Kojic acid is currently one of the most popular ingredients for skin lightening. It is also effective in treating hyperpigmentation and other skin darkening conditions like post inflammatory hyperpigmentation, melasma and chloasma. Kojic acid is clinically proven to make the skin tone lighter. This is why it is usually included in the ingredients of most skin lightening creams, lotions and soaps. It is usually combined with hydroquinone, antioxidants and other skin lightening agents in order to be more effective.
Kojic acid first became very popular as a skin lightening agent in Japan and other Asian countries. It works by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase. This enzyme is important in the process of melanin synthesis which gives color to the skin.
Kojic acid usually comes from fungus but it can also be acquired during the process of fermentation in making Japanese rice wine. Aside from its skin lightening effect, kojic acid can also be used as an antibacterial, antifungal or antioxidant treatment. It is also useful in preserving the fresh pink or red color of seafood and preventing fruits from turning brown.
Proper Formulation for Skin Lightening Products
Usually Kojic acid is formulated in skin lightening products at a range of 1-4% concentration. It is often combined with glycolic acid in order to increase effectiveness considerably. When it is combined with glycolic acid, hyperpigmentation is reduced a lot better and the skin becomes lighter in a shorter amount of time.
Proper formulation is very important in order for kojic acid not to break down and become ineffective. When it is exposed to air or sunlight, it tends to break down and become useless. When looking for a product with kojic acid, look for preparations in tube or airless pump packaging in order to minimize exposure to air and sunlight. Another variety called kojic dipalmitate is available in the market. This is more stable and less sensitive to air and sunlight but it is less effective in the inhibition of melanin production.
One disadvantage of using products with kojic acid is that it may cause skin irritation especially to individuals with sensitive skin. It can also cause allergic reactions to some individuals resulting to rashes, redness or blisters. This is why it is important to test for allergy on a small part of the skin. Skin testing is very important when it comes to using a new skin product in order to avoid serious skin irritation and allergy.