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A Discussion about Kojic for Skin Lightening
June 30, 2012
Skin lightening is desired by many, especially those who have
obvious facial dark spots caused by hyperpigmentation. In the process of
lightening your skin, you will come across many components, kojic acid
included. Let us get to know more about kojic for skin lightening.
Kojic acid is known to be a by-product of rice wine manufacturing and
is often used in cosmetics as a skin lightening ingredient. Topical
creams that are used on the face and hands contain 1% of kojic acid.
Although it cannot be effective for an overnight time, it can help to
even out skin discolorations and blotchiness.
Kojic acid was first discovered in Japan in 1989. This comes from a
mold called aspergillus oryzae which grow on rice. Just after the
researchers found out about its skin lightening properties, it was at
once formulated into cosmetic. Since it cannot work on its own, it is
often combines with other ingredients for a better effect. Kojic is
found in creams, lotions and soaps.
Effects of Kojic on Skin
According to the European Commission Scientific Committee on Consumer
Products, kojic acid is effective in inhibiting the production of
melanin and has antimicrobial properties. It is said to attack the
pigment-causing melanin on the skin in a way that it stops the effect of
the amino acid tyrosine that creates melanin. In addition, kojic acid
decreases the existing melanin of the skin and at the same time
contributes in depigmenting the skin.
Duration of Effectiveness
Effects of kojic acid may vary from one person to another. However,
usually it takes three to eight weeks before improvement is noticeable.
Other patients may not even see any improvement after a year or even
longer. If ever you have reached up the desired effect, you must stop
the use of kojic because if not you may end up with uneven skin tone.
Considerations to Take while Using Kojic
The shade of the natural kojic acid turns to brown once it is exposed
to air or sunlight and may lose its effectiveness, so you must be
careful about this. Also be careful in the application of sunscreen when
using skin lightener or you may neglect the effect of the product once
the UVA and UVB rays of the sun darken your skin.
Some researches which include a study conducted by Tamotsu, et al,
which is published in “Toxicological Sciences” in June 2004 and a study
conducted by Hiroshi Suzuki, et al, which is published in “Mutation
Research” in June 2005, noted that kojic acid contains some carcinogenic
properties. Other studies involving animals have shown nervous system,
brain and behavioral side effects if consumed high doses of kojic acid.
Another study which was conducted by Mikio Nakagawa, et al, was
published in the journal “Contact Dermatitis” in January 1995, has
confirmed that kojic acid can cause dermatitis in some individual.
Kojic acid as a skin lightener is not safe to use all the time
especially when they are marketed at higher strengths than usual.
Caution has to be exercised with the use of products containing kojic
for skin lightening.