What is kojic acid and what is it for?


Kojic acid is a chemical that comes from an Asian mushroom called koji ( Aspergillus oryzae ); It is a type of benign fungus that has been used for decades in the field of gastronomy and which, lately, has been discovered to have great cosmetic properties. To obtain kojic acid for cosmetic use, other similar fungi are also used, so that the result is a crystalline powder of a beige color that dissolves easily in water.

What is kojic acid and what is it for

More and more cosmetic remedies based on kojic acid appear that are advertised as miraculous for the skin. 

What is kojic acid

The Japanese koji mushroom is widely known and used throughout East Asia. This is used to ferment food products, as it improves their flavor, provides great nutrients and acts as a preservative.

Koji is present in beverages such as sake (a kind of typical Japanese rice brandy), mirin (a sweet amber liquor that is also used to make sauces), rice vinegar, soy sauce, and miso (a seasoning used for marinades, soups, and to flavor foods). We could compare it with the yeasts that we use to ferment bread and beer or with the lactobacillus in yogurts.

From the mixture of various types of mushrooms, rice and soybeans fermented with koji, the chemical result that we know as kojic acid is achieved . This kojic acid has several uses: in the food industry it is used as a natural preservative, while in the cosmetic industry it is used to inhibit excess melanin in the skin, which is why it is perfect for treating blemishes and blemishes.

Kojic acid is present in creams, lotions and ointments for skin use due to its whitening power . In addition, it is a key product in the treatment of some diseases that alter skin pigmentation and certain lesions caused by acne.

What is kojic acid for?

The medical-cosmetic applications of this product are many; For its whitening properties, we have already seen that kojic acid is used for skin blemishes. However, it also has very important antibacterial properties for our health, as we will see below. Here are some great benefits of kojic acid :

  • It is a great stain remover : kojic acid inhibits the production of the enzyme tyrosinase, responsible for the balance of melanin in our skin. That is why we say that this substance contains whitening properties and is used to remove skin blemishes, from freckles to those caused by the sun. Due to these properties, kojic acid is also often used for dark circles, as it improves the appearance of bags under the eyes. If you are looking for homemade and easy to make anti-blemish, don't miss this article on How to make a homemade anti-blemish facial cream .
  • Perfect for anti-aging treatments – There are two main reasons why kojic acid is said to be perfect for preventing premature signs of aging. On the one hand, and as we have already seen, this substance eliminates skin blemishes that are accentuated with age, which gives the skin a more rejuvenated appearance. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that kojic acid is a great antioxidant, which means that it fights free radicals in the skin and prevents their consequences, one of the most common being the appearance of wrinkles. If you want to use kojic acid for wrinkles, we also explain how to make homemade masks to rejuvenate the face .
  • Reduces scar marks – Kojic acid does not act directly on scars, but it does noticeably reduce the darker or pinkish hue that often accompanies them, making them much less visible.
  • Fights and prevents infections : due to the antifungal effect of kojic acid, this substance is used for the treatment and prevention of certain infections caused by fungi. But, in addition, its antibacterial properties make it a perfect option to treat other skin infections.

How Kojic Acid Is Used

Kojic acid can be found in the form of cream, gel, serum, ointment, lotion and even as a component of facial hygiene soaps. The difference between one and the other is that, depending on what it is going to be used for, the concentration of kojic acid will vary from one product to another. The density of this substance can also change, so not all products will penetrate the skin the same.

The most common way to improve the appearance of the skin in general is to use a kojic acid cream ; in this case, it can be applied twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. It is important to always apply the product on clean skin and do it as with any other cream; taking a small amount with the fingertips and spreading the ointment well on the skin. Gently massage your face to promote penetration.

Results are usually visible in 1-2 weeks. However, if you are going to use kojic acid to treat a specific problem, you should know that it can take up to 3 months to see noticeable changes.

Kojic acid contraindications

As with any dermatological treatment, care should be taken when exposing the skin to the sun while using products containing kojic acid. During these times, the skin is more sensitive than ever, so certain problems could appear. Here are some possible side effects of kojic acid:

  • skin irritation
  • extreme dryness
  • skin redness
  • Sensitive skin with punctual pain

Before the appearance of any of these symptoms, it is essential that you go to the doctor so that he can diagnose you correctly and offer you a new treatment.

Where to buy kojic acid

If the treatment with kojic acid is prescribed by a doctor, the product will be available in pharmacies. On the other hand, if the treatment is cosmetic, you can find many products in parapharmacies and specialized cosmetic establishments.


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