Ingredient Spotlight: How Kojic Acid Treats Hyperpigmentation
What is it: Pyrone derivative
Benefits: Lightens visible sun damage, age spots, or scars
How often it can be used: Depending on your skin’s sensitivity, it can be used twice a day. However, do not use it for more than three months at a time as this can cause this to become more sensitive.
Who can use it: People who have dark spots on their skin due to sun damage, ageing, or scars.
Who should avoid it: People with certain skin conditions or allergies.
What not to use it with: Vitamin C, Retinol, AHA/BHA acids and benzoyl peroxide.
What is your relationship with acids? Do you have any incorporated into your beauty regime? It is possible that you have glycolic acid or salicylic acid in the mix, particularly if your concern has been issues with hyperpigmentation, or lactic acid for texture. However, there is an underrated girl that’s been in town for a while now called Kojic acid and we’re here to tell you about her!
Once in a while, or often, we get pimples. When these pimples and spots go down, they tend to leave evidence of their stay in the form of dark marks and discolouration. This is also true for people who have suffered from or do suffer from eczema or psoriasis, skin conditions that cause rashes and dry skin to break out on different areas of the skin. This causes the skin to become discoloured and sometimes patchy and sufferers can be left less than completely satisfied with how their skin looks.
Kojic acid can serve as a highly effective remedy for this, due to its brightening properties. It works by stopping Tyrosine, an amino acid used to produce melanin, and in turn, stopping melanin from being over-produced, therefore inhibiting the production of dark marks. The result of this is brighter and more even skin.
Kojic acid is produced naturally by fungi and can come in many forms; powders, serums, creams, masks, soaps- just about anything. However, is it important to note that although this is the case, the concentration in each form will differ. For example, the concentration of kojic acid in a serum will be lower than that of a mask. Serums are generally for everyday use, therefore the concentration of Kojic acid would reflect this. On the contrary, a brightening mask that is supposed to be applied 3 times per week would have a much higher concentration. This mask will work harder but in turn, is harsher and can cause damage to the skin if left on longer than instructed. Be sure to always read the label with every product you use, especially ones that contain any form of acid.
Contact dermatitis is a common side effect of over-exposure to kojic acid. This comes in the form of redness, itching, burning, irritation and peeling. It also can increase skin sensitivity so using this product with an SPF is super important- as it always is!
Here are some products containing kojic acid that we recommend here at Kem Beauty:
The Ren Skin Overnight Glow Dark Spot Sleeping Cream by Ren Skin
The Body Mask by Kem Beauty
Ole Henriksen C-Rush Brightening Gel Creme by Ole Henriksen
Dermalogica PowerBright Dark Spot Serum by Demalogica
Alpha Arbutin 2% and Kojic Acid 1% Serum by Garden of Wisdom