Kojic acid in the treatment of skin pigmentation

Skin pigmentation can take a number of forms and the causes are varied. Sometimes the pigmentation is minor and in an inconspicuous area, however if the pigmentation is substantially darker than the surrounding skin and in a highly visible area such as the face or hands, it can leave the sufferer feeling very self-conscious and in want of a remedy.

One of the remedies that we’re finding increasingly popular is kojic acid. Kojic acid is produced by certain types of fungi and even turns up in fermented food products such as rice wine and soy sauce.

How does kojic acid work?

Kojic acid works by inhibiting the production of a pigmenting agent produced naturally in the body called melanin.  Melanin is what gives our skin, hair and eyes their colour. In order to work melanine needs the support of an amino acid called tyrosine, and it’s the production of tyrosine, more precisely, that kojic acid inhibits and blocks.

Kojic acid has been found to be effective in the treatment of many kinds of skin pigmentation including:

Age spots – age spots are the result of excess production of melanin in the skin. The jury is out on what causes age spot, but as the name implies, it may have to do with hormonal changes as the body ages. Many years of exposure to the sun may also play a part in the formation of these large brown-ish patches commonly found on the hands, arms and face.

Melasma – melasma is a darkening of the skin due to hormonal changes most often associated with pregnancy. Sometimes melasma disappears after the birth of the baby, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Scar tissue – certain types of injuries can result in scarring that darkens or discolours the skin.

Side effects of kojic acid

While kojic acid is generally considered safe for general use, some users may be more prone to sunburn, as it’s melanine that protects the skin from the most damaging affects of the sun.

Some dermatologists also warn of a slight increase in the risk of developing contact dermatitis, however the incidence of this is not common.

National Custom Compounding can make up compounds of Kojic acid with a script from your doctor. For more information on kojic acid contact one of the friendly team.