Is Kojic Acid Safe for Your Skin?

Kojic acid is a chemical derived from mushrooms, and can also be created during the sake brewing process from fermented rice. Because of its ability to really penetrate the layers of your skin and stop the production of melanin, kojic acid is usually sought out as a spot-fading treatment and is often considered a less-aggressive answer to hydroquinone. You can also buy real kojic acid soap via

Is It Safe?

Despite its “acid” moniker, kojic acid is safe to use, though we wouldn’t recommend any of the products designed to completely lighten your complexion as your overall skin tone shouldn’t be tampered with; it will eventually shift back to its natural state once you discontinue use, and doing so with excess amounts of the ingredient can cause some serious irritation. 

Instead, you should use kojic acid-infused products to fade discoloration that wasn’t originally on your skin, like age spots, sun spots, or those obnoxious post-breakout marks.

Who Should Use Kojic Acid-Infused Products?

Those who have a tendency to get hyperpigmentation, whether caused by the sun, signs of aging, or post-breakout effects, can benefit from the ingredient. However, if your complexion is on the more sensitive side, incorporate it in small doses starting with your nighttime treatments.

Slight inflammation and sensitivity are to be expected in the beginning, just as you would with retinol or hydroquinone; but if you continue to experience irritation, you may want to seek out a product with a lower concentration, or a milder alternative altogether.