women showcasing their knees without skin brightening ingredients that will minimize dark spots

This Secret Skin Brightening Ingredient Will Help Get Rid of Dark Spots

July 2021 | 5 Minute Read 

Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly content series, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

Many of you may not have heard of kojic acid. Here in North America, it’s not as popular as glycolic acid or salicylic acid, but it’s quite a popular skin brightening ingredient in Asia. I first discovered the ingredient after an employee of mine would always ask her family members from the Philippines to bring kojic acid soap to Canada whenever they visited. Since the soaps were created with very high levels of kojic acid the soap would become mushy after some time. Being the curious product developer that I am, I learned why kojic acid was a well-loved ingredient in Asia and how I could use it in my formulas. So, if you’re someone who has dark spot pigmentation on the body or on your armpits, then I’m going to tell you how kojic acid will help even out your skin tone. 

What is Kojic Acid and How Does it Work?

symbol of kojic acid the secret skin brightening ingredient that will minimize those dark spots

Kojic acid is a natural chemical produced from different types of fungi and is also a derivative of fermented soy sauce and rice wine. It helps prevent dark spot formation because it blocks the tyrosine, the amino acid responsible for developing melanin.  

It also has anti-inflammatory properties and acts as antioxidant. It can help protect your skin from free radicals from pollution or the sun. It even contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. So, if you’re using a product like my kojic acid body bar on your underarms it can help kill the odor-causing bacteria.  

Is Kojic Acid Safe For My Skin?

Kojic acid is completely safe for all skin types at low levels and is a well-loved ingredient from dermatologists. It’s important to know that kojic acid only works to brighten dark spot pigmentation caused by trauma, acne scars, sun spots, bug bites, or scratches. It does not change the color of your skin it only helps even out skin tone from dark spots and restores the skin to its natural color. 

Only when you’re using a product with high levels of kojic acid does it become an irritant and can even cause a burning sensation or rash. Dermatologists suggest a concentration of no more than 1% or less or else it can cause severe irritation and can sometimes increase the hyperpigmentation. Make sure to look for where in the ingredient list kojic acid is placed. If it’s placed in the mid to lower part of the of ingredient list then you know the product contains low levels.

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What Type Of Formulation Is Best?

a serum that is the secret skin brightening :Ingredient that will minimize dark spots

Kojic acid comes in many forms. It can be included in serums, creams, soaps, and cleansers. The soap formulation is convenient and is the most easiest to use for body pigmentation issues. That’s why I created a kojic acid body bar. You just use the soap in the shower leave it on for 30 seconds on your underarms or up to four minutes on dark spots on the body   

What You Should Know About the Different Types of Kojic Acids:

All kojic acids are not the same in the ingredient list of cosmetics. Look for kojic acid dipalmitate (KAD) on your ingredient list rather than kojic acid. Kojic dipalmitate is a derivative of kojic acid.  It is considered to be superior to kojic acid in its brightening ability and is more stable than kojic acid in cosmetic formulations. Kojic acid can actually oxidize and turn brown in creams or serums which is why kojic acid dipalmitate is the better version. That is why I used the kojic dipalmitate when creating the kojic acid body bar.  

How Does It Take To Lighten Dark Spots When Using a Kojic Acid Soap?

Look for a soap with other actives that are known to treat dark spot pigmentation. The actives combined work together to increase the efficacy of brightening the pigmentation. The kojic acid body bar I created is also made with licorice root extract. Licorice root extract is anti-inflammatory and will also help brightens the skin. It contains an active compound that helps disperse and remove existing melanin in the skin. 

You can use the kojic acid body bar to minimize dark spot pigmentation on your body while you’re in the shower. Moisten the bar and apply the lather to affected areas with a soft and gentle cloth or silicone exfoliating brush (fingers can be used if exfoliating has occurred more than twice a week). The bar may can be used on dark spot pigmentation on arms, elbows, knees, inner thighs and buttocks for effective management of pigmentation in these regions

If you want to reduce dark spots left behind from acne scarring on the back or chest, you should use a gentle brush and massage on the back and chest for 30 seconds and allow the actives to penetrate the region before rinsing off. 

The Secret Skin Brightening Ingredient That Will Minimize Dark Spots3
woman using the kojic acid body bar to lighten dark armpits

It can also be used to help brighten dark underarms. If using in the underarm region, lather for 30 seconds to allow the actives to penetrate the area before rinsing off. You can follow up with the niacinamde deodorant I created to speed up the brightening process.  

It’s important to remember that how fast these products work depend on how dark your pigmentation is, how long you’ve had it and whether you are addressing what is causing the inflammation on your underarms. With some patience and with steady and consistent treatment your dark spots will get lighter before you know it. . 

Most dermatologists will recommend kojic acid as it has shown excellent results as a skin brightener. When used at a safe levels it is highly effective and is non-irritating. Since the bar is formulated with low levels of kojic acid expect to start seeing results in six weeks as it is designed to avoid burning or irritation. Of course, the bar has been dermatologist tested and is a safe and effective use of kojic acid in helping to minimize the pigmentation 

Don’t forget each week on my blog The Little Book of Human Discomforts I share clever solutions for seemingly embarrassing skin, body, and hair issues. Consider subscribing below to be the first to know when new content is live!    

I also share lots of body and skincare tips on Instagram @kaianaturals and on my TikTok page @madamesweat.



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All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 

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