Kojic acid is not a new brightening ingredient but is getting crazily popular. Why is this happening? The main reason is its unique ability to lighten the skin. It acts differently than other acids and can remove even the most stubborn dark spots. Keep reading to learn more about this ingredient and find the best kojic acid serum that works.
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What is Kojic Acid?
Kojic acid is a chemical compound made by different fungi and is also produced from the fermentation of traditional Japanese sake, soy sauce, and rice wine. There is a fascinating legend about its discovery. In the early 1900s, people noticed that the girls working in sake production always have very white, well-groomed hands. After meticulous research, they found that kojic acid acts as a brightening agent. This story is likely a myth, but it accurately conveys the essence of this ingredient’s action.
How Does Kojic Acid Work?
As mentioned before, the mechanism of action of kojic acid is different than fruit or salicylic acid. It is less aimed at exfoliating the dead cells from the skin’s surface. Instead, it inhibits the synthesis of the enzyme tyrosinase, which is necessary to produce melanin pigment. Kojic acid is like a safe version of hydroquinone, banned in the USA as an over-the-counter product. According to a study in 2010, kojic acid is not a toxicant. It slowly absorbed into the circulation and likely wouldn’t reach the peak of the dangerous concentration.
Benefits of Kojic Acid
- Evens out skin tone
- Removes sun damage
- Brightens age spots
- Fades old and new scars
- Treats melasma
- Fights free radicals
- Provides anti-bacterial effect
Who Should Use Kojic Acid?
Kojic acid suits all skin types but can cause redness or irritation in people with sensitive skin. To avoid any reaction, you better perform a patch test prior to applying it to your face. You should also keep in mind that the Cosmeceutical Ingredient Review (CIR) indicates that kojic acid can be safely used at a concentration not higher than 1%. Although other scientific data found that concentration up to 2% is safe as well, at least for people with a strong skin barrier.
How to Use Kojic Acid?
Best Kojic Acid Serums
This is an excellent product for people with dry sensetive skin. The serum contains 1% kojic acid (small concentration) that works together with other gentle brightening ingredients – alpha arbutin and niacinamide. Also, it has squalane that is similar to the skin’s own oil and can provide the right amount of moisture without overdoing it. The product is made from 100% natural ingredients. Use it for 4 to 8 weeks to see noticeable improvements.
The Derma Co is an Indian skin care brand launched in 2020. Compared to the product mentioned above, its serum has a higher concentration of kojic acid (2%), which best suits people with oily, acne-prone skin. The formula also contains brightening 1% of alpha arbutin and niacinamide. Together they reduce acne scars, fade any hyperpigmentation, and rejuvenate the dull face. It is free from parabens and sulfates.
This magic product is full of powerful ingredients that refresh your skin literally. The formula includes brightening kojic acid paired with exfoliating glycolic acid and anti-inflammatory salicylic acid. You should try it if you have oily skin and suffer from closed comedones. This serum helps you control sebum production, clear out clogged pores, and remove post-acne marks.
Urban Skin Rx® Super Glow Serum was developed by Rachel Roff, a founder of one of the first medical spas in the USA, specializing in darker complexion. This product suits those who want to get an even skin tone with a glassy dewy look. It contains two powerful active ingredients – 2% kojic acid and 10% L-ascorbic acid (aka vitamin C) – aimed to impede melanin production and neutralize free radicals. This formula may cause slight irritation in people with sensetive skin, but for others, it works pretty well.