Kojic acid and vitamin C: How to use them together

kojic acid and vitamin c

Combining Kojic Acid and Vitamin C together in your skincare routine can unlock numerous benefits for your skin. This article explores how these two potent ingredients, when used together, can enhance each other’s effects, offering a comprehensive approach to skincare.

We’ll guide you through the best practices for integrating both Kojic Acid and Vitamin C into your routine, ensuring you get the most out of this powerful combination.

Table of Contents

Understanding Kojic Acid

Kojic Acid is derived from several types of fungi and is a byproduct of the fermentation process involved in the production of foods such as rice wine, soy sauce, and Japanese sake.

Despite its relatively recent introduction into the skincare realm, it’s been recognized for its skin-brightening and antioxidant properties.

Early research, like a 1999 study, has highlighted the effectiveness of Kojic Acid in lightening dark spots, especially when combined with glycolic acid and hydroquinone.

Recent studies, such as one from 2020, confirm its continued relevance in skincare, particularly for its safety and efficacy in treating hyperpigmentation and melasma, further solidifying Kojic Acid as a beneficial ingredient in skincare regimens.

The Role of Vitamin C in Skincare

Vitamin C is one of the most widely known ingredients in the skincare industry. It is known for its high antioxidant activity which enables it to reduce oxidative stress on the skin.

Vitamin C stimulates collagen production to promote skin firmness and has the ability to lighten dark spots. It is recommended alongside other treatments for hyperpigmentation. 

Vitamin C is generally less effective than Kojic acid, primarily because the Vitamin C molecule is unstable and tends to degrade upon exposure to air or light. This instability is the main reason why it is often formulated in serum form.

Is it safe to use Kojic acid and Vitamin C together?

It is possible to use kojic acid together with vitamin C on your skin, however, if you have sensitive skin it is advisable to layer them separately in your routine.

Kojic acid is a very strong active ingredient and although considered safe to use on the skin in low concentrations, it can cause allergic reactions on sensitive skin. Therefore, unless you have sensitive skin, you can use both ingredients.

Some products combine both active ingredients in their formulation. A comparative study on various melasma treatments revealed that a  Kojic acid (3%)+Vitamin C (2%) cream was effective at improving discolorations on the skin after a hydroquinone+Tretinoin and an azelaic acid cream. 

How to use kojic acid and vitamin C together

To incorporate both for optimal results it is better to layer them separately in your routine. Apply kojic acid in your morning routine after your cleanser and toner and before your oily serums and moisturizer. Go in with your vitamin C serum in the evening before your moisturizer.

Both exist as serums and creams and the choice of which format to go for is based on your preference. Products like the PHB Ethical Beauty Superfood serum combine both kojic acid and vitamin C to revive and brighten the skin. So, if you are wondering whether you can mix them together, yes, you can.

Benefits of kojic acid and vitamin C for the skin

Benefits of kojic acid

Benefits of Vitamin C

Potential Side effects of Kojic acid and Vitamin C

Kojic Acid

  • The potential risk that comes with the use of kojic acid is contact dermatitis or allergies that can cause skin irritation, redness, itchiness, skin inflammation, and pain. This is most likely to occur with sensitive skin types. 
  • Prolonged use of kojic acid may increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sun leading to sunburns.

Vitamin C

  • Although mostly considered safe, it can irritate very sensitive skin. Always do a patch test before use. 
  • Some forms of vitamin C are very unstable and breakdown in contact with sunlight or air rendering products less effective 

Related content:

The Benefits of Kojic Acid for Dark Lips

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Petra Nakashian (previously Kravos) is a dedicated blogger who has been writing about natural health and beauty since 2014. Her journey began with a focus on living healthily and naturally, leading her to explore the world of natural beauty products. Influenced by the loss of her parents to cancer, she has meticulously researched the ingredients in beauty products. Her in-depth research and 10 years of hands-on experience have established her as a trusted expert in the field. She shares evidence-based insights to help readers make informed choices. Petra is the founder of Be Healthy Now and Green Beauty Talk, making her a go-to expert in natural beauty. Committed to transparency and honesty, Petra's work is a reliable resource for anyone navigating the complex world of natural beauty.