Without a doubt, the two most popular skin lightening products are hydroquinone and kojic acid. In fact, they’re so popular some people have the idea that combining them would be a better way to go. But are these hydroquinone kojic acid combinations a good idea or not?
First, here’s a brief summary of each ingredient:
Hydroquinone: This is a skin lightening ingredient that has been in use for decades. It’s known to be extremely powerful and the resulting changes in pigmentation are often permanent to at least some degree.
Kojic Acid: This was discovered over two decades ago by the Japanese. It comes from the natural fermentation of rice and/or mushrooms. It’s known for offering gradual, yet fairly quick results. Usually if its use is discontinued the skin will return to its normal pigmentation.
What are the pros and cons of kojic acid and hydroquinone when used individually?
Kojic Acid Pros:
• It is generally considered to be safe for most people when used as directed
• It is available over-the-counter
• It is known to offer more uniform, consistent results
• The results can often be reversed by discontinuing use
• It’s available in a wide variety of formulations, from kojic acid cream to kojic acid soap
Kojic Acid Cons:
• Although most people don’t encounter any side effects when used as directed, some people suffer from skin irritation (such as dermatitis). There is evidence that suggests this may be permanent, but very few people encounter this and even then it’s usually with long term users.
• It’s an extremely potent skin lightener
• In the United States, concentrations of 2% and below are available without a prescription
• It has been linked to causing cancer in high dosage studies on rodents
• Results can sometimes be patchy and on some people it just makes the pigmentation look albino, rather than simply lighter
• If overused and you don’t like the results, it might not be possible to reverse
• Can cause skin irritation problems
Are combinations of hydroquinone kojic acid a good idea?
As of now, it doesn’t look like it. Each of these are extremely potent, and when combined, they may be dangerous – side effects might be a lot worse than using them separately. And being that they’re both effective by themselves, combining hydroquinone and kojic acid should not be done unless your dermatologist says it’s okay.