Kojic Acid

Kojic acid, which is produced by fungi and other organic substances, is used in prescription lightening creams. Sometimes kojic acid is used as an alternative to hydroquinone. It works by inhibiting melanin production, which can reduce the visibility of brown spots and melasma. Kojic acid is sometimes included in compounded lightening creams along with hydroquinone and other ingredients to increase its effectiveness.

Lightening products with kojic acid can help with pigmentation problems such as:

Brown spots

Brown spots can come from sun damage and are common in patients who have had excessive sun exposure with repeated sun burn. Often called sun spots or age spots, they are all just changes in skin pigmentation from UV rays.

Acne Scars

After acne is healed it can sometimes leave scarring. Scars are usually too deep to treat with a simple cream and often require laser skin resurfacing to be improved. However, the hyperpigmentation that comes from acne can be improved with lightening creams that contain ingredients like kojic acid and hydroquinone. At our compounding pharmacy we are able to make specific combinations of lightening creams and higher strengths than may be available commercially.


Melasma is a condition with numerous possible causes including genetic predisposition and hormonal changes. It usually presents itself after sun exposure, which is why anyone with melasma is encouraged to be vigilant about sun protection. Kojic acid is an active ingredient in our specially formulated melasma mask, which is part of our melasma kit. These treatments help reduce the pigmentation change and provide a clearer complexion.