benefits & Everything to know

by Rashi Bahel Mehra |

In a myriad of skin-lightening products, Kojic acid gained the spotlight as well. It is known to combat hyperpigmentation, uneven skin tone, and other skin complexion concerns.  

It is a white or cream-coloured crystalline powder soluble in water that naturally diminishes dark spots and scars. Have you ever thought of incorporating Kojic acids into your skincare routine? 

Here's a comprehensive guide for you to understand the science behind it and its miraculous skin-lightening & brightening effects.  


What is Kojic Acid?

Kojic acid is a by-product of fermented soya sauce and rice wine. The 58 fungal strains of the Aspergillus genus secrete it. Besides cosmetics, it is also used in pharmaceuticals, agriculture, food, and chemical industries.

In skin care products, it acts as a bleaching agent. It lightens and brightens the skin by inhibiting melanin production. Let's understand the mechanism of Kojic acid in detail!


How does Kojic Acid work?

Unlike other skin-lightening agents, Kojic acid does not exfoliate the uppermost layer of skin. Instead, it inhibits the production of Tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for the production of melanin production.

When skin is exposed to the sun & UV rays, the copper ion active site in Tyrosinase is highly reactive. It captures the copper ion to inhibit the activation of tyrosine and then further stops the production of melanin.


Advantages of Kojic Acid

Anti-aging outcomes / Antioxidant activity

Kojic acid is a whitening agent that diminishes dark spots, age spots, and sun damage. This overall reduction of dark spots and skin reversal impacts skin ageing.

Moreover, its anti-melanogenic and antioxidant nature prevents skin ageing and tanning.

Antimicrobial & Antifungal possessions

Kojic acid and its derivatives are the main ingredients of antifungal products. It's known to treat yeast infection, ringworms, candidiasis, and athlete's foot.

In other words, it can be used to inhibit the growth of acne-causing microorganisms such as fungi, viruses, and bacteria. It is especially effective in treating fungal infections due to Fusarium oxysporum.

Reduces Scars

It is a whitening and lightening agent that reduces dark spots and scars. Regular application of it does not eliminate the scar, but it lightens the mark.

Reduces Hyperpigmentation

Kojic acid is a depigmenting agent; it reduces pigmentation by inhibiting the production of melanin. In the case of hyperpigmentation, it works wonders.

Remember, only 1% and 4% concentration is safe to use.

Treat Melasma

Melasma is a common skin condition in which the skin develops brown and grey patches all over the skin. Its lightening properties evens out uneven skin tone.

Nowadays, skin care companies have started replacing hydroquinone with Kojic acid.

Kojic Acid for Skin Benefits 

Disadvantages of Kojic Acid

Contact dermatitis (especially in sensitive skin)

Redness, swelling, irritation, swollen skin, and rashes are the common signs of contact dermatitis. Immediately stop the use of Kojic acid if you see any of these signs.

Long-term use of Kojic Acid may make skin more susceptible to sunburn

The action mechanism of Kojic acid inhibits melanin production, a pigment that protects skin from harmful UV rays and sun damage. The long-term use makes skin vulnerable to sun rays.

For the same reason, people are advised not to avoid the sun after the application of Kojic acids and retinoids.

Using Kojic Acid on damaged or broken skin can result in cancer

Kojic acid increases the risk of skin cancer and tumour formation. Several researchers reported its carcinogenic nature. Asian and European markets have banned the use of Kojic acid due to its skin toxicity concerns.


Is Kojic Acid effective in reducing hyperpigmentation?

In most cases, the benefits of Kojic acid are seen within two weeks or earlier. It's more effective when used with glycolic acid. It lightens skin, blemishes dark spots, and makes your skin one tone brighter.

It's a new bleaching agent in the skin care industry that can reduce the impact of excess sun exposure, spots, rashes, and scars.

Kojic acid is effective when used mindfully. You can incorporate it in your skincare to reduce hyperpigmentation. There are several face serums, creams & lotions as crucial ingredients.

Kojic Acid: How to use It safely?

Don't forget these points while incorporating Kojic acid into your skincare routine: 

Patch Test: Test Kojic acid on your hand or any other body part before applying it to your face. You will know in a test if you are allergic to it or not.

Skin type: Consider your skin type as one of the significant factors. Even though Kojic acid is recommended for all types of skin, people with sensitive skin may still face issues.

Sun protection: It's better to avoid sun exposure; if you are unable to avoid sun exposure, then pair it with sunscreen with an SPF of more than 30.

Consult Expert: Consult a dermatologist for expert advice in case you start noticing any unusual signs after regular application of Kojic acid.

Use with precaution: Never apply it directly on wounds or injuries. It poses carcinogenic properties. 

Wrap Up

Kojic acid is a popular skin-lightening & brightening agent that shows significant results within a few weeks. At the same time, you have to take necessary precautions to avoid its adverse effects.


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