I want to use kojic acid soap in my beauty regimen because I read an article about people who worked in rice factories. They noticed that all their co-workers had beautiful hands and arms. They realized this was because of the kojic acid produced during fermentation when malted rice is used to make Japanese rice wine (or Sake).
I read this story a few years back, and ever since then, I’ve been researching kojic acid products that would be suitable for my skin.
Kojic acid is a natural antioxidant, which means it’s great at preventing free radical damage in your skin. It’s also a great skin-lightening agent that’s used in cosmetics and skincare products to help prevent hyperpigmentation or dark spots on your skin.
The term “hyperpigmentation” refers to the overproduction of melanin—the pigment that affects hair, skin, and eye color. When you have too much melanin in one area of your body, it can make that area appear darker than normal. Kojic acid is an inhibitor of tyrosinase, an enzyme that helps produce melanin. So when kojic acid is applied to your skin regularly, it stops the production of melanin altogether! The result is a more even skin tone that has fewer dark spots. This effect is enhanced when used in conjunction with other ingredients that also inhibit melanogenesis, such as Alpha Arbutin, Licorice Root extract, and Glycolic Acid.
Kojic acid is often used in concentrations of 1% or less in skincare products. This is because higher concentrations can lead to contact dermatitis or irritation.
I’ve been using kojic acid soap for several years now, and I’m happy to report that it has made a significant difference in my skin tone and texture. The best part? This soap doesn’t change your natural skin color; it just helps reduce hyperpigmentation and prevent it from getting worse!
Finding a good kojic acid soap can take time because there are so many brands on the market. So I’ve compiled this list of my favorite options available today, to save you some hassle in your search!
1. Koji White Kojic Acid & Papaya Skin Brightening Soap
I have been using this soap for about one year now and I can honestly say that I’m impressed.
First of all, it comes in a pack of two small soaps that are orange. They’re not heavily scented at all, but maybe a faint papaya scent? They suds very easily, but don’t lather much—so if you’re looking for something that’s going to create a huge foam explosion in your shower, this isn’t going to be it. It doesn’t leave any residue behind on your skin either, which is nice.
As far as effects go… well, they take time! One bar lasts approximately 3 weeks when used twice daily (once in the morning and once at night). Don’t expect instant changes—give it at least 1-2 months before deciding whether or not it works for you. It definitely does brighten up some places: dark areas (like underarms) are lightened by two shades; darkness under my eyes faded; definitely helps reduce acne; etc. For the best results leave soap on your skin for 5 minutes before rinsing off.
I would recommend giving yourself minimal sun exposure while using this product (no more than 15 minutes), and make sure to wear good moisturizer afterwards—it can be drying if you’re not careful.
My only complaint with this product is that if you have sensitive skin like mine, it might sting the first few times you use it. The stinging sensation goes away after a few minutes though, so don’t worry!
But if you know that your skin is especially sensitive, it’s best to test a new product on a small area before using it all over.
2. Kojie San Skin Lightening Original Kojic Acid Soap
I’m a big fan of this soap. I’ve been using it for about 3 years now, and I have to say: it’s made a world of difference in my skin.
I’ve always had uneven skin tone—dark spots on my knees, elbows, toes, and privates (actually my whole body is a little bit darker than it used to be). I was worried that this soap would make me even darker or irritate my skin, but it actually made my skin tone look more even and brightened up my dark spots.
The first time I used it, I was expecting the bar to be bigger than it was. It smelled like oranges, which was pleasant but not overpowering. The soap sudsed up really well and left my skin feeling clean and smooth.
Please know that this soap is very drying, so I recommend using it two or three times a week, and following up with a good moisturizer or lotion. It can be used daily, but that will cause your skin to become dry and irritated.
Keep in mind that once you start using this product, the exfoliating properties of kojic acid will shed away your dead skin cells—so don’t be alarmed if your skin starts peeling like crazy! You can help speed up the peeling process by using an exfoliator.
I also follow up with an SPF 70 sunscreen lotion after washing my face with this soap. This is important because the soap can cause sun sensitivity if left unprotected by sunscreen.
The only thing to watch out for is that this soap will stain your sink area if you leave it too long (but if you’re careful about rinsing it off right away, there shouldn’t be any problems).
At 65 grams, one bar of Kojie San soap lasts me about 3 weeks—but if you cut it in half or into fours it will last longer!
3. Valitic Kojic Acid Dark Spot Remover Soap
I really like this soap! It’s a little smaller than I’m used to, but it feels great on my skin. The smell is subtle and citrusy, which I really like.
I also like that it has Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Vitamin E, Shea Butter, and Olive Oil—it makes me feel like my skin is getting all its nutrients while I’m washing my face.
After one month of use, I noticed that my skin tone and texture had improved—especially around the T-zone. Under-eye bags were also less prominent than before.
The soap is slippery which can be annoying because it makes it harder to hold onto while lathering up your body, but if you pair it with an exfoliating glove or microfiber scrub then you will get better results. It didn’t leave my body feeling itchy or oily either which is always nice!
You have to be consistent with using it though—you can’t just do it once or twice and expect results. It takes at least a month of regular use before you notice the full effects.
This product does have a couple of drawbacks: it melts quickly if you leave it sitting wet in your shower—so you should make sure that it’s completely dry before putting it away. And, secondarily, it doesn’t lather much (which is true for most Kojic soaps).
For a price tag of $14.99, this soap is definitely worth it because you’re getting two bars in one package!
4. Marie France Skin and Body Care Pure Kojic Acid Soap
First off, it’s nicely packaged and wrapped in plastic. It comes in a cute little box and it smells so good.
My friend’s grandmother was a geisha in Japan, and she told me that this soap smells just like the real thing. I’ve been using it for a few months now, and it has helped with my hyperpigmentation from surgery scars on my thighs, as well as tanned skin.
I recommend using an exfoliating Kessa exfoliating glove (which I already had) to rub the soap into your skin. This prevents you from damaging your skin by rubbing too hard with your hands alone and also ensures that all of the dead skin comes off with each application of the soap. It’s important to note that this soap will make your skin dry out if you don’t moisturize after using it.
This soap lathers extremely well, which makes it easy to use—you don’t need much at all to get your face squeaky clean. It works fast for new acne scars but really slow for older ones.
The soap itself melts very fast if overexposed to water (if you’re not careful), so make sure not to drop any water on top when you’re storing it in your bathroom. I usually cut my bar into 5 slices so that it lasts longer. You can store each slice in its own ziplock bag and put them all together in your bathroom cabinet or on your sink countertop.
The soap itched a bit the first few times I used it, but that went away after a while. It’s more expensive than other kojic soaps I’ve tried, but works well enough to justify that cost.
One drawback to the product is that sometimes the manufacturer seems to change their formula without notifying consumers. This has resulted in some batches of soap that are much weaker than others, and this can be frustrating.
5. Kojic Acid Soap by Dr. Alvin
I came across this soap while visiting the Philippines. A friend of mine swears by it, so I decided to try it out myself.
It’s definitely drying if used during wintertime, so make sure you moisturize afterward! It also takes time to work—I apply a Hyaluronic Acid serum and follow up with an SPF 70 sunscreen lotion every morning before work.
After about three weeks of using this soap regularly, I can see a big difference in my skin tone and texture—my dark spots and discoloration have faded significantly! It also feels softer than before, which makes me feel more confident about showing off my legs in public (and maybe even wearing shorts).
There are fake Dr. Alvin kojic acid soaps out there that look identical to the original one, but have no name molded on them—so be careful! The real one has “Dr. Alvin” stamped on its side. Be sure to buy from a reputable source!
When in doubt about a product, apply it to a small area of your skin before using it on large areas. Just rub some on your inner lower arm and leave it there for 24 hours—if you notice redness or irritation, stop using that product immediately!
Overall though, I’ve been pretty happy with this product and would recommend it to anyone looking for something new to try!
6. Brilliant Skin Essentials Micro-Exfoliating Kojic Acid Soap
I personally love this soap! It is made in the Philippines, and it comes in a pink packaging. The soap itself is dark orange, and it has a citrus scent.
The soap itself is foamy, which I love because I feel like that means it’s exfoliating well. You don’t want to leave it on your face for too long (like 5 minutes or more), though—it will sting if you do! I use this with an exfoliating towel to get faster results. I also applied a 2% Hydroquinone dark spot corrector as well with this soap—and it was amazing! My PIH went away after about two weeks of using the two products together.
What really impressed me about this product was how well it worked on my mother’s Melasma. She’s tried everything you can imagine: hydroquinone creams and peels, topical vitamin C serums… nothing was working until she started using this soap alongside a Konjac sponge. Now her melasma has faded significantly (and she only uses the soap once a day).
It takes about 2–3 weeks for the results to be noticeable, but longer if you don’t wear sunscreen every day or are exposed to too much sun. I recommend using SPF 30-50 sunscreen when going outside so that any further pigmentation on your face can be prevented.
My only complaint about this product is that it melts easily if exposed to too much water. If you don’t want to waste any soap while washing your face or body, make sure you store it in an air-tight container when not in use.
Other options to consider
I haven’t tried the Derma Co. or Bevi Kojic acid soaps yet, but I’ve heard great things about them. They’re almost impossible to find in stores or online because of their Asian origin.
UNI Kojic with Gluta is also a solid choice if you’re looking for something that’s not too pricey and will definitely give you the results you need.
I hope this review has been helpful to you. It can be difficult to find the right kojic acid soap, but these products are worth your time and effort!
When using kojic acid soap, it’s important to remember that the compound has relatively poor absorption rates below the surface of the skin. So if you’re looking for something that will help your skin look more radiant right away (or at least within a few days), this isn’t going to be right for you.
But if your primary concern is preventing hyperpigmentation and getting rid of those pesky age spots over time, this product may be just what you’re looking for. It’s also an effective antifungal agent—meaning that it can help in treating both bacterial and fungal infections.
The best way to apply kojic acid soap is at night, so you don’t have to worry about being outside in daylight for too long. When using it, remember that this is an exfoliating acid—so be sure to use plenty of emollients afterwards.