Kojic acid is a chemical exfoliator used to renew the skin and treat pigment spots. It is mostly derived from fungi or plant-based foods. Therefore, kojic acid has no animal by-products in it. It is always vegan.
Kojic acid is a powerful active ingredient, but it also raises many questions amongst users as well as professionals. Let’s find out why.
What Is Kojic Acid? What is Kojic Made Of?
Kojic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It is a chemical peel derived from the fermentation of certain fungi and plant-based foods.
Kojic acid is a chelating agent produced by several species of fungi. Especially Acetobacter, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. The latter also has the Japanese name Koji.
In addition, kojic acid is a by-product of malt rice used to make Japanese rice wine sake. As well as soy sauce. Kojic acid is always vegan.
Why Is Kojic Acid Used In Skincare?
Kojic acid is primarily used to lighten visible sun damage, age spots, or scars. It lightens skin pigmentation and inhibits melanin production in the skin.
What makes kojic acid so special is its strong lightning effect. It inhibits the body’s own enzyme tyrosinase. Which is responsible for the synthesis of melanin and thus the formation of pigment spots. This way discolorations fade and new ones can no longer develop.
In addition, the kojic acid effectively boosts the body’s own cell production. Because kojic acid has exfoliating properties. So, Kaolin accelerates the skin renewal process.
The active ingredient is also antibacterial and controls acne and inflammation. After use, the complexion looks fresher, firmer, and more even.
Another plus is that after a kojic acid treatment, any skincare ingredient absorbs better. Kojic acid is often found in creams and serums in combination with other AHAs.
However, it is important to apply sun protection after using kojic acid in the morning. Even in the winter. And very sensitive skin types should use it only once or twice a week.
Is Kojic Acid Harmful?
Experts are very critical of the use of kojic acid against pigment spots. Because, in addition to darker areas, the skin around them may become lighter as well. In some places, kojic acid is also considered harmful to health.
For example, in Switzerland, kojic acid is forbidden and considered cancerogenic. Yet in Europe and on other continents, however, the substance is permitted.
The product is particularly popular in Asia. Light skin is considered there as the ideal of beauty. But in Asia, this acid is often sold in too high of a concentration. In vegan skincare, kojic acid is safe and non-toxic at 0.5 to 2.0%.
Side effects of kojic acid include dry skin, redness, and itching. It also makes the skin more prone to sunburn. We recommend consulting a professional before using the acid.
FAQ About Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It is a chemical peel derived from the fermentation of certain plant-based foods.
Kojic acid is a chelating agent produced by several species of fungi. Especially Acetobacter, Penicillium, and Aspergillus. In addition, kojic acid is a by-product of malt rice used to make Japanese rice wine sake. As well as soy sauce.
Yes. Kojic acid is always vegan.
In some places, kojic acid is considered harmful to health. In Switzerland, for example, kojic acid is forbidden and considered cancerogenic. In Europe and on other continents, however, the substance is permitted.
Kojic acid is mainly used because of its effect as a tyrosinase inhibitor. So, it inhibits melanin formation and fights hyperpigmentation. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects. And works as a chemical exfoliator.
If you are concerned about hyperpigmentation, sunspots, or acne, kojic acid may work well for you. However, you should always consult your dermatologist first.
To find the best peelers, we have put together a list of the best vegan exfoliators. If you can’t find anything on this list, look for 100% vegan brands to reach your new favorite.