Topical Agents Used in the Management of Hyperpigmentation

R. M. Halder, MD; G. M. Richards, MD


Skin Therapy Letter. 2004;9(6) 

In This Article

Kojic Acid

Kojic acid (5-hydroxy-2-(hydroxy methyl)-4-pyrone), a naturally occurring hydrophilic fungal derivative evolved from certain species of Acetobacter, Aspergillus and Penicillium, is used in the treatment of hyperpigmentation disorders.[11] It acts by inhibiting the production of free tyrosinase with efficacy similar to hydroquinone. In Japan, kojic acid has been increasingly used in skin care products. This is because, until recently, topically applied kojic acid at 1% concentration had not exhibited any sensitizing activity.[12] However, more recent long-term Japanese studies have shown that kojic acid has the potential for causing contact dermatitis and erythema.[12]


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