Does kojic acid soap work? Learn more about the pro's and con's of using this skin lightener

Does Kojic Acid Soap Work? Pro’s and Con’s of Using this Lightener

Do you have dark skin on your body that you wish you could lighten?

Are you suffering from hyperpigementation on the face or other areas of the body?

If you fall into either of these categories then kojic acid soap may be a potential solution. 

Learn more about how kojic acid soap can naturally help lighten the skin, you'll also learn how to use it and who should use it in this guide:

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What is Kojic Acid?

Kojic acid is a special ingredient (chemical really) which acts to reduce the pigment of your skin. 

I've explained how kojic acid works in great detail and why you should and shouldn't use it, in this post here

If you aren't familiar with kojic acid I would definitely start there first!

As a quick primer...

Kojic acid is created from the fermentation process when creating rice wine and is extracted from this process. 

It's then concentrated and placed into cosmetics because it helps to reduce pigment and skin color when placed topically on the skin. 

Basically it helps lighten your skin by reducing certain enzymes and functions in the melanocytes of your cells

Decreased melanocyte action = decreased melanin = decreased pigment = lighter skin. 

Usually kojic acid is placed in creams and gels and then placed on the skin. 

In this way it's VERY effective at treating age spots, freckles, hyperpigmentation, sun damage and so on. 

But it can also be placed into soap products and then used across the ENTIRE body. 

It can also be used in certain areas where it wouldn't be a good idea to use expensive serums. 

Who should use Kojic Acid Soap & Does it actually Work?

So why would you consider using kojic acid soap over other kojic acid products?

The answer is simple: 

It depends on what your goals are. 

If you are only interested in using kojic acid on your face then it makes much more sense to get a serum or cream because it's easier to manage and you don't need quite as much. 

Why is that?

It's because kojic acid serums and creams tend to have a stronger and higher percentage of kojic acid when compared to kojic acid soaps. 

So if you have a LARGE surface area of the body which you are trying to lighten then it just makes sense to use a soap. 

Soap can more easily be placed on the entire body (if that's your preference) or even over large areas of the body such as your chest, arms, legs or intimate areas. 

But what if you have a darker skin tone over your entire body?

What if you have a Fitzpatrick skin type IV +

What if you have areas on your body that are darker than your normal skin color (areas like your underarms, intimate areas, back of the legs, etc.)? 

This is where using kojic acid soap really shines. 

Soap may be the preferred option if you answered YES to any of the questions above. 

Who should use consider kojic acid soap?

  • Those who want to lighten a large surface area of their body (more than just their face)
  • Those who want to lighten underarms, neck area and intimate areas (such as the anus and genitals) of the body (creams and serums may not be appropriate for these areas due to other ingredients)
  • Those who are on a budget! (Kojic acid soap is generally cheaper than serums and creams)
  • Those with sensitive skin who don't tolerate stronger kojic acid products

Kojic Acid Cream vs Kojic Acid Soap

Is it possible that you may need to use both kojic acid cream and kojic acid soap?

The answer is yes! And many people do this (depending on their needs). 

One of the biggest cosmetic issues that you can deal with is uneven skin tone which is often caused by the aging process or through sun damage. 

This type of discoloration WILL occur throughout your life, it's only a matter of time. 

This makes hyperpigmentation or discoloration a big complaint and big issue. 

For this reason Kojic acid and other skin lighteners are often included in cosmetics to help even out skin tone and color. 

In fact you may even be using kojic acid or some other lightener like Arbutin in your existing cosmetic products without even knowing it. 

In this way I often recommend some skin lightener as a "base" or "necessary" anti-aging skin care product in your daily regimen. 

Soap on the other hand is not quite as necessary and tends to have specific uses. 

Perhaps the best way to think of it is like this:

Kojic acid based creams and serums tend to be used for anti-aging to help you keep radiant and younger looking skin, while kojic acid soap is more for people who desire SPECIFIC results (such as those listed above). 

But can you use kojic acid soap in place of kojic acid creams and serums?

You probably can but I wouldn't recommend it unless you are on a budget

Generally you want to use a high quality cleanser on your face which contains nourishing ingredients such as Vitamins C & E along with some acid which helps to exfoliate dead skin cells. 

It's difficult to find all of these ingredients in a "soap" product so you may be missing out on these benefits if you jump to a soap and skip a cleanser. 

But it can probably be used in a pinch

Kojic Acid vs Hydroquinone - Which is best?

What about hydroquinone? Can it be used in place of kojic acid?

If you aren't familiar with hydroquinone let me fill you in. 

Hydroquinone is another skin lightener and is probably considered to be the most potent and powerful skin lightener around

The problem with hydroquinone is that you usually need a prescription to get it (unless you find it online somewhere) and it comes with some potential side effects. 

So while it is the most effective skin lightener it's probably not the best to use unless you suffer from a serious or difficult to treat hyperpigmentation syndrome such as Melasma

Hydroquinone works by blocking the enzyme tyrosinase but it also may cause melanocyte cell death (not ideal). 

In addition, long term use of hydroquinone may actually CAUSE hyperpigmentation once you stop using it (known as rebound hyperpigmentation) which is also not ideal. 

Because of these side effects it's often best to start with an over the counter lightener such as Arbutin or Kojic acid and then move up the ladder if you don't respond to these first. 

In addition, another downside to hydroquinone is that it isn't always appropriate for use over your entire body. 

Pros of using Kojic Acid Soap

  • May help to lighten large areas of your skin
  • May help to lighten intimate areas of the skin such as 
  • Works usually in a matter of weeks (fast acting)
  • Usually very safe and very well tolerated
  • Pricing for kojic acid soaps is cheaper when compared to other products such as serums and creams
  • A very safe and effective alternative to prescription skin lighteners

Cons of using Kojic Acid Soap

  • Is not a permanent skin lightening solution (will fade once you stop using the soap)
  • May not work for all skin types
  • May not be tolerated by people with sensitive skin
  • May result in irritation in certain areas of the body (such as intimate areas)

Side Effects to watch out for

Usually Kojic acid soap is very well tolerated. 

This means that MOST of the people who use it will NOT experience any negative side effects. 

However some people, especially those with sensitive skin, may experience irritation, redness, dry skin or a rash while using this product.

These side effects tend to fade rapidly once you stop using the product. 

In addition, you may find that if you present with these symptoms that simply reducing the frequency with which you use the product may solve your issue. 

Others may find relief if they simply don't use the product in intimate areas (such as the anus or vaginal area). 

When using kojic acid soap make sure to play around with where you use it and how frequent you use it. 

Some people may find that using the soap once every other day may be sufficient to maintain skin lightening while others may need to use it daily!

Don't be afraid to change up how you use it. 

The Best Kojic Acid Soap Products

So which products are considered the "best"?

Luckily there aren't many options to choose from (compared to other cosmetic products) and the ones that are available are considered high quality, cheap and effective. 

Most of the time kojic acid soap can be purchased for under $10 a bar and a bar should last you several weeks. 

You can compare this to kojic acid serum which may cost more than $50 (or even up to $100) and can only be used on a small surface area. 

If you've read through this post and you are ready to try kojic acid soap then stick to these products: 

#1. Marie France Original Kojic Acid Soap

Marie France is one of the better of the Kojic acid soaps available and has good reviews to back it up. 

This product contains pure kojic acid and papaya fruit extract which help improve skin lightening and help exfoliate the skin naturally. 

Marie france can be used in intimate areas such as the butt, underarms and bikini area. 

How to use:

Lather up the soap in your hands, apply generously to the areas you want to lighten. 

Let the soap work for a few minutes before washing it off. 

Use daily for 2-3 months. 

You should start to see results within 3-4 weeks. 

marie france kojic acid soap

#2. Kojie San Skin Lightening Soap

Kojie san is another great soap product and it is used basically the same way as the Marie France product. 

Both work quite well but the Marie France soap may be slightly better. 

Kojie san is slightly cheaper though, so if you are on a budget it may be a better option for you. 

kojie san kojic acid soap

Wrapping it up

The bottom line?

Kojic acid soap can help naturally lighten the skin, especially in certain areas of the body that may have you feeling self conscious. 

If you are interested in anti-aging or improving the complexion and tone of your face then you may be better off using a kojic acid cream or serum. 

While kojic acid soap will probably not turn your skin several shades darker it will reduce and lighten your skin tone and may help improve your self confidence. 

If you decide to use it make sure you use it DAILY for 3-4 months. 

By this time you should see the full effect and benefit of the soap. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you used kojic acid soap before?

Did it work for you?

Why or why not?

Leave your comments below! 

Kat Rich

Hi! I'm Kat and I write these posts. I'm obsessed with eyebrows, hair and anything related to fitness. Right now I do microblading, 3d brows and semi-permanent eyebrows in Mesa, Arizona as a certified microblading artist. I'm a licensed cosmetologist and have been for over 10 years as well. I love experimenting with new products and love to share my experiences. Have questions? Leave them below!

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