Tag Archives forSkin lighteners

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:


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 soapSee more Marie France Kojic acid soap reviews here

#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 soapSee more Kojie San Kojic Acid soap reviews here

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! 

What is Arbutin? How to use This Skin Lightener

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about the skin lightener Arbutin including how to determine if you should use it, which side effects to look out for, how to use it safely, which products are the best and more.

Let’s jump in: 


What is Arbutin?

So what exactly is Arbutin?

To put it simply it is a special ingredient which naturally helps to reduce and lighten the color of your skin. 

With this special mechanism it is put into the class of products known as skin lighteners. 

But why do people want to “lighten” their skin?

It turns out that as you age your skin starts to develop uneven skin color and uneven skin tone

This largely has to do with the effect of aging on the skin, but the end result is that the face may look blotchy and discolored. 

Skin lighteners provide a cosmetic way to naturally even out the skin tone and bring back youthful looking skin! 

Because of this effect skin lighteners have become incredibly powerful. 

Arbutin makes it into this class of products and may be one of the best and safest in this class (more on that below). 

Arbutin works by inhibiting an enzyme found in melanocytes known as tyrosinase

Melanocytes are the cells in your skin which confer pigment and coloring to your skin. 

The interesting thing about melanocytes is that they work by increasing melanin production which provides tints or color gradients to the skin

So if you can “turn down” the production of melanin in the melanocytes you can effectively lighten certain areas of the skin and reduce the overall pigment (even from what is normal for your body!). 

Arbutin comes in two forms that you need to know about: 

  • Alpha Arbutin – This is the purest and most effective form of arbutin (especially when compared to beta arbutin). It’s a powerful skin lightener and works on all skin types. Alpha arbutin is expensive to manufacture which is why usually only high quality products contain this ingredient. Watch our for cheap products which claim to contain “arbutin” but formulate it in the beta formulation. In addition Alpha arbutin is also more stable than Beta arbutin. 
  • Beta Arbutin – This form of arbutin is often referred to as just “arbutin” so if you don’t see the ingredient list specifying the Alpha component then you can assume it’s probably in the beta formulation. This formulation is cheaper to produce and manufacture and is not as effective as alpha arbutin. Newer skin products contain alpha arbutin while older cosmetic products contain either “beta arbutin” or simply “arbutin”. 

It’s important to understand the basics of cosmetic ingredients and how they work because it should influence which products you want to purchase and buy. 

Often times you may see two different products that are considerably different in price and you may not understand why – much of this has to do with how the products are made and manufactured. 

The more expensive products almost always work better because they contain the right formulations and right concentration of active ingredients

This concept holds true for Arbutin!

Make sure that you purchase products that contain alpha arbutin instead of the other alternatives. 

Arbutin vs Hydroquinone

You’ve probably heard of the powerful skin lightener known as Hydroquinone

But how does it differ from Arbutin and is one better than the other?

When we break down the difference between these skin lighteners we find that Arbutin is actually a derivative of Hydroquinone. 

What this means is that Arbutin works through a similar mechanism as Hydroquinone but is not quite as powerful. 

Hydroquinone is naturally found in several plants such as bearberry, blueberry, cranberry and pear trees. 

Both Hydroquinone and Arbutin act by blocking tyrosinase activity which blocks the production of melanin (this is why they are both skin lighteners). 

Remember if you block the production of melanin then your skin cells are not able produce pigment and their color will fade over time. 

The main difference between hydroquinone and arbutin is that hydroquinone is slightly more powerful. 

The downside to this is that hydroquinone will require a prescription and it may have more potent side effects. 

Because of these variables many physicians and patients opt to use Arbutin over hydroquinone. 

It may be a good idea to consider hydroquinone if you have a very stubborn hyperpigmentation issues or if you’ve failed other skin lightening treatments. 

Otherwise it might be safer to jump in with Arbutin. 

Arbutin vs Kojic Acid

What about Kojic acid? How does Arbutin compare to this skin lightener?

Kojic acid is another skin lightener that is also available over the counter and is often found in many lightening formulas. 

Kojic acid is created as a byproduct in the formation of fermented rice and then concentrated in high amounts and placed into cosmetic products

Kojic acid works by inhibiting the enzyme tyrosinase much like Arbutin. 

But are both products equal in terms of efficacy?

Some studies have pointed to the fact that kojic acid may be a slightly more powerful skin lightener than arbutin when they are compared head to head – especially for treating hyperpigmentation such as Melasma

But this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should use kojic acid over Arbutin.

One of the downsides to using Kojic acid is that it is not quite as stable as Arbutin when it is put into cosmetics. 

This means that kojic acid is more likely to break down and become less effective over time in certain cosmetic products. 

There are two main types of kojic acid found in cosmetic products: 

Kojic acid (this is the one that you want). 

And Kojic acid dipalmitate (this is the version you don’t want). 

Kojic acid dipalmitate is more stable than kojic acid but not nearly as powerful. 

This has lead many manufacturers to include the more stable (and cheaper) version of kojic acid in their products. 

But the problem is that it isn’t as effective as regular kojic acid! 

So even though that Arbutin is not quite as powerful as Kojic acid it is much more stable in cosmetic products. 

If you purchase a high quality kojic acid product this probably isn’t an issue, but if you are on a budget then it’s probably best to go with Arbutin over kojic acid for that stability. 

Is Arbutin Safe?

So we know that Arbutin is definitely effective as a skin lightener but does that mean that you should jump in and start using it?

Before you do the next question you should be asking yourself is this: is it actually safe?

The answer is yes!

Arbutin is actually quite safe, especially when compared to other products such as hydroquinone. 

One of the potential risks of using Arbutin is that it can actually become converted into Hydroquinone under certain alkaline circumstances

Basically if the pH is high enough (meaning there is a basic environment) Arbutin may turn into Hydroquinone. 

The good news is that the surface of your skin is not an alkaline or basic environment so the risk of this happening is quite low!

So yes, Arbutin is safe as long as it doesn’t turn into hydroquinone which shouldn’t be a problem. 

Side Effects & What to Expect 

There is a difference between Arbutin being safe and having side effects, however, which is what I want to touch on next. 

The safety profile has more to do with the products ability to cause harm, while the side effect profile has more to do with how well the product is tolerated. 

Just because Arbutin does not cause damage or harm to the skin doesn’t mean that it will necessarily work for your skin or that you won’t have any side effects. 

The good news is that most people who use Arbutin will not experience any bad or negative side effects. 

Most of the side effects that people experience while using Arbutin will be positive ones such as more radiant lighter skin. 

But some people who use Arbutin may experience redness, irritation and even a rash. 

These side effects are rare but you should still be aware of them. 

Rarely some people will not experience any skin lightening effect and may actually experience some worsening of their hyperpigmentation. 

This may have to do with a rebound reaction of melanin production that can sometimes occur with the use of hydroquinone. 

This is a rare side effect but you should be aware of it before you use arbutin! 

If it is going to work, how long should you expect to wait before you see results? 

Arbutin (like other skin lighteners) tends to work quickly and you should expect to see some skin lightening within the first 4 weeks of use. 

Further lightening may continue for up to several months. 

Another point worth mentioning is that the skin lightening you experience with Arbutin is NOT permanent. 

Once you stop using arbutin your skin may revert back to what it was previously. 

For this reason it may be wise to continue application with high quality ingredients as long as you achieve your desired results. 

With this in mind let’s talk about how you can use Arbutin and what kind of products are best. 

The Best Arbutin Products

Arbutin can be combined with several different types of cosmetic products but perhaps the two most efficient forms include arbutin cream and arbutin serum. 

Arbutin Cream

Arbutin cream is probably best for people who want to even out the entire skin tone of an entire body region. 

For instance:

If you have age spots, sun spots, photo-damage, freckles, etc. that are somewhat blotchy throughout your entire face then a cream may be best to reduce and even out the skin tone and complexion of that region. 

For best results you’ll want to use an arbutin face cream in both the morning and the night for at least 4+ weeks. 

I recommend using a product such as this if you need to target an entire area: 

arbutin lightening creamSee more Obagi nu derm Clear fx reviews here

Arbutin Serum

Another alternative to arbutin cream is arbutin serum. 

While cream may be better for large surface area you can think of serum as being better for targeted treatment or more difficult to treat cases of hyperpigmentation. 

Serum works best for those people who suffer from the deep purple hyperpigmentation associated with acne, for those suffering from melasma, or those who need a more targeted approach. 

If you just have a few areas on your face that worry you then it’s best to use a higher potency arbutin and put the product only on the areas that need it. 

So think about serum as a more targeted approach while the cream is more of a shot-gun approach. 

If you decide to use a serum I recommend a high quality product like this one: 

arbutin lightening serumSee more white lightening serum reviews here


Arbutin is one of many natural and powerful ways that you can reduce and lighten your skin coloring. 

When compared to other alternatives it may be one of the preferred methods for skin lightening even though it’s not quite as powerful as hydroquinone or kojic acid. 

The reason for this has to do with how safe it is to use, how well tolerated it is and how stable arbutin is when formulated to certain products

Remember that it may take up to 4 weeks for the lightening process to kick in so if you plan to use it make sure that you use it for long enough. 

Also, if you decide to use it as part of a regiment to target hyperpigmentation such as melasma you may benefit more from the serum formulation over the cream formulation. 

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you used arbutin before?

Are you currently using it?

Has it worked well for you?

Why or why not?

Leave your comments below! 

Everything you Need to Know About Kojic Acid for Your Skin

Are you suffering from dark spots or uneven skin tone and color?

If so then kojic acid may be the solution to your problem. 

Kojic acid is a special ingredient that helps lighten the skin and reduce dark spots (including age spots). 

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about Kojic acid including the benefits, side effects, how to use it and which products are ideal based on your circumstances.

Let’s jump in: 


What is Kojic Acid?

So what exactly is Kojic acid and is it even good for your skin?

Kojic acid is a chemical that is made during the natural fermentation process of rice when making Japanese rice wine. 

This byproduct has some very potent (and beneficial) effects on your skin – namely it helps to reduce the pigment and can actually LIGHTEN the skin. 

This may not sound like a big deal until you realize that one of the #1 complaints among aging women (and men) is the changes to skin color and texture as they age. 

Science and the cosmetic industry actually has pretty good ways to treat wrinkles. 

Therapies such as Vitamin C serum, topical tretinoin, anti-aging serums, botox, dermal fillers and so on can actually help reduce wrinkles. 

But what about evening out the skin tone?

This is actually a big complaint and one of the reasons for the rising popularity among skin lighteners is because they can even out skin tone and reduce hyper-pigmentation. 

So what do I mean when I say hyper-pigmentation?

This is a general word that is meant to describe basically any uneven skin discoloration. 

It could be from inflammatory conditions such as rosacea, it could be from acne, it could be from age spots and so on. 

Basically anything that causes damage, or is completely natural, and results in an uneven color on your skin can be classified as hyper-pigmentation. 

And this is exactly what Kojic acid is supposed to treat and “even” out. 

But does it work?

Actually, yes, it works quite well for most people especially when compared to other skin lighteners (but more on that below). 

One of the major benefits of Kojic acid is that it is easy to purchase (you can get it over the counter) and is relatively SAFE especially when compared to other skin lighteners such as hydroquinone. 

In addition, kojic acid has been shown to be almost as effective as hydroquinone and other skin lighteners but it has the added advantage of not carrying with it the side effects on the skin such as redness or irritation. 

The many Benefits of Kojic Acid

So how does Kojic acid work?

In order to understand how it works you need to understand some basics of how your body creates pigment in the skin. 

Pigment is produced through cells known as melanocytes which sit at the bottom of the upper layer of your skin known as the epidermis. 

When melanocytes get “triggered” they produce melanin which then creates a darkening of your skin. 

When you get a tan your body reacts to protect the skin by producing more melanin and it is this melanin which gives your skin the darker color!

So it follows that the way to reduce skin color and tone is by targeting these melanocytes and that’s exactly what kojic acid does. 

Kojic acid inhibits an enzyme known as tyrosinase which is necessary for the production of melanin in melanocytes

By inhibiting this enzyme your skin will naturally lighten over time as your body and cells create less melanin!

Make sense?

So the main benefit to using kojic acid is to reduce the natural pigment in your skin and lighten your skin. 

Because kojic acid is an ACID it also has some potential benefits when fighting off certain bacterial strains and fungal strains that can take up residence on your skin. 

For this reason kojic acid is sometimes included in products that are designed to treat fungal infections such as Athlete’s foot and other yeast infections. 

The anti-bacterial benefit is also why kojic acid is often included in acne creams/gels. 

Kojic Acid Products

This effect occurs pretty much wherever you have hyper-pigmentation which has lead people to use Kojic acid all over their body and is one of the reasons that kojic acid has been included in many different types of products. 

Kojic acid is often included in various types of products ranging from soaps to serums to gels and creams. 

The main goal when using kojic acid is to find the right type of product based on the results that you want. 

For more isolated and deeper pigments you will want to focus on gels and serums which tend to be more powerful. 

If you are looking to “lighten” up large areas of your body then soap is probably best. 

If you are looking to treat acne then a kojic acid cleansing complex will do better. 

With that in mind let’s talk about the various types of kojic acid products: 

Kojic acid soap

Kojic acid soap is often less powerful than other versions of kojic acid products but it tends to work well to gently lighten larger areas of the skin. 

Many people who have naturally darker colors (Fitzpatrick skin types IV through VI) may find some benefit to using kojic acid to lighten large areas of their skin including more intimate parts of their body. 

Other people find success using kojic acid soap in lightening their underarms and other creases in their body in which they may be self conscious about the coloring. 

Because this soap is less powerful than other versions this may work out well for many people. 

I recommend using a well tested and high quality product such as this if you opt to use the soap form: 

kojic acid skin lightening soapLearn more about using Kojic acid soap here

Kojic acid cleansers

Kojic acid cleansers are best used for those who suffer from acne and need the added benefit that kojic acid provides to reducing both pimples AND the post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation that may follow with this problem. 

Cleansers tend to be less potent than gels and serums but they are also less expensive and work well to even out skin tone, color and complexion. 

Kojic acid gel

Kojic acid gels and serums tend to be better for age spots, melasma and other difficult to treat pigmentation diseases because they are more powerful. 

Because they are more powerful they are often more expensive and the bottles tend to have less when compared to kojic acid cleansers. 

People who do best on kojic acid gel/serums include those who are more interesting in anti-aging, those with age spots or those with melasma. 

You can see my recommended product below: 

kojic acid gel for skin lighteningLearn more about Kojic acid gel here

Side Effects & Is it Safe?

One major concern of many people who try out skin care products is the safety profile of the ingredient. 

And you should be concerned!

You don’t want to put anything on your skin which hasn’t been tested or proven to be effective. 

When it comes to kojic acid this particular ingredient is usually VERY well tolerated. 

That means that most people use it without experiencing any serious or negative side effects. 

The most common side effect when using kojic acid is what is known as contact dermatitis. 

You can think of contact dermatitis as basically a rash in which your body reacts with redness and irritation to certain chemicals or ingredients. 

The treatment for this issue is to discontinue whatever agent is causing the problem and it will fade naturally over time. 

As long as you use kojic acid 1% (and no greater) then you shouldn’t run into many issues. 

Another potential issue worth considering is that the blocking of melanin may actually make your skin more susceptible to sun damage. 

Remember that melanin is created to PROTECT and ABSORB ultraviolet light from the sun!

If you block the production of melanin you are in effect making your skin more sensitive to the sun and even tanning beds. 

So while using Kojic acid make sure you don’t exposure your face (or whatever body part you are using it on) to excessive sunlight. 

This probably isn’t an issue though, because if you are using kojic acid to lighten your skin you are probably naturally avoiding the sun already. 

Using Kojic Acid for Acne: Does it Work?

Can Kojic acid be used to treat acne?

The answer is yes, but probably not how you realize. 

It doesn’t actually treat the acne (pustules and pimples) but it DOES help to reduce what is known as post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation that can occur in those people who struggle with acne

You’ll know what I am talking about if you have acne because even after a pimple is gone you may see a purple or red mark where the pimple was and this mark can stay for MONTHS. 

This is known as post inflammatory hyper-pigmentation and THIS is the part of acne that kojic acid can help treat. 

Remember that hyper-pigmentation is the result of overproduction of melanin and in the case of acne this can be triggered from the acne itself. 

The use of topical kojic acid can help calm down the skin and even out skin tone and color. 

This is one of the reasons that many acne products do contain some kojic acid. 

But note that this is NOT a replacement for a standard 3 step skin care regimen if you have acne. 

You should still continue with regular use a cleanser, toner and moisturizer if you have acne but you can always add a kojic acid cream at the end of this regimen to help with the hyper-pigmentation if you wish as well. 

Kojic acid vs Hydroquinone

Kojic acid is NOT the only skin lightener in town!

In fact the “standard” skin lightener used among physicians and cosmetic dermatologists is a prescription known as hydroquinone. 

It turns out that hydroquinone works in a similar way to Kojic acid (it blocks the production of melanin) but it also takes it one step further by potentially destroying some of your melanocytes. 

This added effect makes hydroquinone a more powerful skin lightener when compared to kojic acid (but probably only slightly). 

More powerful is not necessarily a good thing, though!

One of the main issues with hydroquinone is that, even though it works, the benefits of hydroquinone tend to fade once you stop using it. 

So even if you start to notice a reduction in hyper-pigmentation when using hydroquinone you will have to continue using it indefinitely for the results to stay. 

It’s worth pointing out that kojic acid is NOT a permanent lightener either – but it definitely has a better safety profile when compared to hydroquinone and long term use of kojic acid is less worrisome than long term use of hydroquinone. 

Another potential downside is sometimes discontinuing hydroquinone can cause a rebound hyper-pigmentation and make pigmentation conditions even worse for a short period of time. 

Because of these issues many patients (and doctors) tend to prefer safer over the counter alternatives to hydroquinone. 

Kojic acid vs Arbutin

Arbutin is another (perhaps less well known) skin lightener that would fall into the “natural” category. 

But is Arbutin better than Kojic acid?

In terms of how effective they both are they are probably equal in that category, but what about stability?

Arbutin basically comes in two forms:

  • Alpha arbutin – This formulation of arbutin is stable and more superior when compared to beta arbutin but is often more expensive. 
  • Beta arbutin – This formulation is also stable but is not quite as effective as alpha arbutin. Cheaper and less effective products tend to have this formulation. 

Kojic acid comes in two forms as well:

  • Kojic acid – This formulation works well but it is not very stable and must be protected from things such as light and heat which can inactivate the kojic acid and render it less effective. You’ll know if your kojic acid is less effective by its color – a brown or caramel color may indicate a breakdown in the stability of the compound. 
  • Kojic acid dipalmitate – This form is more stable than regular kojic acid but it is not nearly as effective. I recommend avoiding products which contain this type of kojic acid as it usually indicates a cheaper and less effective alternative to kojic acid. 

Is one necessarily better than the other?

As long as you are purchasing high quality products then it really shouldn’t be an issue. 

But it may be worth considering arbutin if you are worried about stability because it tends to be more stable and less “fragile” to the environment than kojic acid. 

Some arbutin products, while more stable, may be more expensive as well which is another factor to consider. 

But you really can’t go wrong in choosing either if your goal is skin lightening because they both are effective. 

Final Thoughts

Kojic acid is one of many great and natural skin lighteners which can be used directly on the skin with impressive results. 

The type of kojic acid product that you use depends largely on what your main goal is. 

Those who are seeking to treat difficult hyper-pigmentation diseases will probably do better with more powerful and targeted kojic acid such as serums and gels. 

Kojic acid is generally well tolerated and most people who use it experience positive benefits without any negative side effects. 

If you decide to use kojic acid be prepared to use it for several weeks before you start noticing results!

Now I want to hear from you:

Have you used kojic acid before?

Did it work to help lighten your skin?

Why or why not?

Leave your comments below!