Among known medications those which inhibit melanin production are used to treat pigmentation. Unlike chemicals such as hydroquinone, kojic acid is a natural substance formed from fermenting rice. The fungi where kojic acid is yielded from is called koji. Kojic acid is considered to be a safe alternative to chemical skin whitening treatments, but is it really safe? Some researches claim that kojic acid may cause cancer in large amounts. It is also used to preserve the freshness and color of foods. In humans, it is used to treat skin disorders such as melasma.
Kojic acid is unstable when added to cosmetic formulations, once it has been exposed to the sun or air, it turns to brown and its efficiency is lost. The stability problem of kojic acid made companies use kojic diplamate. But this is not as effective as genuine kojic acid. Its pigmentation inhibiting property qualified it to be used as a skin bleaching treatment. No doubt that it is effective, but health concerns are also a question. Kojic acid is effective in reducing brown spots, freckles and acne scarring. It is also used for pregnancy marks, toning uneven skin, and curing abnormal pigmentation of the skin. It also eliminates free radicals and it keeps the cells healthy. There are many products that contain kojic acid, creams, gels, soaps and serums.
Kojic acid is also used in Japanese cuisine, and you might think it is indeed safe to use on the skin. However, it has side effects. One disadvantage of it is that it makes skin very sensitive from frequent use. One may even contract allergic contact dermatitis. Walking under the sun would be advised against for a kojic acid user because skin becomes susceptible to damage brought by sunlight. There are also some complaints about it that it can cause dark circles under the eyes. Obtaining medical advicep is very important before using any owerful skin treatment products. Kojic acid maybe safer than hydroquinone, but still it poses some risks. If any problems are met with using kojic acid products, abstaining from using it is recommended.