Kojic acid is a mushroom by-product and is produced during the fermentation process of malted rice in sake production. Though the compound is a regular component of the Japanese diet, it was first cultivated for use in skin care in 1989. When used on the skin, kojic acid inhibits melanin production, the pigment that gives us our unique skin color, lightens skin tone and attacks pigmentation problems. While skin-lightening products such as glycolic acid and hydroquinone are widely available at retail stores, kojic acid soaps are primarily supplied by specialty skin care retailers or online sites. Before you choose a line of kojic acid soaps, you should take precautionary steps.
Confer with a dermatologist before you invest in kojic acid soap. He might recommend a certain skin care line, and, depending on your skin type and allergenic tendencies, he might suggest you use it on a trial basis. Though kojic acid dipalmitate--the compound used in kojic acid soaps--has fewer health risks than hydroquinone, which has been linked to dermatological conditions and cancer, it can cause sensitivity and contact dermatitis.
Research kojic acid soap manufacturers on the Internet. Read product ingredients and reviews before you buy. SkinWhitening.org reviews skin lightening products produced by a wide range of manufacturers including Meloderm, Ambi, Shiseido and Clinique. The website recommends that you consider whether lightening outweighs potential side effects. Skin lightening creams, as a rule, can cause ochronosis. In this condition, melanin pigment located near the skin's surface goes down into deeper skin layers and becomes nearly impossible to take out. Use of skin lightening soaps can also result in acne, pimples and rashes, which may not clear up without a dermatologist's intervention.
Read consumer and professional product ratings. Also, during your research, note how long the manufacturer has been in business. One of the oldest papaya kojic acid soap manufacturers, Diana Stalder, produces the Dermaline skin care line. Their soaps have fewer artificial ingredients, and the line has skin lightening soaps in graduated concentrations. In addition, if kojic acid soap is too strong, they have alternative lightening soaps suck as Black Soap and Pink Licorice Soap. Meladerm, a kojic acid based-line endorsed by the American Academy of Dermatology, claims that their products can provide observable color changes in as little as two weeks.
Verify the company's return policy. Once you purchase the product, use it per the manufacturer's directions. That means, leave the soap on your face no longer than three minutes. Kojic acid soaps tend to dry out and tighten the skin--follow up with a moisturizer. And, because the product inhibits melanine production, always wear a high SPF sunscreen when you're using the product. If you have an allergic reaction, make sure you understand the company's policies on refunds and liability. Before they accept products back, some companies, like Dermaline, may suggest a milder lightening soap.