Kojic Acid For Skincare: All You Need To Know

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In 1988, kojic acid was approved by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan as an active whitening ingredient and since then, the rest is history.

This wonderful ingredient has been used for decades in tackling the issue of dark spots, sun spots, age spots and even acne scars. Infact Kojic acid is a godsend skincare ingredient for people with hyperpigmentation. The Japanese swears by it. No wonder their skin always looks so bright, spotless and youthful.

Keep reading to know more about this wonderful skincare ingredient.

Kojic Acid For Skincare.

What is Kojic Acid?.

Kojic acid is a chemical produced from different types of fungi. It is also a by-product of fermented soy sauce and rice wine. It takes a powder form.
This melanin inhibitor can be found in a number of different types of cosmetic products, including serums, creams, cleansers, and soaps.

Types Of Kojic Acid.

It’s interesting to let you know that kojic acid has two different types which are:

  • Kojic Acid and
  • Kojic Acid Dipalmitate

What’s the difference between the two?

  • Kojic Acid: itself oxidizes quickly when exposed to air, heat or light. That being said, Kojic acid is unstable and isn’t resistant to heat, or exposure to air, as any of these can render its potency ineffective. But asides that, it’s very effective in lightening the skin.
  • Kojic Acid Dipalmitate: This is a more stable form of Kojic acid, but not as effective for skin lightening as the regular Kojic acid. Many companies use Kojic acid dipalmitate because of its stability in nature. Many brands will still market it as regular Kojic Acid.

How Does Kojic Acid Works.

Just like Arbutin, Kojic acid is also a better alternative to Hydroquinone, it works by inhibiting biochemical processes and enzymes that are involved in producing melanin (dark skin pigment) in the skin. By interrupting the production of melanin (known as melanogenesis) the skin will eventually begin to lighten.

Although, Kojic acid being a natural ingredient, seeing visible results may take some time. But with regular usage it will effectively improve complexion, brighten uneven skintone and fade hyperpigmentation.

Kojic acid is present as an active ingredient in numerous skincare products such as serums, creams, lotions, gels, soaps, cleansers and masks. We advise you should follow the instructions laid down by the manufacturers before usage.

Kojic acid soaps and cleansers are meant to be washed off immediately after application, while you can leave serums, creams, and lotions on overnight for better absorption. Kojic acid face masks are designed to be used only on occasional times, while creams and cleansers may be used daily. Kojic acid products are most commonly used on the face, hands and areas of the body except sensitive areas or broken skin.

Kojic acid for skincare

Is Kojic Acid Safe?

Kojic acid is 100% natural, its effect are reversible and do not damage cells or function. Melanin production resumes once Kojic acid usage stops.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel came to conclusion that kojic acid is safe to use in cosmetics in concentrations of 1 percent. However, some individuals may still experience side effects or risks from its use. That being said, 1% Kojic acid is ideal for skin lightening and also tackling the issue of dark spots and uneven skintone.

Kojic Acid Skin Benefits.

It Reduces Hyperpigmentation.

Kojic acid for skincare has benefited dark spots sufferers by fading all kinds of hyperpigmentation Including melasma and brightens unven skintone. Thereby leaving the skin visibly bright and spotless.

It Has Anti-Aging Benefits.

Kojic acid also offers anti-aging benefits. Not only does it reverse sun damages and
inhibits the action of tyrosinase, which is responsible for melanin production but also lessens the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines and other skin aging signs.

It Has Anti-Bacterial Properties.

Kojic acid also possesses anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties as it can ward off several types of bacteria including acne causing bacteria. Not only does Kojic acid kills P. acnes but also lightens left over acne scars.

It Has Anti-Fungal Properties.

In-addition to its skin lightening potentials, Kojic acid also contains anti-fungal properties. Kojic acid is useful in treating skin fungal infections such as yeast infection, candidiasis, ringworm and athlete’s foot. its even added in some anti-fungal products to increase their efficacy. Kojic acid soaps may also helps prevent bacterial and fungal infections on the body.

Kojic acid for skincare

Kojic Acid Risks & Side Effects.

Irrespective of the wonderful potentials of Kojic acid to the skin, it still has some downsides, and these side effects are:

It May Cause Contact Dermatitis.

Contact dermatitis is the most common side effects of Kojic acid. This skin condition can manifest as irritation, redness, itchiness rashes, swollen skin and skin discomfort. That being said, contact dermatitis is most common in those with sensitive skin, or in individuals using a product with a higher concentration than 1 percent of kojic acid. Therefore, discontinue use if you’re reacting to a product with kojic acid in it.

Our Tip
Individuals with sensitive skin should avoid products with Kojic acid, if you must use Kojic acid, then go for products with 1 percent and don’t forget to follow up with a moisture-rich moisturizer and sunscreen during the day.

Long-Term Usage Could Cause Sunburn.

Long-term or overtime use of Kojic acid could invite the occurrence of sunburn, this is because Kojic acid in one way increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun and that’s why it’s highly recommend you should follow up with sunscreen and put up protective cloths to protect your skin from the UV rays of the sun.

Kojic Acid Precautions: Things You Should Know Before Using Kojic Acid Products.

  • You should never use kojic acid on damaged or broken skin as this will cause a severe irritation.
  • Always follow up the instructions by the manufacturers before using Kojic acid products.
  • If you have a sensitive skin, you may want to stay away from using products containing Kojic acid. However if you must use them, then we recommend doing a patch test to see of you’ll react negatively to it.
  • While using Kojic acid products ensure to apply sunscreen during the day and always wear protective cloths to protect your skin from sun rays.
  • If you should encounter any negative skin reactions while using Kojic acid such as redness, itchiness, rashes, swollen skin etc, you should stop use immediately and see a doctor if possible.
  • As individuals varies, so shall result also varies while using Kojic acid product. It all depends on skin type and severity of pigmentation being treated.
    Some may see results in 2 weeks time while others may see results in 1 month time.

Possible Questions & Answers.

Q: How often should i use kojic acid products?

A: Once daily is ideal, and that should be at night only. During the day you can apply vitamin C serum on your face and a moisturizer on your body.

Q: What form does Kojic acid Take?

A: Kojic acid takes a crystalline powder form, which makes it hard to dissolve in water unlike Arbutin powder.

Q: Is Kojic acid safe for pregnant women & nursing mothers?

A: Kojic acid as a natural skin brightener and a naturally occurring skincare ingredient is safe to use during pregnancy and while breastfeeding, to lighten dark spots and melasma (also popularly known as the “mask of pregnancy“). Unlike hydroquinone, which has a relatively high systemic absorption rate, and retiniods which has controversial evidence to possible risk of causing child defects and disorders such as depression and anxiety.

Q: How do i add Kojic acid powder into my cream or lotion.

A: You can mix in Kojic acid powder into your cream or lotion by either dissolving it first using a double boiler method before adding into your cream or lotion.

Or you can as well add the powder into your cream or lotion and stir while you leave it to dissolve on its own.
Note: Kojic acid powder isn’t water soluble, that being said, it can’t easily dissolve in water, therefore it’s going to take hours for it to completely dissolve into your cream or lotion.

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