As much as many Filipinas have been embracing their morena skin nowadays, many Pinays still opt for a fair and light skin. Hence the continuous demand of skin whitening products with Kojic Acid in the Philippines. 

Kojic Acid has been a constant main ingredient of products useful for the whitening of skin. 

However, many still doubt the power of it. That is why an Entertainment/Lifestyle blog site PEP had the Q&A interview with Dr. Ella Cecilia Magsumbol, Clinic M.D. Manager of Flawless Face and Body Clinic in Pampanga. 

Here’s the dermatologist perceptions on the effectivity of the ingredient: 

Where does Kojic Acid come from? 

Kojic Acid, from its attached word “acid,” comes from citrus fruits. However, its power of skin lightening is made up of various types of fungi. It is also a byproduct of fermented Japanese sake, soy sauce, and rice wine. 

“Kojic Acid is a naturally occurring acid, which was first developed in 1989, it is produced from several species of fungi particularly aspergillus oryzae, grown on steamed rice,” says Dr. Magsumbol. 

According to her, the word “koji” means “steamed rice,” which is a famous agent for whitening and brightening skin. 

“Kojic Acid can be used as a lightening agent because it competes with and blocks an enzyme called ‘Tyrosinase’ that helps produce melanin (the pigment which colors our skin, eyes, and hair), thus inhibiting its production.” the doctor explained. 

Pros and Cons of Kojic Acid 

Certainly, the ingredient lightens and brightens skin, and also fights skin ageing. 

It is a great help to reduce hyperpigmentation and visible sun damage, dark spots, acne scars, and age spots. 

Dr. Magsumbol also said the ingredient has antimicrobial and antifungal properties. It could treat fungal infections like yeast infections, ringworm or athlete’s foot, and candidiasis if regularly used. 

She said that products infused with Kojic Acid, unlike retinoids and hydroquinone, are safe for pregnant women. 

“A study was done and [it] suggested that since the absorption of Kojic Acid into the skin is prolonged, there isn’t any chance of adverse effects on humans, as long as concentration is at one to two percent.”

However, using Kojic Acid as a main ingredient could have possible side effects such as hypersensitivity reaction in some cases. 


Especially for those who have sensitive skin, they must be mindful about the presence of Kojic Acid in their whitening products. 

“Signs and symptoms to watch out for may include a rash, itching, and dry patches of skin, especially [since] products with a higher concentration of Kojic Acid may be more likely to lead to irritation.”

If things like these happened, immediate washing off of skin is very important and then stop using the product. 

Always consult a dermatologist first

Kojic Acid may be proven effective as skin lightening and brightening, is it always right to consult a dermatologist first for safety precautions. 

“It is always best to consult a dermatologist to make sure using products containing Kojic Acid is safe and a dermatologist can provide recommendations on the frequency of use as well as the recommended concentration strength,” Dr. Magsumbol recommended. 

Human skin is a very delicate part of the body that varies from person to person. 

Always remember that a product that worked for a particular person may not work on another. Therefore, always be cautious about the products you apply on your skin. 


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