Kojic Acid: What you need to know

By October 16, 2018 March 1st, 2019 Kojic Acid

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.

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