Alpha Arbutin & Kojic Acid Benefits for Skin

a woman holding a serum bottle

Alpha Arbutin & Kojic Acid

We will look at two components that even dermatologists have given so much importance to and the ones that do work effectively to answer your skin's concerns: Alpha-Arbutin and Kojic Acid. Both of them are complexion-brighteners and work well on your skin in their unique way.

What is hyperpigmentation?

Hyperpigmentation covers acne scars, sun spots, melasma, and uneven skin tone changes under its terminology. The condition occurs due to the overproduction of melanin, the pigment that determines the colour of the skin. Various reasons play a part in activating melanin production like acne, hormonal changes, sun damage, ageing, etc.

Alpha arbutin- the safe hydroquinone ingredient

Alpha-Arbutin is the component that promises to brighten your complexion without drying the skin. Ingredients like vitamin C and kojic acid might not reveal you to the hidden abilities of alpha arbutin that are very similar to hydroquinone.

Also considered a natural form of hydroquinone, the bleaching agent, Alpha Arbutin, is as effective as hydroquinone but without its side effects. 

This skin-brightening agent is effective in managing pigmented skin as it interferes with tyrosinase activity. The entry of alpha-arbutin in the league of kojic acid, vitamin C, and niacinamide itself says that it is quite powerful in its game. 

Why choose alpha-arbutin?

Alpha arbutin is quite effective in reducing the spots caused by sun exposure, pregnancy, etc. It is a good substitute for hydroquinone unaccompanied by the safety concerns linked with the latter. It is ideal in the sense that when your skin is left helpless by other toxic ingredients due to their harsh nature on your sensitive skin.

Alpha arbutin also has antioxidant properties that improve skin texture, making it a good choice in the anti-ageing skincare regime. 

Incorporating alpha-arbutin in your skincare regime

Many products like creams, lotions, and serums are available over-the-counter that help to lighten dark spots caused by sun exposure and brighten the complexion. This can also be combined with retinol into your existing skincare regime and can be used twice daily. Skin irritation is a visible side effect of alpha-arbutin along with redness, burning and stinging. You may need to reduce the number of times you use it to lessen the side effects caused by it. Be patient and let it work its wonders.

Alpha arbutin 2% + Hyaluronic acid 1% reduces dark spots and evens out the skin tone. The alpha arbutin serum readily absorbs into the skin and also helps to reduce tanning.  

Kojic acid: a natural skin brightener

A natural skin brightener is very well known to you and is popular for all the right reasons. Everyone wants to care gently, and kojic acid can do just that by lightly brightening the complexion. 

The hyperpigmentation skincare ingredient works by inhibiting tyrosinase, the enzyme which is responsible for melanin production. This inhibition stops melanin production and makes kojic acid a safe and effective skin brightener.

Kojic acid, used in skincare, is usually derived from fungi during fermentation. 

Kojic acid effectively penetrates through your skin layers and halts melanin production. This is why it is easily used in hyperpigmentation treatments. 

While hydroquinone is on the top of the list in the queue of skin-brighteners, kojic acid kicks it to the limit as it is comparatively less aggressive. But the naturally available acid is not entirely gentle as it is also likely to cause certain side effects like redness and swelling. 

Why choose kojic acid for hyperpigmentation?

The properties that make kojic acid a good option:  

  • Antioxidant
  • Antimicrobial 
  • Exfoliant 

If you have suffered from hyperpigmentation and have sensitive skin as well, perhaps you've tried hydroquinone or retinoids, and they haven't worked. In that case, kojic acid becomes your new option to try. This is because kojic acid is safe for most sensitive skin types, the ones that won't survive the rage of retinoids.

Kojic acid effectively fights any hyperpigmentation, including sun damage,  acne marks, melasma, common PIH, marks left behind by injuries, and even dark under-eye circles.

Incorporating kojic acid in your skincare regime  

Creams, serums, gels, exfoliating pads, and the like have incorporated kojic acid efficiency in 1-4% concentrations.

Be it acne or melasma, dark spots from everything your skin has suffered can be brightened by adding kojic acid to your skincare regime. You may add it as a brightening pad, a serum, or even a face mask.

You can use kojic acid once or twice a day, although the application is determined by the concentration and other ingredients in your product.  

Although referred to as acid, it is naturally found and is useful for reducing discolouration like age spots, sun spots, PIH- the marks breakouts left behind. Although gentle, your skin may not react that well to it, so, do a patch test first always. The risks of reactions & irritations are always there.

You can use the kojic acid serum once or twice a day, although the application is dependent on the concentration and other ingredients present in your product.  

Kojic acid or alpha arbutin?  

The kojic acid breaks down more easily and is prone to oxidize, which means that the acid is sensitive to air, heat, and light. The oxidation makes the ingredient less effective as time flies, which makes it very difficult to store. A cool and dark area is proven to be a good home for kojic acid allowing it to be effective for a longer period.

When looking for a more effective option in the lightening and whitening skincare regime, kojic acid is an obvious choice over alpha arbutin. As even the lower concentrations of acids that are available over the counter have proven to be effective. Both of them are:

  • Naturally found
  • Reduce melanin production.
  • Available over the counter.

But, alpha arbutin is easy to store, and kojic acid is comparatively more effective than alpha arbutin. 

Take Away

Alpha Arbutin has comparatively lower risks than many other whitening ingredients, including kojic acid, making it more effective for dark spots and melanin overproduction.

Kojic acid is more effective than alpha-arbutin, but it is hard to store.

So, alpha arbutin and kojic acid both prove to be effective in lightening the dark spots that your skin has become used to.