You likely have heard of salicylic acid and glycolic acid along with a plethora of skincare ingredients. It seems like these days, there’s a new trending ingredient on the market every day. Skincare routines are tricky and building one that fits your skin is trickier. The best part about new skincare ingredients? It’s that there’s one for every skin concern. Dry skin, flakiness, oiliness, acne prone – they all have ingredients that can combat them.
Kojic acid is one such that can combat skin concerns such as hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone.

In this blog, TABIIB takes a look at kojic acid, and why dermatologists recommend it.

What Is Kojic Acid?

Kojic acid is a chemical produced from different types of fungi. It is also a by-product of fermented soy sauce and rice wine. Other acids work by dissolving the bonds between the cells and exfoliating the skin, kojic acid works by inhibiting pigment production. Specifically, it prevents the production of tyrosine – an amino acid that’s needed to produce melanin. The decrease in melanin production results in the decrease of dark pigmentation on skin.

It also works as an antioxidant for your skin. Kojic acid pairs well with other skin-lightening ingredients, such as hydroquinone, but works well on its own. It’s also less likely to cause bleaching of the skin which is why it suits darker complexions, as well.


This ingredient is both an exfoliant and an antioxidant; there are tons of benefits that kojic acid offers. Here are a few benefits of this ingredient.

  • Inhibits the production of melanin in the skin
    Kojic acid blocks tyrosinase, in turn inhibiting the production of excess pigment. This means it can help lighten existing sun spots  and fade the dark spots leftover from acne scarring and pimples.
  • Has an anti-aging effect
    It is a UV protective, which helps in treating sun damage. This, in turn, reduces your age spots, fine lines, and wrinkles.
  • Has antioxidant properties
    It can help scavenge and counteract skin-damaging free radicals caused by exposure to things such as UV damage and pollution.
  • Treats melasma
    Melasma is a skin condition that’s particularly prevalent in pregnant women which causes dark patches, typically on the face. Due to its melanin inhibiting properties, this ingredient can stop melasma from getting too severe.
  • Has antibacterial and antifungal properties
    Kojic acid has anti-inflammatory properties, so it could help with itchy, red, and inflamed skin.

How To Use Kojic Acid In Your Skincare Routine

As per scientific research, kojic acid is safe to use within 1-4% concentration in cosmetics. This ingredient comes in many forms: lotions, serums, toners & mists, as well as, face powder. The choice of product depends on your skin type and its needs. Whichever product you choose to go with, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • If using as a powder, always make sure to dilute it beforehand and abide by the product instructions.
  • A kojic acid serum or cream should be absorbed completely before layering other products. If using it in the AM, don’t skip sunscreen! It can make your skin sensitive to UV.
  • For products like soap and cleansers, It’s advised that you rinse it off shortly after application.

The Bottom Line

When using this ingredient topically, you’ll likely start to see results within two weeks. You may see greater results — or faster results — if you also add glycolic acid to the treatment. The concentration of kojic acid in creams, serums, and soaps may vary by manufacturer. Products with a higher concentration may be more likely to lead to irritation.

If you’re considering adding this product to your skincare mix, do so with a dermatologist’s advice. You can book a consultation with your doctor on TABIIB.

I am a writer, covering the sprawling expanse of healthcare, among many other things that I love writing on. I write on healthcare because I want to do my part in informing people about the health industry, When I am not blogging about research and medicine, I enjoy reading, playing squash and backpacking around the world.

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