Ingredient Highlight: Kojic Acid

Richard Block

Oct 21, 2021 · 3 min read

Anti-aging mavens: here’s something to look into.

Kojic acid is useful in reducing dark spots on the skin. As an ingredient in soaps, creams, serums, cleansers, and powders, it is used to decrease discoloration from scars, sun damage, and other causes. It is a natural chemical produced by mushrooms and is also a by-product of fermented soy sauce and rice wine.

Kojic acid acts as a mild block to pigment formation. It works on tissues from both animals and plants. It was isolated in 1907, and today it is used for many purposes. It is used to help food color stay stable, for example; it is also used in cosmetics, to even out a user’s skin color. It’s used in serums, gels, soaps, and creams by people who want clearer, more consistent skin tone, and many experts are sold on its benefits.

How Does Kojic Acid Work?

Once absorbed into the skin, kojic acid works by stopping a chemical reaction that produces melanin, which causes the skin to get darker. According to

Melanin is a naturally occurring pigment in the body that gives the eyes, hair, and skin their color. An amino acid called tyrosine is needed to support the production of melanin. Kojic acid works by blocking tyrosine from forming, which then prevents melanin production. Decreased melanin production may have a lightening effect on the skin.

In addition, kojic acid is a good anti-aging ingredient because it may counteract the effects of pollution and sun exposure, Dr. Rachel Nazarian, a dermatologist, told

Is Kojic Acid Safe?

In 2010, researchers from Cosmetic Ingredient Review, the Cleveland Clinic, and other institutions published a study in the International Journal of Toxicology on kojic acid safety. They found that the ingredient is safe to use in skin-care products at concentrations up to 1%.

In 2012, the European Commission’s Scientific Commission on Consumer Safety also stated that in its opinion, kojic acid was safe at 1% concentrations.

Kojic acid can make skin more sensitive to sunlight, though, according to, so users should take care to protect their skin from sun exposure.

What’s The Trend?

Interest in kojic acid appears to be increasing over time. According to a five-year analysis by Google, searches for it rose abruptly in the late spring and early summer of 2020 and have stayed relatively consistent since then.

So if you are considering placing a cream with anti-aging, color-evening properties on the market, kojic acid could be worth looking into, and its relatively stable popularity suggests that demand will be consistent.

Interested in creating a kojic-acid-based product? Goldn helps Cosmetic Creators like you find the right Solution Providers and Vendors, and guides you from idea to finished product. Click here to learn more.

Written by

Richard Block

Richard Block is an editorial jack-of-all-trades at Goldn

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