Acids have taken over our skincare routines. We turn to them for everything from hydration to exfoliation to getting rid of blemishes and then some. But it’s come to our attention that even some of the most skincare-obsessed among us have been sleeping on one of the most effective acids out there – which is why we’re shining a spotlight on Kojic acid, you’re new go-to for glowy, even-toned skin.
What Is Kojic Acid?
Kojic acid is a byproduct produced from different types of fungi, fermented soy sauce and rice wine. It is sometimes used in the food industry as a natural preservative.Kojic acid has plenty of benefits, especially when it comes to hyperpigmentation. It inhibits and prevents the formation of tyrosine, which is an amino acid needed to produce melanin. Melanin is a natural pigment of the skin and a component that darkens the skin. Skin darkening resulting from sun damage, pregnancy, and other hyperpigmentation issues can be targeted by kojic acid since it does not tamper with your natural skin tone, which is why this brightening compound can be used by dusky skin tones as well. KA-infused sheet masks or creams will not leave your glorious dusky skin tone looking ashy or chalky.
Benefits of Kojic Acid Serum
Kojic acid is used in skin-lightening products because of its ability to inhibit tyrosinase activity (the pigment-producing enzyme) in melanin production in the skin. As a result, kojic acid fades non-normal pigmentation such as sun spots, age spots, and dark spots and prevents the formation of freckles and skin pigmentation after sunburn.
By fading non-normal pigmentation in your skin, kojic acid brightens your complexion and evens out your skin tone, causing your dull skin to look healthier and more vibrant.
Less Aggressive than Hydroquinone
Kojic acid is a natural ingredient, making it a safe skin lightening agent. Hydroquinone also occurs naturally; however, the synthetic version is commonly used in cosmetics, making it a more aggressive skin lightening agent. In addition, if you use hydroquinone incorrectly or for a prolonged period, it can cause permanent damage to the skin by causing the skin to turn a bluish/grey color.
Inhibits the Production of Melanin
The pathway that leads to excess melanin or pigment is complex, but an enzyme known as tyrosinase is at the heart of the matter. Kojic acid blocks tyrosinase, in turn, inhibiting the production of excess pigment. This means it can help lighten existing sunspots and photodamage, fade the dark marks left over from acne scarring or after a pimple, and even improve melasma, notes Chang.
Reduce Appearance of Scars
While Kojic acid will not be too helpful for thick scar tissue, it will work on the superficial appearance of scars and prevent future resurgence.
Unlike many other acids, it also has these unique characteristics, though they’re secondary to the skin-lightening benefits.
Some Risk of Kojic Acid
Although the use of Kojic acid products may be considered safe for most people, there are some risks and possible side effects.
May Burn Your Skin: Using Kojic acid may make someone more likely to develop a sunburn. Melanin helps protect the skin from sun damage due to UV rays. Since Kojic acid prevents melanin production, it leaves the skin more vulnerable to sunburn.
Prevent From Dermatitis: Kojic acid can contact dermatitis in some people, especially those with sensitive skin. It can cause a rash, itching, and dry patches of skin.
FAQs about Kojic acid
Can I use Kojic acid serum on my lips?
Yes, Kojic acid can be used to get rid of pigmentation on your lips as well. Lip balms infused with the compound should be combined with an SPF to help lighten lips and prevent further darkening due to factors like constant lip-licking or smoking.
Can I use Kojic acid as an exfoliator?
Yes, Kojic acid can function as a strong chemical exfoliator as well. Many claims that it works on similar grounds as another popular chemical exfoliator, glycolic acid.
Can Kojic acid cure melasma permanently?
If your goal with KA is to treat melasma, there is a tiny disappointment there for you. Melasma is a chronic condition and doesn’t have a cure as of yet. While Kojic acid can help deal with the occasional melasma flare-up, it won’t cure it permanently.