Have you tried home remedies for pigmentation to no avail? Scientifically-backed ingredients can do the job for you. Kojic acid is reputed to be the holy grail ingredient for treating skin conditions like pigmentation, dark spots, etc. It attacks issues like ageing, scars, and sun damage to leave you with clear skin.
You'll be surprised to know that kojic acid is a naturally-derived ingredient that offers the dual benefit of its organic and synthetic nature to address harsh skin problems. How is the product natural while being synthetic? Keep reading to learn more.
In the following sections, you will explore what kojic acid is, its uses and meaning, and the procedure to incorporate it into your skincare routine.
What is kojic acid?
Kojic acid is a skincare ingredient that is used topically. This means it is applied to the skin's surface instead of being ingested. Skincare companies have used it for years to treat melasma, dark spots, and several pigmentation-related problems. If you're a fan of the no-makeup look, this ingredient will help clear the dark patches on your skin. Ultimately, it will support your journey towards clear skin with an even skin tone.
The nature of this synthetic ingredient is organic. It is derived from a fungus named Aspergillus oryzae. The Japanese common name for this fungus is "koji," which gives the ingredient its name. Another method of obtaining it naturally is the process of fermentation of rice wine (called "sake" in Japanese) and soy sauce, in which kojic acid is a byproduct.
Once the ingredient is organically produced, it is purified in the lab to make it ready for use on the skin. When compared to its competitor ingredient hydroquinone, kojic acid gently penetrates the skin owing to its organic nature. Hydroquinone is banned in many countries as it could be harsh on your skin. Experts believe that kojic acid can potentially prevent skin browning and lighten darker areas. This is because it is a scientifically proven inhibitor of the enzyme responsible for the production of melanin, a pigment responsible for the dark spots on your skin.
Did You Know?
Here's an interesting fact about kojic acid. In 1907, this ingredient was discovered through Aspergillus oryzae. Also known as koji mould, restaurants in Japan use this fungus for fermenting food items like soybeans.
Is kojic acid safe for your face?
According to a report published in the National Library of Medicine, kojic acid was declared safe for use on human skin. However, the chemistry of every person's body varies. This makes the ingredient potentially unsafe for some people.
Experts advise you to exercise caution when purchasing products with kojic acid. Its concentration must not be greater than 2%, as it can harm your skin. If your skin is irritated, itchy, or injured, do not apply kojic acid. If it comes in contact with troubled skin, it can cause an allergic reaction that can be painful.
Also, the lack of studies on the effect of kojic acid on the skin of pregnant women makes it risky to use. In such cases, you must contact your dermatologist before applying any product with this ingredient. As advised by dermatologists, products with kojic acid must be used for about three months. People with healthy skin and all skin types can safely use this ingredient to remove any unnatural discolouration on their faces.
As a precaution, you must regularly apply sunscreen with a high SPF (30 or more) during the day if you use a kojic acid night cream. It is advisable to use this product at night as it tends to make your skin sensitive to the sun's rays.
What are the benefits of using kojic acid?
Now that the potential risks are covered, let's take a look at the benefits of this powerful ingredient. Listed below are the common benefits of using products with kojic acid.
Treatment of hyperpigmentation: As mentioned in the previous sections, kojic acid is highly effective in treating pigmentation-related problems. Within your skin, the enzyme tyrosine gets converted by melanocytes. This conversion results in the formation of melanin, the pigment responsible for darkening your skin.
Naturally, the production of melanin does not cause any problems.
However, when the UV rays of the sun damage your skin, they result in the production of excess melanin. Kojic acid has the power to inhibit tyrosine and ultimately limit melanin production. It gradually erases dark spots and other visible symptoms of pigmentation to give clearer skin.
Antimicrobial properties: A study showed the potential of kojic acid in fighting off several types of bacteria in the skin. Generally, its concentration can be taken up to 2%, but even smaller dilutions of kojic acid can help combat existing skin bacteria. Acne on your face is caused by bacteria. Thus, acne scars can also be treated with a kojic acid cream.
Treatment of dark circles: Dark circles under your eyes are generally the result of hyperpigmentation. Products like DermDoc Night Cream with 2% Kojic acid work overnight on your skin. It is less aggressive than ingredients like hydroquinone, which interact harshly with your skin to provide lightening benefits. Even if your skin is sensitive, this product can reduce pigmentation on your face, including dark circles.
What is the procedure for using kojic acid on your face?
After exploring the benefits of kojic acid, you are ready to look for products meeting your requirements. It is best to consult a dermatologist to know which routine or product (serum or cream) would work best for you. However, there is a general procedure that would help you make the most of the products with kojic acid.
Patch test: As a safety measure, apply a patch of the cream with kojic acid on your neck, forehead, elbow, or the back of your palm. Leave it for a day to observe its effect.
Prep your skin before use: To get the maximum benefit, cleanse your skin with a cleaner or face wash. Apply a toner followed by the kojic acid cream. If needed, apply a moisturiser over the cream for better results.
Apply on the desired area: You can apply the kojic acid cream on affected areas. You can also spread this cream evenly on your face to get an even skin tone.
A valuable tip
Kojic acid works mildly as an exfoliant on the skin. Thus, applying products with kojic acid can increase your skin's sensitivity to external pollutants. The production of melanin on your skin protects it from the sun's harmful UV rays. As kojic acid limits the production of melanin, thereby brightening your skin, it leaves it vulnerable to sun rays. Thus, as a preventive measure, you must always apply mineral-based sunscreen during the day, even while indoors. This tip will help you make the most of the product without damaging your skin.
For more information on the best products for several skin problems and to learn more about what's best for your face, visit the DermDoc website.