A natural way to lighten hyperpigmentation

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Kojic Acid, a chelation agent, is extracted from certain fungi such as Aspergillus oryzae.
It was discovered in 1907 from this fungus which was grown on steamed rice, also known
as Koji, from which the acid gets its name. It is also a by-product found in Japanese cuisine in the production and fermentation of products using koji malt such as soy sauce, sake and miso. It is also used as a preservative for fresh vegetables and meat, and as an oxidant for fats and oils.

In the dermatological industry the use of Kojic was approved in 1988 and has become the standard treatment for skin lightening with worldwide recognition for its efficacy. As a skin lightening agent it has an effect on tyrosine, a protein amino acid found in the skin where it inhibits tyrosine’s ability to make the primary pigment in the skin known as melanin. By preventing melanin production and thus pigmentation, both skin colour and tone are lessened and thus lightened. Melanin affects eye and hair colour, as well as skin colour. However, the use of Kojic acid should only be used to treat hyperpigmentation or scarring, and is not recommended to be used to lighten a natural complexion.

The topical use of Kojic acid in cosmetic products is not only as a lightening agent. Besides reducing pigmentation, Kojic acid also produces anti-aging effects by reversing sun damage from sun spots, liver spots and freckles, and reducing wrinkles.  UVA and UVB rays induce inflammation and trigger reactive oxygen species (ROS) which degrade collagen and cause aging signs in the skin. Kojic acid prevents this inflammation and inhibits ROS, while protecting the firmness and suppleness of the skin. In the aging process, normal skin tone tends to become a yellowish brown due to glycation, the bonding of proteins in collagen and carbohydrates. Kojic acid can significantly inhibit this process. In the latter conditions, the use of creams and lotions would be used in place of soaps.

Kojic acid’s anti-bacterial properties are effective against many strains of bacterial infections in acne cases and in some cases will help to lighten acne scar tissue that hasn’t yet faded.
Its anti-fungal properties are particularly helpful in the treatment of yeast infections such as athlete’s foot, ringworm and candidiasis.  The regular use of Kojic acid soap may help in the prevention of both bacterial and fungal body infections. In general, Kojic acid is safe to use on most skins and the potential benefits outweigh the few side effects experienced by a few patients. The effects of contact dermatitis may manifest as redness, irritation, itchiness, rashes, swollen skin, pain and/or discomfort. These may appear in patients with very sensitive skins or those who use Kojic acid products which have a higher concentration than 1% of Kojic acid. In these cases, the use of Kojic acid products should be discontinued and over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream applied to the affected areas.

Hydroquinone can also be used to lighten skin but can be irritating and sometimes worsen the pigmentation instead of lightening it.  Occasionally hydroquinone use results in a condition known as ochronosis which causes the skin to form papules with a blue/black pigmentation. A papule or skin lesion is a small area of abnormal tissue with distinct borders and various shapes which may form a rash if there is more than one lesion.

Kojic acid can be used after using hydroquinone first, allowing for continued lightening.
One of the prime uses of Kojic acid is during pregnancy when melasma occurs. This condition, also called chloasma or ‘the mask of pregnancy’, results in dark and discoloured patches forming on the skin, generally in the facial area, and sometimes on the forearms and neck. Melasma can also be caused from the taking of contraceptive medication.

Kojic acid products come in various forms such as powders, serums, creams, cleansers and soaps. Powders are mixed with either a lotion or water. Soaps and cleansers stay on the skin for a very limited amount of time, starting with 15-30 seconds and adding 15-30 seconds every two to three days until a maximum time of four minutes is reached. Creams and serums are left on to be absorbed by the skin and may be used daily. Face masks should only be used occasionally. Kojic acid products are usually used on the face and upper body, but may be used on any other non-sensitive body area. The using of Kojic acid products should show results within two weeks and in cases where glycolic acid is added to Kojic acid, may show an even faster result. Certain Kojic acid products also contain Papain; this natural exfoliant aids in the penetration of Kojic acid to the lower layers of the skin.  In a few patients, results may only be seen after a few months, but in most people the results show within a few weeks.

The long term use of Kojic acid products may make your skin more likely to react to sunburn. The wearing of sun protection clothing and sunscreen creams should be taken seriously. Kojic acid products must never be used on broken or damaged skin areas.

In general, it is to your advantage to contact a dermatologist who will advise you whether or not Kojic acid products will help you, and a practitioner will advise you on how to use the products correctly for the best results. The use of Kojic acid products should not be continual – only use until the condition has healed or the desired results are seen.

Cosmetic products are not regulated in the way that medicines and foods are, but Kojic acid usage is safe provided that the concentration of Kojic acid does not exceed 2%, eliminating the possibility of skin irritations.



The skin lightening effects of Kojic Acid Soap

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The skin lightening effects of Kojic Acid Soap

Kojic Acid is an excellent skin lightening ingredient in both food and cosmetic products; however, being an acid it is imperative that its use is monitored carefully in the cosmetic industry so as to prevent any side effects. The manufacture of Kojic Acid is found in certain types of fungi, and also as a by-product in the fermentation process when making the Japanese rice wine, known as sake, and in the soy sauce industry. In the food industry it serves as a preservative, whereas in the cosmetic industry its main function is to lighten skin where various skin conditions have left the skin discoloured such as in acne scarring, sun damage spots and dark spots caused by aging. In cosmetic products Kojic Acid is included as an ingredient in creams, lotions, soaps and face masks used in the skin lightening process. It is important for any person wanting to use these amazing products to first consult a dermatologist to ensure that Kojic Acid products are the correct products to use in that person’s particular skin condition.

The active ingredient in Kojic Acid prevents the formation of tyrosine, the amino acid that is required for the skin to produce melanin. Once tyrosine is eliminated from the skin, then melanin production ceases and Kojic Acid will aid in the skin’s lightening process. Only a very small amount of Kojic Acid is necessary and the dilution in all skin products is in the region of 1 to 2%. A higher concentration would probably result in rather unpleasant side effects such as contact dermatitis, itching, rashes and other side effects which could be painful. Even using a low 1-2% concentration can cause side effects, but generally this would manifest as slight tingling or burning which should subside after a short time. However, should there be any side effects which are constant, the use of Kojic Acid products must bediscontinued immediately. Any irritation can be soothed by using a hydrocortisone over-the-counter cream.

Ideally Kojic Acid Soap is the first product to try for hyperpigmentation, acne scarring, dark spots and even freckles.

It helps to exfoliate the skin leaving the skin smoother, while at the same time preventing skin darkening by reducing melanin production. The moisturising properties of coconut oil aid in the absorption of Kojic Acid, and with added Vitamin C and natural sweet orange extract the lightening properties are enhanced.

The value of vitamin c

The value of added Vitamin C has many other advantages besides its lightening properties. Vitamin C boosts the production of collagen, thus smoothing wrinkles as it evens out skin tone and reduces redness; being an anti-oxidant it helps protect the skin from sun damage
together with regular sunscreen applications; it speeds up the healing process and reduces inflammatory conditions and improves hydration and moisture retention.

Using Kojic Acid Soaps

It is important to use Kojic Acid soap correctly so as to avoid any complications or side effects. The latter may appear as tingling, itchiness, rashes or any other form of contact dermatitis. If the reaction is severe, and if pain is part of this, then discontinue using the product immediately. Before applying Kojic Acid soap to your face, it should be mixed with water – massage the soap solution gently into the facial and neck skin and leave this on for no more than 30 seconds. Rinse off with cold water to close the pores and dry gently with a towel. Apply a moisturising cream as this soap can have a drying effect on your skin. Initially you may feel some tingling, but your skin will adjust to this, and as time goes on the amount of time the soap can be left on your skin can be increased to three to five minutes. Start off soaping once a day and then when you no longer have any side effects such as tingling, then increase use to twice a day.

Your skin may feel dry after using the soap, so use a good water-based moisturising cream after soaping. It is preferable not to expose your face to the sun but if you intend going into the sun, always apply a sun screen and wear a hat to protect your lightening skin from the sun’s rays. The use of lightening products makes your skin very sensitive and thus more likely to get sun-damaged as the level of protective melanin has been reduced. In general, the longer you use the soap, the lighter your skin will become. Be patient as it will take many weeks, at least eight, before you see a significant change in your skin tone. Ideally the recommended time span for using Kojic Acid soap is four months.

Kojic Acid: What you need to know

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The use of Kojic Acid in both the food industry as a preservative measure and in the cosmetics and health industries as a skin lightener with anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties is most heartening, especially as it has minimal side effects compared to its positive effects.

Kojic Acid is a chemical produced from the fermentation process of certain fungi, mainly mushrooms, and is also a by-product of the fermentation processes used in the making of soy sauce and Japanese rice wine known as sake. It is used in the food industry as a natural preservative and it also preserves the colours in various foods products.

Kojic acid is trending in the cosmetic & health industries!

However, its main interest today is its trending use in the cosmetic and health industries as a skin lightening product. The inclusion of Kojic Acid in cosmetic creams and cleansers is the answer for those people who suffer from various damaged skin conditions such as acne scarring, hyperpigmentation, undesirable freckles, dark brown aging spots and other discolouration skin problems. The lightening process occurs due to the absence of tyrosine, a melanin-producing protein amino acid. It is the absence of tyrosine which limits melanin production, thus allowing the skin to be lighter. The active ingredient, Kojic Acid, prevents the production of melanin by tyrosine.

Kojic Acid products should not be used to completely lighten your complexion. Its use should be confined to fading discoloured areas which were not originally on your skin such as sun damaged spots or acne scars. Generally using Kojic Acid products is perfectly safe as the recommended amount in cosmetics products is only between 1 and 2%. It is far less aggressive than hydroquinone products; however, excess amounts of this ingredient can cause serious irritations. Should you have any adverse reaction such as contact dermatitis resulting in irritation, redness, itchiness, rashes or swellings, then it is imperative to wash the skin area very thoroughly and discontinue using the product. Some people do have a feeling of discomfort and even slight pain and in these cases discontinuing use must be adhered to. An over-the-counter hydrocortisone cream will alleviate any irritation.

Kojic benefits revisited!

The skin conditions that can benefit from Kojic Acid treatments are hyperpigmentation caused by aging or sun damage or acne scars. It is important to start with low dosage concentration night-time treatments. Slight inflammation may be experienced initially which also happens when using retinol or hydroquinone. Starting treatments with low dosages and then building up the dosage should allay any discomfort, and the end results with make this worthwhile. The products in which Kojic Acid is used include creams, cleansers, powders, serums and soaps. Cleansers and soaps should not be left on the skin’s surface for longer than suggested in the product’s instructions – generally this time period may be as short as 30 seconds after which the product should be washed off completely. Powder products should always be mixed either with water or a lotion before being used on the skin. Certain serums and creams are formulated in a way that they are absorbed into the lower skin layers and therefore do not have to be removed with water, but may be left on. Most products can be used daily but face masks should only be used occasionally, maybe once a week or less depending on sensitivity to the particular product. All Kojic Acid products can be used anywhere on non-sensitive body areas, but generally they are used on the face and hands. The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal effects of using Koijc Acid products are some of the positive effects of its use. Bacterial infections can manifest in acne cases and fungal infections are seen in athlete’s foot, ringworm and candidiasis. Positive lightening results are usually seen within two to three weeks of starting treatments and in some specific products the addition of Glycolic Acid enhances the results even more. Most importantly, Kojic Acid tends to make skin more susceptible to sunburn, so sun screens must be applied as well as sun protective clothing if possible. Never use Kojic Acid products on broken, damaged skin or open wounds. Because there is the potential connection to cancer developing from its use, some countries have banned Kojic Acid products; however, much more research needs to be conducted before claims of this sort can be made and other potential side effects first need to be understood.

Before using any Kojic Acid treatment it is important that you, the client, first consult with a medical practitioner, namely a dermatologist, who will advise you on which specific products to use for your specific condition, how to use them and prescribe the correct
concentration dosage.

Kojic Acid

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Kojic Acid is a naturally occurring substance in many fungi species and gets its name from Aspergillus oryzae which has the Japanese name Koji. This acid is also found as a by-product of fermentation in the manufacture of Japanese rice wine or sake, as well as soy sauce.
One of the most important roles of Kojic Acid in ERASE skin products is its ability to prevent the formation of the amino acid, tyrosine, which is needed to produce melanin. Since melanin affects eye colour, hair colour as well as skin colour, Kojic Acid will therefore aid in a lightening effect due to the lack of tyrosine.

Forms and uses

In the cosmetic industry where Kojic Acid is used as a skin lightening agent or as a treatment of various skin conditions, it is approved for safe use in concentrations of 1% or less.
Kojic Acid is found in a number of different ERASE cosmetic skin products such as creams, cleansers, soaps, serums and also powders.
Soap and cleansing products should be washed off immediately after use, usually within 30 seconds, whereas creams and serums need to be absorbed into the skin, although the absorption rate of Kojic Acid below the skin’s surface is fairly poor. Instructions for its use in powders should be followed carefully as powders need to be mixed with either water or a lotion. Certain ERASE products such as face masks should only be used occasionally, but creams and cleansers can be used daily on any non-sensitive skin areas.

Side effects and risks

Although Kojic Acid as found in ERASE skin products has been declared safe in concentrations of 1% or less, it is possible that some people may have an allergic reaction of some kind. The side effects can manifest as an irritation, itchiness, rashes, swelling or even pain – these side effects, known as contact dermatitis, may occur in people with sensitive skin and the use of these products must be discontinued. The use of a hydrocortisone cream will soothe any affected sensitive skin irritation. These products should never be used on damaged skin. Another side effect of using Kojic Acid is that over time the skin is more susceptible to sunburn, so the use of sunscreens and the wearing of protective clothing is important.

Potential benefits

Kojic Acid inclusion in ERASE’s skin products has the paramount function of lightening the skin and maintaining an anti-aging effect on normal skin, as well as skin showing visible sun damage, age spots or acne scar tissue. The concentration of Kojic Acid in ERASE products is extremely low, below 1%, but even this low percentage gives the products the added benefit of eliminating certain bacterial strains, especially those found in cases of acne.

Kojic Acid is also effective in treating fungal infections such as candidiasis, yeast infections, ringworm, and athlete’s foot. The regular use of Kojic Acid soap may help prevent both fungal and bacterial skin infections


ERASE prides itself on the fact that the topical use of Kojic Acid products will show positive results, usually within two weeks, and if Glycolic Acid is also added to a specific product then the results you desire may be even faster! These products are best used for the treatment of hyperpigmentation or scarring and not as an attempt to lighten your natural skin colour. It is advised to see a dermatologist first before using ERASE skin products and this specialist will advise you on which products to use and how to use them with the correct dosage. Any irritation or reaction indicates the immediate stoppage of the product use. Should this occur, then an over-the–counter hydrocortisone cream will alleviate the irritation.