Kojic Acid for Dark Underarms- How to Use Correctly & Risks

Kojic Acid for Dark Underarms- How to Use Correctly & Risks
Kojic Acid for Dark Underarms- How to Use Correctly & Risks

One of the most under-appreciated treatments for hyperpigmentation is Kojic Acid, especially for dark underarms.

This is a dermatologist-approved ingredient that works well on the skin with or without other skin-lightening ingredients.

Did you know that Kojic acid is produced from the fermentation of certain Asian foods like soy sauce and rice wine?

Will Kojic Acid Lighten Dark Underarms

Yes, Kojic Acid indirectly inhibits the production of melanin (skin pigment). This will make the skin lighter over time. 

Kojic acid works by inhibiting the activation of tyrosinase.

Tyrosinase is an enzyme that is essential in the production of melanin. However, no activation of tyrosinase means no melanin production in new cells. The old, pigmented cells are gradually replaced with less-pigmented cells as the skin regenerates.

Over time, the area of your skin will fade in color to resemble your regular skin tone. 

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Will kojic acid permanently lighten my dark underarms?

The effects of kojic acid are temporary but can last a while depending on your skin. 

Kojic acid only inhibits melanin production for as long as it is present in the skin. When you stop using it and it is no longer in your skin, it will stop affecting the production of skin pigment. If you never use it again, you will see your underarm darkness gradually coming back. 

However, if the cause of your underarm darkness is chronic or due to a lifestyle habit, then the darkness will return much faster. If the cause is controlled, the effects of kojic acid will last longer. 

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How long will kojic acid take to lighten my dark underarms?

Kojic acid will start to work in days but it may take a few weeks for you to see obvious changes in your skin tone. 

However, this will also depend on how dark your skin is, how your skin reacts to the treatment, and the concentration of kojic acid you are using. 

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Other Benefits of Kojic Acid For Underarms (And Skin In General)

Apart from fading hyperpigmentation (skin darkness), Kojic Acid has a few other benefits for the skin:

1- It acts as an antioxidant

Free radicals form when the skin is exposed to stressors like pollution and UV rays. However, kojic acid can help locate and fight these free radicals. This makes it an effective anti-aging substance in general.

Related Article – 5 Best Soaps to Lighten Dark Underarms, Necks & Thighs

2- It is antibacterial and antifungal

Even at low concentrations, kojic acid may aid in the defense against several common bacterial strains. This can assist in treating acne brought on by skin-related germs. Even some antifungal treatments have it added to boost potency.

It could help treat skin fungal diseases such as athlete’s foot, ringworm, and candidiasis. For instance, regular use of soap containing kojic acid may aid in preventing bacterial and fungal skin infections.

For some great deodorants to help lighten dark underarms you can check out our articles:

Dove Even Tone Deodorant Review- Does It Work & Is It Safe

How to use Kojic Acid For Dark Underarms

Kojic Acid can be used on your skin as often as necessary. However, it needs to be used in a concentration and formulation that is right for your skin. 

Formulation of Kojic Acid

Kojic acid is available in the following formulations:

  • Powders
  • Creams
  • Serums
  • Face Masks
  • Soaps

Any of these formulations will effectively lighten your dark underarms and/or other areas of your skin. 

Kojic Acid Soaps are one easiest and most affordable methods to help lighten dark underarms click here to learn more about Kojic Acid Soaps.

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Kojic Acid Creams & Serums

Creams and serums are more gentle than powders and are created with other hydrating and soothing ingredients. Many of them can be used once or twice daily.

Pay attention to your product’s instructions and your skin. Your skin’s reaction will tell you if you need to use it less frequently than specified. 

For a good kojic acid cream I recommend the Nasola, click here to see the price of it on Amazon.

For a kojic acid serum I recommend Monet, Click here to see the price for the MonétBeauty Kojic Acid Serum on Amazon. 

Kojic Acid Soap

Soaps with kojic acid are designed to be used every time you shower. They are usually very sudsy and spread easily on your skin.

However, do not let your soap dry onto your skin as this can cause too much dryness. Use it like a regular soap in the area that you need. Again, pay attention to your skin’s reaction. If using it once or twice daily is making your skin too dry or irritated, you can lessen how often you use it. 

You can click here to get a Kojic Acid Soap on Amazon.

Kojic Acid Powder

Most powders are mixed with water, hydrating skin lotions or serums. Containers usually have specific instructions included on the labels about how to mix it for specific concentrations and how often to apply it.

Follow your product’s directions and pay attention to your skin. 

You can Click here to get the Bos Essentials Kojic Acid Powder on Amazon. 

Kojic Acid Face Masks

Face masks are a one-time treatment done every few days or weeks. They are applied on clean skin much like regular face masks.

However, some of them contain a stronger concentration of the acid. Depending on your skin’s reaction and the results, you will determine how often you should be using them. 

You can Click here to check out the Doll Face Kojic Acid Mask on Amazon.

What Concentration of Kojic Acid you can use on Armpits

Kojic Acid is available and approved for use in concentrations up to 4%. 

However, to avoid irritation and side effects, especially if you are new to using it, most experts suggest starting with low concentrations (1-2%). 

No matter how experienced you are, you should not use more than 4% kojic acid on your skin. 

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How Often Can You Use Kojic Acid on Armpits

How often you can use kojic acid on your underarms will depend on the formulation, the concentration and your skin. I do recommend consulting a dermatologist or skin professional for advice if you are now starting out.

If you have severe hyperpigmentation (darkness) and you are using a low concentration, you may need to use it twice daily provided that your skin can tolerate it. 

If you are using a higher concentration, a formulation that is more readily absorbed into the skin, or both, you may only need to use it once daily. 

However, if your skin is very sensitive and you find that your skin reacts badly no matter what formula or concentration you use, you may need to space out your treatments and use kojic acid every few days. 

For many people, new skincare treatments are a case of trial and error. Regardless of the formulation you use, it is best to start with a low concentration and see how your skin reacts. You will also observe the results. Depending on the outcome, you can decide whether you can (or need to) increase your concentration and/or change your formula. 

Related Article – Retinol For Dark Underarms: How to Use, Benefits & Effects

Can I leave kojic acid on my underarms overnight?

If your skin can tolerate it, you can leave a kojic acid cream, serum or toner on your skin overnight. 

However, in some cases, if your skin becomes easily irritated, you may need to wash it off after a few minutes of absorption.

Related Article: How Often to Exfoliate or Scrub Underarms for Best Results

Possible Side Effects Of Kojic Acid For Underarms

Generally, kojic acid is well tolerated by the skin (even the sensitive underarms) but irritation and allergic reactions are still possible. 

The most anticipated side effects of kojic acid are:

  • Itching 
  • Dryness
  • Redness
  • Burning

However, these symptoms are less common with lower concentrations of the acid. 


1- Kojic acid: What you need to know

2- Kojic Acid for Skin: Everything You Need to Know, According to Dermatologists

3- Kojic Acid Is the Dermatologist-Loved Ingredient for Preventing Dark Spots

4- Can Kojic Acid Really Get Rid of Dark Spots? Here’s What You Need To Know

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