At the top of the list for skin lightening products sits kojic acid soap. It’s by far the most popular method used to get a few shades lighter.
And it’s no surprise why – kojic acid soap provides an easy, effortless way to get lighter skin with each wash.
But what exactly is kojic acid and what can it do for your skin? Let’s find out…
What is Kojic Acid?
This all-natural skin lightening ingredient is a a by-product leftover from the fermentation process of making sake, the Japanese rice wine.
Thanks to its effectiveness, kojic acid has quickly made its way up the popularity ladder and is now the second most-common bleaching agent. It’s great at what it does – blocking the conversion of tyrosine to melanin and interfering with the uptake of oxygen required for enzymatic browning – and provides a natural, gentler alternative to synthetic skin lighteners like hydroquinone while being just as effective.
Kojic acid isn’t just good for skin bleaching, though – it’s also classified as an antioxidant and protects skin cells from oxidative damage and breakdown, ensuring healthier, more youthful skin. On top of all that, kojic acid also makes a potent antibacterial agent and it’s dermatologist-recommended for fighting off bacteria-caused acne and blemishes.
Choosing the Best Kojic Acid Soap
Thanks to all its skin benefits, kojic acid is a popular ingredient in skin lightening, anti-aging and blemish-fighting skin care products – but our favorite way to use kojic acid is in soap form. It provides a convenient, effective way of gradually lightening the skin on the body and is a bit drying, but great for lightening facial skin while keeping your pores bacteria-free. Read glowing reviews for using kojic acid soap on both the face and body.
If you’re on the hunt for the best kojic acid soap, keep in mind that kojic acid is an unstable ingredient. It oxidizes quickly and will turn brown if left exposed to air, heat, or light. Because of this, many cosmetic companies use kojic dipalmitate instead – which is more stable and has antioxidant properties but not as effective for skin lightening – and market it as kojic acid.
Below, you’ll find our top 3 picks for best kojic acid soaps – they all contain a high concentration of kojic acid and are the best on the market for skin lightening. If you decide to choose other kojic acid products – read the ingredients list and make sure kojic acid is on it and near the top.
How to Use Kojic Acid Soap
Our favorite way to use kojic acid soap is on the body – it makes for a brilliantly simple, yet effective, method of gradually lightening your overall body skin tone and all it takes is a few minutes in the shower. It’s gentle enough for daily use really effective, especially when combined with other natural skin-lightening soap ingredients like glutathione or papaya extract.
To use kojic acid soap on your body: Work it into a lather, rub all over your body and leave it on for three to five minutes. We highly recommend following your showers with a moisturizer – preferably a deep moisturizing oil like coconut oil or macadamia oil.
For the face, proceed with caution since kojic acid is an acid and can dry out your skin. It’s good for oily or combination skin but you should make sure to moisturize, preferably with a lightweight, nourishing, skin lightening oil. Regular use helps lighten your complexion day by day, prevent dark spots from forming, and keep your pores bacteria-free and your skin flawless and youthful.
To use kojic acid soap on your face: Start slow and wash your face with this soap only once a day at first. Begin by wetting your face, work the soap into a lather and leave it on your face for only 30 seconds. After a couple of days, you can see how your skin responds and then extend the time you leave the soap on your face.
At most, it should not be more than three to five minutes. You might be eager to see changes quickly, but don’t overdo it – rushing it will cause your skin to dry out and become irritated and you’ll have to stop using the soap before you start seeing results.
Best Kojic Acid Soap Review: Top 3 Picks
Marie France uses high concentrations of both kojic acid and papain (they’re listed second and third on the ingredients list), yet is also much more gentle than other, equally potent kojic acid soaps.
Much of this is due to the fact that all the other ingredients in this professional-strength soap have soothing properties: glycerin is a popular emollient that helps seal in hydration, Vitamin E is a deeply nourishing moisturizer and aloe vera is famous for its healing and soothing properties.
Those are the only 5 ingredients in this soap: Glycerin, Pure Kojic Acid, Papain, Vitamin E, and Aloe Vera – which is another reason we love this soap. It’s the bare essentials – no preservatives, no parabens, nothing but skin lightening or nourishing ingredients.
The way this soap works is two-fold: There’s a strong concentration of pure kojic acid, which is listed as the second ingredient (after glycerin) meaning it’s one of the main ingredients. The kojic acid works as a melanin inhibitor, blocking the tyrosinase enzymes on your epidermis to gradually lighten your skin. At the same time, papain acts as the skin exfoliator, getting rid of dead skin cells and prompting cell turnover so that your new, kojic-acid-influenced, lighter skin can come up to the surface faster.
Expect it to take around 8 to 12 weeks before you see full results. And don’t rush it – this is a high concentration soap. Do what they say and only leave it on your skin for 30 seconds to begin with.
This kojic acid soap is powerful – pure kojic acid is the first ingredient meaning it’s the main ingredient.
Its efficacy is furthered by sweet orange and vitamin C – both helpful for skin lightening. It does have some soothing ingredients like virgin coconut oil and glycerine, but it is more drying than Marie France’s soap.
Overall, we love this soap for the body. Even if you’re not using another lightening product for your body skin, this soap is highly effective in lightening your skin all by itself.
For the face, though – we’re a little reluctant. Not because it doesn’t work – this is probably the most potent kojic acid soap out there – but because it is both drying (you should not use this soap every day on your face, maybe once every other day) and also because it contains citrus oils and virgin coconut oil.
Citrus oils make your skin more sensitive to the sun, which is fine to use on your body since you’re mostly covered up throughout the day, but we’d be wary of using it regularly on your face since facial skin has no protection apart from sunscreen from UV rays. Also, virgin coconut oil is soothing but it’s also comedogenic and can clog pores, which is a concern if you have acne-prone skin.
We mostly recommend this soap for the body and occasional facial use – it’s highly potent and very affordable.
Shouvy’s awesome pink soap is relatively new to the market but it’s quickly shot up as one of the most popular kojic acid soaps. And it’s no wonder why – this little pink bar is pretty great.
Why? It whitens using a potent combination of glutatione and kojic acid that proves super effective in erasing spots and scars.
But our favorite thing about it is how moisturizing it is, which is no surprise considering most of its other ingredients are nourishing oils like almond and coconut oil.
Overall, this is the perfect kojic acid soap if you suffer from dry, easily irritated skin – this will allow you to get the skin lightening benefits without drying out your skin!
This is the first kojic acid soap we tried because there are so many rave reviews and we loved the combination of glutathione and kojic acid. And it does work – glutathione and kojic acid make for a brilliant combination – but it’s overall not as great as it could be.
First of all – it is quite harsh on the skin. The first – and thus, main – ingredient in this soap is sodium palmitate, which is the stuff that makes soap work up a good lather, but it can also be a skin irritant and cause dryness and cracking – not a good idea to use in combination with kojic acid.
Another thing we don’t love about this is that it contains very little kojic acid – it’s listed as the last ingredient. As for glutathione, it’s the third ingredient listed so it’s a little better.
Our overall verdict for this soap is: Sure, it works. But if you’re looking for GREAT results without drying or irritating your skin, go with the high-concentration kojic acid soaps above (Marie France or Kojie San) and rotate that with a high-concentration glutathione soap. That’s just our 2 cents. See the best glutathione soaps.