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Kojic Acid For Skin: Benefits, Uses & Side Effects

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It wasn’t long ago when Alpha Arbutin was the next big thing for treating hyperpigmentation, but have you heard of Kojic Acid yet? Deemed to be one of the quickest treatments for hyperpigmentation, here we bring to you all you need to know about Kojic Acid.

Kojic Acid is a chemical compound naturally produced by certain kinds of fungi and fermented foods. It’s widely used in the skincare industry due to its skin lightening properties.

  • It helps remove hyperpigmentation by inhibiting the production of melanin.
  • It has skin lightening properties.
  • It can help treat sun damage.
  • It may be effective against acne due to its antimicrobial properties.
  • It has antifungal properties which may be effective against fungal infections of the skin.
  • It can help in fading scars.

Kojic Acid can help treat specific skin conditions like-

  • Hyperpigmentation- Kojic Acid helps treat hyperpigmentation by acting as a tyrosinase inhibitor. It helps reduce the amount of melanin produced and helps get rid of hyperpigmentation with consistent usage.
  • Dark spots- Due to its antioxidant properties, Kojic Acid can help protect the skin from certain kinds of damage and may help prevent the appearance of signs of aging such as dark spots and fine lines. It’s ability to decrease melanin synthesis is also effective against dark spots. 
  • Acne- Kojic Acid has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties which can be effective in treating acne. It can help reduce redness and inflammation while getting rid of the bacteria which may be responsible for acne.

 

Kojic Acid can safely be used at a concentration under 1% for beginners every day. Now if you’re wondering how to include this ingredient in your routine, it really depends on the form of Kojic Acid that you choose to use. Face washes with Kojic acid should be washed off immediately, powders should be mixed while using products with Kojic Acid, it’s important to follow instructions to the tee.

It is suitable for all skin types except extremely sensitive skin. It’s an appropriate choice of ingredient for those looking to treat hyperpigmentation, dark spots and uneven skin tone. 

  • Hyaluronic Acid- A combination of Kojic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid can help in effectively hydrating the skin while fading hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Hyaluronic acid is mild enough to be safely used with Kojic Acid.
  • AHAs- Both AHAs and Kojic Acid are effective in getting rid of hyperpigmentation. AHAs work by removing a layer of pigmented dead skin cells and resurfacing newer skin cells while Kojic Acid prevents the formation of melanin. 
  • Azelaic Acid- Azelaic Acid and Kojic Acid work as tyrosinase inhibitors. Tyrosinase is the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of melanin. Together these ingredients can work to decrease  the production of melanin and effectively treat hyperpigmentation. 
  • Niacinamide- Niacinamide can safely be used by most skin types and has a variety of benefits. It helps repair the epidermal barrier of the skin, has anti-inflammatory properties and increases ceramide synthesis. It also helps prevent the transfer of melanin, which when combined with the effects of Kojic Acid can help reduce hyperpigmentation and make the skin brighter.

Although Kojic Acid can work with most other ingredients to provide enhanced brightening effects, it may not be suited for all individuals. Using Kojic Acid with other potentially irritating skin-lightening ingredients like Retinol, Vitamin C or Glycolic Acid may result in irritation for some people. 

Few of the side effects related to Kojic Acid are rashes, irritation and redness. Sensitive skin types are at a risk of developing contact dermatitis due to Kojic Acid. Higher concentrations of Kojic Acid are more likely to cause irritation. Kojic Acid also increases the skin’s sensitivity to the sun. The skin may be easily burnt as Kojic Acid interferes with the production of melanin. Studies also linked Kojic acid with a potential risk of cancer. In 2010, a study conducted on mice suggested higher concentrations of Kojic Acid to be associated with tumour growth. 

  • As Kojic Acid can increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun, make sure to use sunscreen diligently to avoid causing damage to your skin.
  • Avoid using Kojic Acid on damaged or broken skin. It’s best to keep Kojic Acid away from any injured skin.
  • Always do a patch test before adding any new ingredient to your skincare routine. Since Kojic Acid could be potentially irritating to some people, patch test to find out if it suits you or not.
  • Consult a doctor before using Kojic Acid in case of any pre-existing allergies or skin conditions.

Deconstruct Brightening Moisturiser with 5% Niacinamide + 1% Kojic Acid

Formulated with 5% Niacinamide, 1% Kojic Acid and 5% Vitamin C, this moisturiser contains all the ingredients you need for a brighter, glowing skin. The Kojic Acid acts as a tyrosinase inhibitor and prevents formation of melanin, while the Niacinamide improves the skin’s texture and aids in barrier repair. The Vitamin C helps fade dark spots and prevent photodamage.

Don’t let the side effects scare you, Kojic Acid is still a dermatologist favourite for treating and preventing hyperpigmentation and dark spots. Despite the side effects, Kojic Acid is considered a safer alternative to Hydroquinone.

  • How long does Kojic Acid take to work?

You can expect to see results within two to four weeks of consistently using Kojic Acid.

  • Does Kojic Acid treat hyperpigmentation?

Yes, Kojic Acid can be effective in treating hyperpigmentation. Kojic Acid is a tyrosinase inhibitor, which means it inhibits the action of tyrosinase and decreases the production of melanin. 

  • Can Kojic Acid and Niacinamide be used together?

Absolutely yes! Using Niacinamide and Kojic Acid can safely be used together to achieve better results.

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