Skin Health 101
Unsure of your skin type? Wondering what is an exfoliant and why do you need one? Curious about an ingredient? Does skincare confuse you? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this page is the one for you!
Hello Everyone! Welcome back to Nia Imani. I know it has been quite some time since I have been active here; I missed being active and interacting with you all. I hope everyone is doing well, especially due to the current state of the World.
Today I want to jump back into skin health aka my favorite posts to make. If you can’t tell by the title, this post is about kojic acid. Per the usual, I will be sharing information on the formulation, origin, benefits, side effects, and usages of kojic acid in skincare. As well as some of my favorite products that feature kojic acid.
If you have additional questions, comments, requests, etc. please feel free to reach out to me via the comment section below, email, or my various social media platforms. I love answering questions and interacting with you all. Lastly (before we jump into the post), please follow me on Facebook and Instagram to keep up to date on blog posts as well as my live broadcasts and subscribe to the blog to get insider information on Nia Imani.
Now without further ado, let's jump into!
Kojic Acid is produced by different types of fungi through the fermentation process of foods such as malting rice or mushrooms. The Japanese commonly call kojic acid koji. In their culture, they create kojic acid by making several things including sake (a Japanese rice wine) and soy sauce. In other parts of the food industry kojic acid is used as a natural preservative.
*FUN FACT*: Shiitake mushrooms are one of the most dense sources of Kojic Acid.
In skincare kojic acid functions as a mild melanin inhibitor. Melanin is a naturally occurring pigment in the human body. Kojic acid works as a melanin inhibitor by blocking an amino acid called tyrosine from forming. This action prevents melanin from being produced because without tyrosine the process of creating melanin is not possible. This makes kojic acid perfect for anyone who experiences sun damage, scars, acne spots, age spots, or any other form of hyperpigmentation.
Kojic acid is commonly found in lotions, serums, and cleansers geared towards brightening or evening the skin tone. The chemical is safe for head to toe usage and is typically safe for all skin types including sensitive skin. However, depending on the pH of the product as well as the concentration of the kojic acid it can be irritating to the skin.
The known side effects of kojic acid are sunburn and contact dermatitis. Sunburn is possible due to lowered levels of melanin in the skin; melanin protects the skin from sun damage due to UV rays. When using kojic acid use SPF 30 or higher and apply a quarter-size amount of the sunscreen to the face, neck, and décolletage; remember to reapply your sunscreen every 80 to 90 minutes. Also, to further prevent sun damage or sunburn from using kojic acid, apply the ingredient only at night when using leave-on products such as lotions or serums. Regarding the contact dermatitis, do a patch test to make sure the skin is not sensitive or allergic to kojic acid. If you are still concerned consult a dermatologist or doctor about the product. Kojic Acid when formulated properly and when the skin isn’t sensitive/allergic to can be fantastic.
The benefits of using a product with kojic acid are vast. The most noteworthy benefit of kojic acid is it reduces the appearance of hyperpigmentation from acne and aging as well as melasma. Another great benefit of kojic acid is its antibacterial properties; it helps to reduce active acne on the skin. In addition to being antibacterial, it is also antifungal, which is great for fungal acne, athlete’s foot, etc.
I am sure all my sensitive skin friends are concerned due to the possible side effects, but you should know that kojic acid also has anti-inflammatory properties. And if you are concerned about aging well kojic acid has you covered with antioxidant properties. Kojic acid acts as an antioxidant by counteracting the effects of free radicals from UV rays and pollution which slows the aging process tremendously due to free radical damage being the number 1 cause of aging.
Now I know a lot of you who read my blog are estheticians, skincare enthusiasts, or people in the beauty industry so just something I want to share with people who often use a lot of actives within their skincare regimes is a quick tip. And to be clear this tip is from personal experience as well as recommendation from various medical institutions and people within the skincare and medical skin care industries. The tip is kojic acid works great in conjunction with hydroquinone and glycolic acid. I often use my kojic acid powder with my Sunday Riley Good Gene Glycolic acid treatment. I do not use hydroquinone in my skincare regimen; I do not like skin bleaching ingredients on my skin but to each their own. If you are using other acids like salicylic acid, lactic acid, etc. I would recommend you either use a kojic acid soap therefore the ingredients do not negatively interact with one another or alternate days or times of day in which you use those ingredients. This way you get the best results from each ingredient and product.
Now that you know all the kojic acid facts, I bet you are wondering what product you should use. Well, Kojic Acid is in a lot of products and I can understand why that would be overwhelming but, never fear I have a few favorites I will list here for you. I will also have links attached to this post. I hope you enjoyed this Skin Health 101 and I appreciate your support. Please remember to share this blog post with your loved ones, friends, and fellow skincare enthusiasts.
P.S. As promised the list of products with a summary/review and links!
1. PCA Skin Pigment Bar ($46): This is a cleansing bar with kojic acid has its star ingredient. This cleanser brightens the skin and helps to reduce inflammation by parting it with niacinamide. You can use it day and night, every day and it can be removed immediately after cleansing or left on for 5-10 minutes as a mask.
2. La Roche- Posay Mela-D Pigment Control Serum ($40): This is a serum that great for sensitive skin because it does not have hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is often paired with kojic acid is lotion and serum formulations. This serum can be used twice daily, but if you are sensitive or pairing this serum with an active heavy skincare regime then use only at night or at night every other night.
3. Kojic Acid Powder: Amazon has dozens the brand I have discontinued it so I won’t mention it, but you can check Amazon or ingredient wholesalers for the format of kojic acid.
4. Kojie San Skin Lightening Kojic Acid Soap Bar in the original ($9): I get this on amazon, but tons of beauty supply stores have this brand. This is an old fashioned, inexpensive bar soap, but unlike most, it is pH balanced and it doesn’t irritate my skin. I often switch between this bar soap and the PCA bar soap. They can both be used on the face or the body.