Kojic acid has a skin lightening effect because it prevents the production of melanin in the skin. Melanin is responsible for the color in your hair, skin and eye. When applied topically, you would likely to see some effect within 2 weeks.
For it’s faster result, it is recommended by dermatologist to treat a certain skin condition including hyperpigmentation and scarring. Kojic acid is widely used in cosmetics product, commonly, cream, lotion and face washes.
The best way is to decide the right concentration of treatment that target your specific skin condition. And your dermatologist can help you decide about the best and safest course of action. They can also provide you with complementary skin care routine.
Why Use Kojic acid
Not just one, there are many skin conditions that can get benefited from kojic acid.
Hyper-pigmentation, darkening of skin due to sun exposure, post acne scarring, or discoloration caused by eczema and psoriasis. Kojic acid helps in fading the acne scar. Read more hyper-pigmentation treatment here.
Antiaging, kojic acid helps lightening the age spots and even out the over all complexion.
Antifungal & Antibacterial, it helps in treating some fungal and bacterial infections.
Kojic Acid Recommended Concentration
Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel decided that kojic acid is safe for use in cosmetic products up to a concentration of 1%, even for the most sensitive skin. A concentration of 2-4% (no more) should be used under doctor’s prescription to avoid any skin irritation.
So, if you experience any redness, irritation, or pain when using kojic acid, stop using it immediately. To soothe immediate irritation, you can apply over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream to the affected area.
Kojic acid products are most commonly used on face, hands, legs and other non-sensitive areas. There are many creams and soaps available in the market. List below is from lowest to higher concentration.
- Clearz Cream by Dr. Reddy’s laboratories
Combination (Kojic Acid 0.75% w/w + Vitamin C 2.5% w/w )
- Kojidis by Bionova
Combination ( Kojic Acid 2% w/w + Vitamin C 2.5% w/w )
- Kojivit Gel by Micro labs ltd.
Combination (Kojic Acid Topical – 2% W/W + Octinoxate Topical – 7.5% + Arbutin Topical – 1.5% + Mulberry Extract Topical – 1.5% )
- Depiwhite by Wockhartd ltd
Combination ( Hydroquinone 2% + Kojic Acid 2% + Al silicate 1% + Vitamin C 0.5% + Lactic Acid 0.2% )
- Demelan by Glenmark pharmaceutical ltd
Combination ( Kojic Acid 2% + Gycolic Acid 5% + Arbutin 10% )
- Kojiglo Gel by Curatio
Combination ( Kojic Acid + Arbutin + Octinoxate + Pine Bark Extract + Allantoin )
- Kojic cream
How To Use Kojic Acid
- Wash your face with a gentle face wash like Sebamed face & body wash, Pear’s face wash or any of your choice.
- Let your skin dry for a few minute to avoid any irritation from the product. Do not apply on a broken skin, burn or a cut.
- For the first time, take a half of the pea size amount to cover your entire face. It may sting the first time.
- Mix the kojic acid cream/gel in your favorite moisturizer to avoid any irritation. It is suggested that you dilute the concentration above 2% into a moisturizer as to avoid any peeling effect.
- Your Moisturizer should be free from any other acids like salicylic acid, benzoic acid or citric acid.
- A concentration of 1% can be used twice a day for a month to get some lightening effect. A concentration more than 2% should be used once a day.
- Do not ever forget to apply sunscreen of 30+ before stepping outside in sun.
- Do not use any other skin treatment along with kojic acid otherwise prescribed.
- Do not use any other skin lightening home remedies or chemical treatment when using kojic acid.
- Do not use harsh facial scrubs. It can irritate your skin. Stop using the product immediately if experience burning or redness.
- Do not use concentration higher than recommended for faster results. It can backfire.
Efficacy And Combination
After hydroquinone, kojic acid is the most favored product in skin lightening and treating hyperpigmentation, melasma, age spots and post acne scarring. Preferably, kojic acid is the safer option in both. Kojic acid should be used in intervals of 1-2 months as suggested by the dermatologist.
Kojic acid works best when combined with the Glycolic Acid or hydroquinone.
Though i do not prefer hydroquinone. Let your skin adjust to the kojic acid before before opting the combination treatment with other acids.
This is how you can combine Kojic acid with Glycolic acid:
- Choose a low concentration glycolic acid face wash (AHAglow face wash) to cleanse your face. Pat dry.
- Wait for a few seconds to apply kojic acid ( follow the above steps).
Kojic acid comes in combination with other acid. Choose the right combination that suits you. Make sure to do a patch test before applying on your face.
Side Effects And Risks
Kojic acid is widely revered for its skin lightening effect and considered safe when used in a recommended concentration.However, some people may still experience the side effect. It is common in sensitive skin people or individuals who are using a concentration higher than recommended.
Do you skip sunscreen? This can put your skin on another risk. Over time, skin become more susceptible to the sun burn when using kojic acid. So, be mindful to make SPF 30+ a habit in your skin care routine. Choose your best option here.
Kojic acid is not toxic to the skin otherwise injected into the skin. So, be careful not to apply on a burned skin, cut or a open wound like a healing acne.
Some countries have banned kojic acid because of a potential risk of developing cancer.