Kojic Acid is a mild inhibitor of the melanin formation. It is derived from the Japanese common name Koji, a kind of fungi in Japan. It is a product of the fermentation of malt rice for sake, the Japanese rice wine. Moreover, it is used to for skin brightening in cosmetics.
While hydroquinone functions by inhibiting the tyrosinase’s activity, this acid whitens the skin by suppressing the activity of the tyrosinase. It does skin whitening safely and it is known globally for its efficient brightening .
Because Kojic acid is a very sensitive agent, it is only used in few applications . Even in cosmetology, it is an unstable ingredient . It is very sensitive that slight contact to air and sunlight would make the acid lose its use , and it would change its color to brown. It is best preserved in glass sealed vials .
What is good about this is that, it does not pose any health problem . According to the Scientific Committee on Commercial Products or SCCP, it does not cause cancer. In other words, it is not carcinogenic and genotoxic. It does not even pose problems or affect the human reproductive system. There may be some health threats but they are limited to 1% concentration level.
If the Kojic acid has a good side, it has a bad side also. While testing the effects of this acid, it was [spin]found that skin exposed to the acid regularly appears to be more sensitive than the skin which does not come into contact with this lightening component . An increase on the skin sensitivity is somehow bad because it can lead to allergic contact dermatitis.
Aside from its use in cosmetology, it is used also in other areas such as in:
• Medicine – it is use as an important component in antibiotic: antiphlogistic production, anodyne and cephamycin.
• Food Additive- It is used in color preservation of foods like meat. It serves as an antioxidant and antiseptic.
• Color-stabilizer of Cut-flowers- it is added to cut flowers to preserve and maintain the flower’s color and freshness.
• Pesticide- it is a pollution-free ingredient of some pesticides and insecticides.
Kojic acid application on skin care comes into the forms of whitening cream, lotions, and soap. Studies about the other uses of this are still on-going.