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 (by inhibiting the production of excess melanin by the skin), 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.

Moreover, Kojic Acid enriches skin texture and tone with antioxidants, and offers anti-fungal benefits, tackling issues like ringworm and athlete’s foot.

The Role of Vitamin C in Skincare 

Vitamin C, a cornerstone in skincare, is celebrated for its potent antioxidant properties, which help reduce skin oxidative stress. It boosts collagen production, enhancing skin firmness, and is effective in lightening dark spots, often used in treating hyperpigmentation. It can also reduce the appearance of under-eye circles and its anti-inflammatory properties can help to soothe the skin and reduce signs of redness.

However, Vitamin C is generally less potent than Kojic acid due to its molecular instability, which leads to degradation when exposed to air or light. This susceptibility is why it’s commonly formulated in serums.

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

It’s safe to combine Kojic acid with Vitamin C in skincare, especially if you don’t have sensitive skin. For those with sensitive skin, applying them separately in your routine is advisable.

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 together.

In fact, some skincare products already combine these two ingredients. For instance, a study showed a cream with 3% Kojic acid and 2% Vitamin C cream effectively improved skin discolorations compared to other treatments.

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.

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 natural health and beauty blogger, driven by the loss of her parents to cancer, which led her to meticulously research beauty product ingredients. With over 10 years of experience, her in-depth knowledge has made her a trusted expert in the field. Founder of Be Healthy Now and Green Beauty Talk, Petra recently expanded her expertise with Beauty Insights Hub, exploring a wider range of beauty treatments. Committed to transparency and honesty, her work is a vital resource for navigating the complex world of beauty.