Tag Archives: Kojic Acid

Try These Ingredients To Brighten Skin

Why would anyone want “bright skin?” As a civilization, we are obsessed with reversing the effects of time, especially with regard to our skin. As we age, the skin that we were born with becomes darker, due to exposure to the sun and light. Although we may never hope to return our skin to the state from whence it came, there is promise of returning it to a healthier, simpler state, before the evil sun did its damage.

Woman with bright glowing skin

Skin brighteners defend skin against post- inflammatory hyper pigmentation, or any type of inflammation on the skin, specifically, blemishes from acne. Dr. Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD and senior vice president of The Skin Cancer Foundation says,” When the acne resolves, sometimes the skin stains, which is causing too much pigment to be released. That’s a common issue where a skin brightener may help. In addition, skin brighteners help target age spots and brown spots, which are caused by ultraviolet rays.”

The Ingredients
Although most brighteners contain similar ingredients, they may work entirely differently depending on the formula. Here are some ingredients found in most skin brighteners and what they do.

Hydroquinone
While it may be 50 years old, “prescription hydroquinine is still the gold standard in bleaching,” according to Pearl Grimes, professor of dermatology at UCLA . The drug works to fade spots and block enzymes used to create new ones, and can lighten skin blotches in about four to six weeks when used in combination with a nonprescription retinal or retinoid.

Azelaic Acid
If your skin tends toward redness, this ingredient is for you. Often used as a treatment for rosacea prone skin, it “only targets melanin, so it doesn’t lighten healthy skin,” says Jeannette Graf, assistant professor of dermatology at the Mount Sinai school of Medicine.

Woman with glowing skin
Melazyme
This enzyme has come a long way from its original purpose of whitening paper. Melazyme is the only ingredient capable of dissolving melanin on the surface of the skin. (Other enzymes impede the melanin production, blocking pigments from the surface of the skin.) The mushroom derived ingredient usually works within four weeks, as compared with the one or two months it takes for most brighteners to take effect.

Kojic Acid
Kojic acid is a white powder used often used in Japan as a natural treatment for reduction of skin discoloration. Studies by the American Academy of Dermatologists have shown its clinical ability to fight hyperpigmention by limiting the tyrosinase, the protein which produces melanin. Kojic acid is also an antioxidant, suitable for sensate skin.

Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutus is one of the most effective skin lightening ingredients available and has been proven to work on all skin types. The chemical properties inhibit tyrosinase from producing melanin, which is responsible for creation of pigment and outperforms all other bleaching agents. Alpha arbutus is found in a powder form and is pure and water soluble.

Beta Arbutin
Often referred to simply as Arbutin, beta arbutin, or bearberry extract lightens skin by inhibiting activity of tyrosinase. It is no as strong as its alpha counterpart, but has been used to treat skin pigmentation and brighten skin.

What do you know about brighter skin? Do you have any secrets to share? We love to hear them!

INGREDIENT SPOTLIGHT: Kojic Acid

Young lady with pigmented skin Kojic Acid is a relatively new ingredient in the cosmetics and skin care industry. In fact, it was literally unheard off when skin lightening products were quite new in the markets. Today, Kojic Acid has become a household name and is commonly used in cosmetic and skin care products because it is not known to have any major side effects like many other chemicals. Kojic Acid is a natural compound that has been derived from fungi. This makes Kojic Acid completely natural and not something that was created by scientists and dermatologists.

Kojic Acid was discovered in the year 1989 and is known to have a similar effect as Hydroquinone. Studies conducted on the effectiveness of Kojic Acid have shown it to be a lightening agent as it helps to inhibit the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of the skin. Kojic Acid is also known to be extremely effective in skin care products dealing with age spots and hyperpigmentation.

According to a study conducted by Baumann, Kojic Acid was associated with contact allergy and it was classified with high sensitizing potential. Therefore, it was only used in concentrations of about 1%. Reports then spring up about sensitization to the 1% product as well. This was finally cleared by the studies conducted by Bordock that proved Kojic Acid to be safe when consumed as a food additive or used with a topical ointment. The study showed that Kojic Acid was sensitizing only if it was injected into the skin.

However, like all other skin brighteners, Kojic Acid will end up making your skin more sensitive to the sun because it stops your skin from producing melanin, the natural sun barrier for your skin. Therefore, you need to make sure that you always use a sunscreen with SPF 30 on a daily basis when using products with Kojic Acid.

Now that you know what Kojic Acid is, would you like to know how it works? Here are some of the ways in which Kojoc acid works on your skin.

Inhibit the production of melanin – Kojic Acid inhibits the production of melanin, the pigment responsible for the color of the skin. This makes it an extremely effective skin lightening agent and also makes it a wonderful ingredient for those suffering from hyper-pigmentation and age spots. Kojic Acid can also give the body an overall lighter appearance when used with topical treatments. Kojic Acid counters the antioxidant properties of the tyrosinase enzyme. This leads to a reduction in the production of melanin and ultimately ends up lightening your skin tone.

Longer Shelf Life – Kojic Acid has a very long shelf life because it resists spoilage and oxidation. Therefore, it always makes sense to buy a skin lightening product that contains Kojic Acid.

Freckles – Melanocytes are the melanin producing cells in the skin. These cells get damaged over time because of exposure to the sun. As a result of the damage, excessive melanin is fed into the dermis. This leads to brownish spots known as freckles. Kojic Acid helps to counter freckles by countering the melanin and whitening the skin.