Can Kojic Acid even, lighten, whiten skin and fade dark spots? | MaxLife News

Johnny Yu

Kojic Acid-All Natural 
Kojic acid is an all-natural compound derived from fungi other plant materials. Since its discovery in 1989 due to its numerous benefits it has been used widely in several skin care products. It is a common ingredient in skin lightening and fading products, face and body moisturizers, anti-aging creams and lotions, around eye creams, facial cleansers, sunscreens, chemical peels and other skin care products. 

Its main purpose is to treat hyper pigmentation, which occurs when areas of the skin develop too much melanin. Melanin is the substance that gives skin color, such as moles, age spots and freckles. Kojic acid can cause some side effects, particularly for those with sensitive skin. So before using and chemical peel containing kojic acid one must do a patch test. 

When kojic acid is applied to the skin in concentrated amounts, the chemicals in the ingredient work on the melanocytes, interfering with the production of melanin. The exact way in which kojic acid lessens melanin production is not known, but many experts believe that the ingredient prevents an enzyme known as tyroinase from beginning the reactions in the cells that are necessary for manufacturing the pigment. 

Prior to the discovery of kojic acid, the ingredient hydroquinone was largely the only ingredient used for skin whitening. Hydroquinone is known to cause skin irritation in many individuals, and for these people, dermatologists often recommend kojic acid as an alternative method for treating skin discoloration. Those with very sensitive skin may still develop redness or itching from the use of kojic acid, but overall, the ingredient is better tolerated than hydroquinone. The effects of kojic acid have been reported as being identical to those of hydroquinone or slightly less noticeable. 

Skin Lightener 
Again, it has a powerful quality of skin lightener that evens skin tone, diminishes freckles, age spots. Kojic acid is being used regularly in cosmetics and skin lightening products because it actually works and doesn’t have the dangerous side effects like many other chemicals and compounds. 

Kojic acid is also very effective for melasma (darkening of the skin, in larger sections than freckles). Melasma darkens the skin of the face, usually affecting the cheeks, the forehead, the jaw line and areas around the mouth. Melasma may occur due to overexposure to the sun or cellular hypersensitivity. For women, melasma may also be triggered by estrogen supplements, birth control pills and pregnancy. When kojic acid is applied to the skin in concentrated amounts, the chemicals in the ingredient work on the affected area and treat them effectively. 

Kojic acid fights freckles 
Brown spots or freckles are caused due to abundance of melanin, produced due to pigment producing cells in our skin called melanocytes. This pigment helps protect the skin from sun. Due to too much sun exposure melanocytes in our skin can become damaged. Kojic acid fights freckles topically by countering the melanin in the area to whiten the skin. 

Safe but you need Patch Test 
Being a natural ingredient kojic acid based skin care products are also deemed safe for use. But there are some cases of skin irritation due to use of these products. It’s mainly due to sensitive skin. So it is highly recommended to have a patch test and wait for 2-3 days for the result only to see if your skin can tolerate any of such products. 

As an Antioxidant 
In addition to its skin-lightening abilities, kojic acid is classified as an antioxidant. This class of nutrients has the ability to counteract the effects of particles in the air called free radicals, which have the potential to cause oxidative damage to the skin cells. By limiting the effects of free radicals, kojic acid helps to prevent the formation of signs of aging that occur when the cells that produce the skin’s vital structural proteins become damaged. 

As an Antibacterial 
Kojic acid is also an antibacterial agent, meaning that it interferes with the processes that bacteria cells must perform to thrive and reproduce. By disrupting these processes, kojic acid causes the death of bacteria. Some dermatologists recommend the use of mild concentrations of kojic acid for addressing acne blemishes, which are often caused by bacterial infections in the pores. 

By-product of Sake 
Kojic acid is a fine white powdery substance composed of tiny crystals. The formal discovery of kojic acid occurred in 1989, and since then, the substance has been used widely in skin care products due to its numerous benefits. The ingredient is obtained from mushrooms that are native to Japan and is a by-product of the fermentation process used to produce the alcoholic beverage sake.  In skin care products, kojic acid functions primarily as a skin-lightening agent. 


Kojic acid is a chelation agent produced by several species of fungi, especially Aspergillus oryzae, which has the Japanese common name koji. Kojic acid is a by-product in the fermentation process of malting rice, for use in the manufacturing of sake, the Japanese rice wine. It is a mild inhibitor of the formation of pigment in plant and animal tissues, and is used in food and cosmetics to preserve or change colors of substances. It forms a bright red complex with ferric ions. 

Kojic acid may be used on cut fruits to prevent oxidative browning, in seafood to preserve pink and red colors, and in cosmetics to lighten skin. As an example of the latter, it is used to treat skin diseases like melasma. Kojic acid also has antibacterial and antifungal properties.[citation needed] The cocrystals of kojic acid with quercetin were found to have two times better cytotoxic activity to human cervical cancer cells (HeLa) and human colon cancer cells in comparison with quercetin itself. 

Protective effects from radiation-induced damage 
Kojic acid appears to possess marked protective (radioresistance) effects from radiation-induced damage. It increased the 30 day survival rate of mice after exposed to a lethal dose of gamma radiation and had significant radioprotective effects on the hematopoietic system, the immune system and DNA of mice exposed to a 4 Gy sublethal dose of radiation. Pretreatment with Kojic acid has been shown to protect Chinese hamster ovary cells against ionizing radiation-induced damage. Dogs pretreated with kojic acid after whole-body exposure to a lethal dose of 3 Gy gamma radiation had a 51 day survival rate of 66.7% versus the dogs in the 3 Gy irradiation only group, which all died within 16 days of postirradiation. 

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