WHAT IS KOJIC ACID?
Let’s not get frightened of the word ‘acid’ as some are naturally derived. That’s right, today we are talking about a skin brightening superstar – Kojic Acid. This hero ingredient which is often used to fight dark spots, blemishes and pigmentation is a fungal metabolite, and from several types of fungi. It is also a by-product of the fermentation process of malting rice for use in the brewing process of sake, soy sauce and is sometimes used in the food industry as a natural preservative.
Kojic acid casts off existing hyperpigmented skin cells, then it works to prevent hyperpigmentation by suppressing the production of tyrosine, which is an enzyme that helps our bodies produce melanin. In simple terms, Kojic Acid functions by blocking tyrosine from forming therefore melanin production can be prevented. Hats off to its ability to really penetrate the layers of your skin and stop the production of melanin, hence, Kojic Acid is usually sought after as a spot-fading treatment, and is considered a less-aggressive answer to hydroquinone. In short, Kojic Acid is best known as a cosmetic skin whitening agent for its ability to treat skin conditions, such as sun damage, dark spots, blemishes and scars. It has been proven to be of high efficacy for lightening pigmentation and is a prominent ingredient in many lightening or depigmentation creams.
After the complicated explanation of what Kojic Acid does, we now know that it plays a role in reducing pigmentation in the skin and helps to lighten discolored skin caused by hormonal changes, sun exposure and aging. Besides, by actively inhibiting melanin production, Kojic Acid creates a more consistent skin tone in the treated areas. Spot-fading and skin brightening is the name of the game for this ingredient, though it does have a few other remarkable qualities.
WHAT IS THE HISTORY BEHIND KOJIC ACID?
Kojic Acid was discovered as a fungal natural product in 1907 by Saito from a fungus called aspergillus oryzae, also known as kōji mold grown on steamed rice. In 1912 Yabuta gave it the name Kojic Acid, and only in 1924 he deciphered the correct structure of the molecule of this acid. Aspergillus oryzae is used in Japanese food production to saccharify steamed rice, sweet potato, and barley in the making of alcoholic beverages, and also to ferment soybeans for making soy sauce and miso. Because Kojic Acid is produced during the fermentation of these historically used dietary staples, it has a long history of consumption and it has been consumed widely in the Japanese diet with the belief that it is of benefit to health.
Kojic Acid is also a compound used throughout history as an ingredient in many foods and also used as food preservative. It is widely used as a food additive for preventing enzymatic browning, and in cosmetic preparations as a skin-lightening or bleaching agent. It was used widely in cosmetic agents, particularly in Japan from 1988 to 2003, for its capacity to reduce hyperpigmentation. It is however controversial as it was banned in Japan and was recognized again as a skin lightening agent in 2008.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF KOJIC ACID?
Skin that is more prone to melasma and hyperpigmentation can particularly benefit from the use of Kojic Acid, thanks to its exfoliant and skin-brightening abilities. Its lightening effects can help brighten dull and tired complexion together with reducing pigmentation from UV damage. In addition, Kojic Acid has antioxidant, antimicrobial and exfoliant properties which can help with bodily bacterial and fungal infections.
Antibacterial And Antifungal Properties
Kojic Acid may provide antibacterial benefits which help to decrease the chances of developing common types of bacterial skin infections especially acne. It is also enriched with antifungal properties that can help deal with common fungal skin infections like athlete’s foot, ringworm, yeast infections and candidiasis and is used in many antifungal products to double up their effectiveness. Kojic Acid soap for example, is commonly used to treat these kinds of fungal infections.
Treats Melasma And Inhibits The Production Of Melanin
Melasma is a common issue related to hormonal imbalance and pregnancy in women and it shows up as dark patches on the face especially. Kojic Acid blocks UV-activation of tyrosinase, the compound responsible for melanin production, thereby limiting the production of melanin on the skin. This means it can help lighten existing sunspots and photodamage, fade the dark marks left from acne scarring , and helps treat melasma by lightening those pigmented areas.
Scar and Spots Lightening
Kojic Acid is known to block tyrosinase, and in turn, inhibits the production of excess pigment. This results in lightening sunspots, dark spots, pigmentation, and marks left over by acne or any light injury and lightening means making it less noticeable. While Kojic Acid will not be too helpful to improve thick scar tissue, it will definitely work on the superficial appearance of scars and prevent future resurgence. It works its magic by smoothing out uneven skin tone and fading discoloration.
Kojic Acid can help to counteract skin-damaging caused by exposure to UV and pollution. This, in turn, reduces age spots, dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles, making your skin looks youthful. This not only helps protect the skin from free radicals and improve the overall texture and evenness of the skin tone but also makes it a good general anti-oxidant ingredient as the reduction of all these conditions can have an anti-aging effect.
DOES KOJIC ACID LIGHTEN SKIN PERMANENTLY?
Although Kojic Acid can lighten and brighten your skin, it does not have the ability to permanently bleach or lighten your skin. Kojic Acid will not destroy the melanin, it is only disrupting the production of melanin. But if your skin darkening has been caused by temporary skin damage as a result of acne, then Kojic Acid may have the ability to permanently lighten the darker tone of the acne scars.
For skin darkening such as hyper-pigmentation or when it was caused as a result of acne or similar skin damage, this will usually go-away naturally, however Kojic Acid skincare can help speed-up fading process. Do bear in mind that Kojic Acid skincare is not cytotoxic and therefore cannot permanently lighten your skin tone. However for as long as Kojic Acid skincare is used, it will continue to brighten your skin tone.
CAN KOJIC ACID REALLY GET RID OF DARK SPOTS?
Kojic Acid inhibits and prevents the formation of tyrosine, which is an amino acid which is needed to produce melanin. Because it inhibits the production of melanin, Kojic Acid can have a lightening effect, to lighten visible sun damage, age spots, or scars. Due to its melanin-blocking properties, Kojic Acid is helpful with treating and preventing hyperpigmentation of all types, including post-inflammatory and sun-induced. Kojic Acid helps reduce the appearance of scars, spots and other discoloration by lightening the skin. It cannot, however, altogether remove scars and the marks completely. It can only lighten their appearance. This ingredient is perfect for anyone looking for a more naturally occurring ingredient to lighten dark spots and provide a more even complexion.
DOES THE COMBINATION OF VITAMIN C AND KOJIC ACID PERFORM BETTER?
Vitamin C is a fantastic antioxidant that works by increasing the renewal of skin cells, which helps in the natural exfoliation of the skin’s outer layers. Kojic Acid is a skin-lightening product that reduces melanin production and improves skin tone and texture. Vitamin C also inhibits melanin production that, in turn, reduces the number of dark spots and discoloration skin. When both are combined, this helps protect the skin from aging and sun damage and since Kojic Acid also doubles up as a mild AHA, it can provide the proper exfoliation needed for Vitamin C to work its magic on dark spots and blemishes. This combination can help fade stubborn pigmentation marks and give you an even-toned complexion with a radiant finish.
Although it is possible to use Kojic Acid together with Vitamin C, however, if you have sensitive skin it is advisable to layer them separately in your routine. Kojic Acid is a strong active ingredient and only recommended to use on skin in low concentrations. The potential risk that comes with the use of Kojic Acid could be skin irritation, redness, itchiness and skin inflammation, however, this is most likely to occur with sensitive skin types. Therefore, unless you have sensitive skin, you can use both ingredients.
To use Kojic Acid and Vitamin C together is to incorporate both for optimal results. It is better to use them separately in your routine. Apply Kojic Acid in your morning routine after your cleanser and toner and before your serums and moisturizer. Go in with your Vitamin C serum in the evening before your moisturizer.
WHO SHOULD USE KOJIC ACID PRODUCTS?
Anyone seeking to improve the look of discoloration caused by sun damage, melasma, hyperpigmentation that occurs after a blemish or having a tendency of an uneven, pigmented complexion, Kojic Acid could be very beneficial. This is a great ingredient to add for those battling skin discoloration of any kind. It works well on common post-inflammatory pigmentation, melasma, pigmentation from sun-damage, dark spots that occur after acne or injuries. Kojic Acid can also treat fine lines and mild wrinkles and may even improve under eye circles that were caused by hyperpigmentation. In addition to treating discoloration, Kojic Acid has the unique ability to treat and prevent fungal and bacterial infections and not forgetting this ingredient is a good option for those who seek to avoid or unable to tolerate hydroquinone, one of the most often used skin-lightening ingredients.
Kojic Acid is safe to use on all skin types, not only for light skin but also for dark skin as well. It is an easy ingredient to incorporate daily that can easily be fit into your routine, usually as brightening serums, spot corrector creams, face masks, night creams, lotions and soaps. Daily use of products with Kojic Acid will definitely assist with inhibiting the skin’s normal melanin creation, diminish the presence of spots and help to even out your skin tone and composition.
HOW DO YOU USE KOJIC ACID?
With the exception of sensitive skin, Kojic Acid is best used in the form of a topical cream or spot treatment serum and applied once or twice a day. When used in powdered forms, always mix the recommended quantity with water or a mild lotion. While Kojic Acid can be used on its own, its benefits can be heightened by using it in combination with both AHAs like glycolic acid, vitamin C and alpha arbutin. When using Kojic Acid in the form of creams and serums, allow the product to dry out completely before layering the next step.
If your skin is sensitive, it is not recommended to use it daily; instead, work Kojic Acid-based products into your regimen just once or twice per week to ensure that your skin can tolerate the ingredient. Kojic Acid may also make your skin more susceptible to the UV rays, therefore, using sunscreen daily is always important, but even more so when Kojic Acid is in your skincare mix. Don’t forget to hydrate your skin twice a day with a moisturizer! Let your Kojic Acid cream or serum fully dry before applying your moisturizer. If you apply moisturizer right away, it will limit your skin’s ability to fully absorb the Kojic Acid.
Using new ingredients can have different effects on the skin, so it is best to do a patch test before introducing it into your routine. If no irritation or reaction occurs on patch test, you can begin using it 2-3 times a week as a start with a goal of increasing up to 1-2 times a day.
DIY RECIPE – THE KOJI PAPAYA SOAP FORMULA
This Koji papaya soap uses a brilliant combination of papaya extract and kojic acid which is very powerful and effective which you can use it daily on your skin. This soap also has a refreshing tropical scent so you can have a pleasant spa experience each time you use it. Enzymes papain and chymopapain in papaya can decrease inflammation and will gently remove your dead skin cells enabling the texture of your complexion to improve simultaneouly. This Koji papaya soap is perfect for all skin types and you can then say goodbye to imperfections for good!
Kojic acid is derived from several different types of fungi or through the fermentation process of Japanese rice wine (also known as sake). Kojic acid is widely used by dermatologists as a powerful topical skin lightening agent for treating hyperpigmentation (sun spots, age spots, and dark spots) and melasma.
Green Herbology’s tip: Although some people may see results after a few weeks, on average it will take 1-2 months of consistent topical use of kojic acid before you begin to see improvements.
🌹🌹 WHAT DO YOU NEED 🌹🌹 ❓
🌷 Shea butter: https://greenherbology.com/product/shea-butter-refined/
🌷 Vitamin E: https://greenherbology.com/product/vitamin-e/
🌷 Papaya extract: https://greenherbology.com/product/papaya-extract/
🌷 Kojic acid: https://greenherbology.com/product/kojic-acid-powder/
🌷 Orange mica powder: https://greenherbology.com/product/orange-mica-powder-sparkle/
🌷 Opaque soap base: https://greenherbology.com/product/opaque-glycerin-soap-base/
🌹🌹HOW TO MAKE IT 🌹🌹❓
🌷 Add in 10g shea butter & 150g soap base into heat resistant beaker
🌷 Melt it using double boiler or microwave about 1-2 minutes
🌷 Add 3-5 drops of Vitamin E
🌷 Add 5-10 drops of Papaya Extract
🌷 Add about 1% of Kojic Acid powder
🌷 Add some coloring, you can add more if you want a brighter color
🌷 Stir until well mixed
🌷 Pour into mold and wait 1-2 hours to be harden
🌷 After harden its ready to use!
IS KOJIC ACID SAFE TO USE? WHAT ARE SAFETY TIPS TO USE?
Kojic Acid is safe to use on all skin types. The safety concept is 1-4% in concentration, but 1-2 % is the starter limit for first-time users. The frequency of recommended usage is twice a day and mandatorily followed by sunscreen. Kojic Acid takes at least a few weeks to show results, on average it will take 1-2 months of consistent topical use of Kojic Acid before you begin to see improvements. Remember – consistency is key for optimal results. Kojic Acid is also safe to use everyday. Just remember not to use Kojic Acid more than 3 months at a time because that can be damaging to your skin. If Kojic Acid treatment makes your skin more sensitive, you’ll need to take extra care of your skin in terms of sun exposure.
Kojic Acid has mild antioxidant, antimicrobial, and exfoliating properties. It is safe and well-tolerated on the face and body even by the sensitive skin types and is a great option when compared to ingredients like hydroquinone. However as with all skincare ingredients, there may be some side effects while using Kojic Acid. The most common side effect is irritation and dermatitis and if this occurs while you are using the ingredient, it is best to stop using it
IS KOJIC ACID SAFE TO USE DURING PREGNANCY?
Kojic Acid is considered a safe skin lightening agent for topical use during pregnancy. Further to this, it has the ability to lighten pregnancy melasma. Kojic Acid is a botanical extract derived from fungus — which makes it a pregnancy-safe skincare ingredient. Other skin lighteners may contain toxic ingredients like hydroquinone, however Kojic Acid – a naturally occurring ingredient – is a great alternative.
Kojic Acid is one of the safest skin brighteners that slows down melanin production. As a skin-lightener, Kojic Acid fades the appearance of all kinds of discoloration ranging from pigmentation, dark spots, age spots, acne scars and melasma. This natural skin lightening agent is a direct alternative to hydroquinone and can fade all kinds of hyperpigmentation in general by inhibiting melanin production with the ulterior intention of improving the overall skin complexion.
We need to stay vigilant and be alert of the chemical composition of any given cosmetic product. Recent report by The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) have tested 271 products bought in 15 countries over a 13-month period and found nearly half to be mercury-contaminated. That being said, mercury is highly toxic and when used in skin lightening products and anti-aging creams is extremely dangerous, and can result in serious illnesses. Hence, if you intend to use skin lightening products, ensure the ingredients used are non-toxic such as Kojic Acid, a safe skin-brightening alternative.