Kojic acid is a common ingredient in many skin care products. The acid is an agent that is produced by different fungi, particularly mushrooms. It is also a by-product of the fermenting of malting rice. This rice is used to make the popular Japanese rice wine. In addition to its multiple benefits to the skin, the acid is also widely used as a food preservative. Let’s delve into how the acid works and its special benefits to the skin.
How does Kojic Acid Work?
Kojic acid is mostly used to lighten the skin. It does this by inhibiting the production of melanin. Melanin is the pigment that is responsible for skin, eye and hair color. If less of it is produced, then the skin or hair won’t be as dark as it usually is. Kojic acid inhibits melanin production by minimizing the production of Tyrosine. This is an amino acid that is essential to the production of melanin. Below are the benefits that are derived from this property of Kojic acid.
Benefits of Kojic Acid on the Skin
The benefits of Kojic acid on skin are numerous, they include the following:
- Reduces age spots
- Lightens the skin
- Minimizes the appearance of scars
- Fights skin infection
Minimizes the Appearance of Scars
Nobody likes scars on their skin. They may be proof that the wound has healed, but they do a lot to detract from your appearance. Usually, scars will be characterized by dark pigmentation around the affected area. Like normal skin, it is melanin that is responsible for this extremely dark skin color. Rubbing some Kojic-acid infused cream or serum on the scar can therefore go a long way in lightening the skin around the area. The acid will not affect the thick protein layer that forms part of the scar, but it sure can minimize the appearance of the scar. The scar will heal in its own time but you won’t have to worry about an overly conspicuous mark.
Lightens the Skin
If you desire to have lighter skin, then using Kojic acid is one of the safest ways to achieve this goal. The acid, in mild concentrations, subtly lightens the skin without causing undue irritation. All you need is to apply the product consistently on the desired areas and you should see some improvement in a few months.
Reverses the Effects of Ageing
One of the ageing symptoms that dog many people is the appearance of age spots. These spots not only deduct from your appearance, but they may make you look older than you really are. Sun damage only makes these spots worse. A great way to make age spots less noticeable is to use some Kojic acid on the affected area. The spots, which are usually darker than the rest of the skin, are normally caused by excessive melanin being deposited on the affected areas. Kojic acid minimizes the production of melanin and this in turn makes the skin lighter. With time, you should see the gradual fading of the age spots.
Kojic acid also has strong anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. It can therefore be used to fight a number of stubborn fungal conditions such as athlete’s foot and yeast infections. Owing to its anti-bacterial properties, the acid can also be used to prevent a number of bacterial infections.
The Side Effects of using Kojic Acid on the Skin
Kojic acid also has some side effects that you might want to consider:
Irritation is normally not a cause for concern when Kojic acid is used in the right proportions. Ideally, this should be anything less than 1%. The highest concentration of the acid that should be included in skin care products should be 4% at most. Used in extremely high concentration, the acid can cause untold harm to your skin. This can be excessive irritation, inflammation and sometimes even rashes.
Using very highly concentrated products has also been shown to cause contact dermatitis and even delayed dermatitis. For those with extremely sensitive skin, Kojic acid might not be the best agent to use. If you opt to use products that contain it, then ensure that the products contain less than 1% concentration of the acid.
Makes Skin Susceptible to Sun Damage
Kojic acid also makes the skin a lot more vulnerable to sun damage. You should therefore avoid going out in the sun soon after applying the product on your skin. Remember, the main function of the acid is to inhibit the production of melanin. Melanin protects the skin from exposure to the sun rays. Even if less melanin results in lighter skin, it also leaves your skin exposed to the harmful UV rays of the sun. This can have devastating effects and has even been linked with increasing the likelihood of getting skin cancer.
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Kojic Acid for Lips
Dark lips are not flattering. Lips can darken for a number of reasons, the most prominent one being the use of harsh products on the lips. Most people with darkened lips will continue to use the harmful products in an effort to hide the dark color. Unfortunately, this only makes a bad situation worse.
Kojic acid is one of the most effective remedies for darkened lips. Like with other parts of the skin, kojic acid on the lips inhibits the production of melanin. This in turn lowers the production of the dark color. With time, the dark color will fade from your lips and you should have them restored to their natural color in no time.
Although Kojic acid works wonders for darkened lips, the change doesn’t happen overnight. It might be weeks before you even notice the slightest change in your lip color. You will need to exercise patience in order to reap the lip-lightening benefits of the acid.
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Kojic acid has numerous benefits for the skin. It helps to lighten the skin as well as to diminish scars. It also has strong anti-bacterial properties that help to fight skin infections. Better still, it also helps to minimize dark spots which gives your skin a youthful look. When applied on darkened lips, it helps to brighten them up. This can help to restore your confidence a great deal.
It is however very important that you use products which have the acid in mild concentration. Too much of the acid can cause immense irritation, which can aggravate to dermatitis. All in all, the acid can prove to be immeasurably beneficial to your skin. Be sure to try it.