By Skincare Junkie Inc

Derm’s Guide to Kojic Acid, Ultimate Discoloration Defense

You have likely heard about glycolic acid and salicylic acid, and you may know your AHAs from BHAs. The arsenal of acids in skincare is growing. Kojic acid is a newer type of acid that is trending. But what is it? What does it help with, who should use it, and how to safely incorporate it into a skincare routine? Read to learn more.  

What Is Kojic Acid?

Kojic acid is a naturally-occurring compound derived from fungi and fermented products, like sake and Japanese mushrooms. It works by inhibiting the production of melanin, a pigment responsible for the color of our skin, hair, and eyes. By disrupting the synthesis of melanin, kojic acid effectively reduces pigment formation leading to a decrease in hyperpigmentation and a brighter, more even skin tone. 

Kojic acid was first discovered in Japan in the early 20th century. Its potent skin-lightening properties quickly gained popularity. Today, it is a skincare ingredient that has proven to be effective at treating sun spots, melasma (hyperpigmentation caused by hormonal changes), and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.

Kojic Acid Benefits 

Dermatologists often recommend kojic acid to treat hyperpigmentation, however, this skincare ingredient has many skin benefits: 

  • Skin brightening. Kojic acid is known for its ability to brighten the skin and produce a luminous glow.
  • Fading spots. It has been shown to effectively reduce the appearance of dark spots, age spots, and melasma, leading to a more even skin tone. 
  • Antioxidant protection. Kojic acid is also an antioxidant, which neutralizes harmful free radicals and protects the skin from environmental damage.
  • Anti-inflammatory. Kojic acid may provide calming effects to the skin. 
  • Anti-microbial. Kojic acid protects against certain microbes boasting some anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. 
  • A safer alternative. Hyperpigmentation is often treated with hydroquinone, a potent agent that has been linked to cancer. Kojic acid is a safer alternative for those who don’t want to use hydroquinone or cannot tolerate it. 

How to Use Kojic Acid Safely

It is always wise to evaluate your skin's response to new products with a patch test before adding to your skincare routine. This is especially important if you tend to have sensitive skin.

For use, after cleansing apply kojic acid-containing product topically to discolored areas or entire face, depending on your skin concerns. Follow with a hydrating moisturizer to lock in hydration and to protect the skin barrier. 

Kojic acid can make your skin more sensitive to the sun, so apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher daily to prevent sun damage. Never use kojic acid on broken, red, or irritated skin. If in doubt, check with a board-certified dermatologist beforehand. 

Skincare Junkie® Discoloration Fade Wand 

When it comes to discoloration, you really need to be spot-on. Skincare Junkie Discoloration Fade Wand is an innovative solid stick that instantly turns from balm to fast-absorbing serum to target only the places where you need it most. Brighten a variety of discoloration including sun spots, post-acne marks, melasma, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation. 

This proprietary powerhouse combination of kojic acid, tranexamic acid, and vitamin C in their most penetrable, potent, and yet well-tolerated forms fights hyperpigmentation at multiple depths in the skin for the most thorough treatment. Recommended for all skin types except acne-prone. Learn more here or Buy now!