Although the market for skin whitening products is growing exponentially, their effectiveness has always been questioned. While some have never received satisfactory results, others have experienced side effects owing to the ingredients used.

Hydroquinone, a skin whitening agent present in some of such products, can also reduce dark spots, acne scars, and other impurities in the face. However, it is the primary cause of ochronosis. Prolonged use of skin care products containing hydroquinone can cause blue-black pigmentation on the face.

Today, the scenario is a bit different. The majority are switching to a skin whitening lotion or cream that comes with all-natural compounds.

Two of such compounds found in today’s skin whitening products include:

  • Kojic acid

Kojic acid is gradually becoming one of the key ingredients in a skin whitening lotion and other products. Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel and Scientific Committees on Consumer Products (SCCP) have mentioned that kojic acid is safe for the skin if the concentration is 1% or less.

Various other dermatologists from organizations like the Linder Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center and Modern Dermatology have also praised the safety of this acid in skin whitening.

How does it work?

Kojic acid inhibits the production of tyrosine, an amino acid which further produces melanin. Melanin causes the skin to darken. Dark-skinned individuals exhibit high melanin levels.  

What can it treat?

A skin whitening lotion with kojic acid is beneficial in the following cases:

  • Melasma – Most prevalent in pregnant women, melasma causes discolored skin patches.
  • Psoriasis – Psoriasis leads to red, dry, and itchy patches of skin all over the body that can induce a burning sensation and also bleeding.
  • Hyperpigmentation – Hyperpigmentation is a skin disorder that causes particular areas of the skin to darken.

Let’s check out the history of kojic acid

Kojic acid is found in several fungi and is also a byproduct of malting rice fermentation. The acid was first discovered by Dr. Saito back in 1907. He found the acid present in the fungus Aspergillus oryzae, growing on steamed rice.

The name “kojic acid” was given by Dr. Yabuta in 1912 who also found this acid among other fungi like Aspergillus nidulans, Aspergillus candidus, and Aspergillus wenti.  

  • Glutathione

Glutathione is a naturally found antioxidant in the majority of living organisms. It is made up of the amino acids glutamate, glycine, and cysteine.

Women after menopause have shown lower levels of glutathione. Also, some cases have shown that glutathione levels go down with age.

Thus, glutathione supplements can lead to skin whitening and also restrict skin ageing.  

How does it work?

Similar to kojic acid, glutathione also inhibits the production of melanin for whitening the skin.

What can it treat?

Glutathione supplements can treat various skin conditions like acne, pimples, scars and marks, dark spots, and others. It may also treat viral skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, melasma, and others.

Other than these two, skin whitening lotions or creams can come with ingredients like TA Stem Cell, Argan Oil, placental protein, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and others.