I have a confession to make: I used to think that kojic acid was just another fancy name for azelaic acid.
Turns out, they’re actually two very different things!
I won’t pretend that I know all of the details about this topic (I don’t), but here are some reasons why it may be worth considering kojic acid over azelaic acid when it comes to clear skin.
Is Kojic Acid Better Than Azelaic Acid?
If you’ve been searching for a natural way to lighten your skin, kojic acid may be just the thing.
It’s an antioxidant and an exfoliant that can help brighten the appearance of your skin.
Kojic acid is a byproduct of malting rice.
When rice is processed into sugar, a brownish paste called koji (or koji-kin) forms on top of the fermentation process.
Kojic acid has been used in Japan for centuries as part of traditional skincare routines, but it wasn’t until recently that it became popular in Western culture as well.
Kojic acid works by inhibiting tyrosinase activity—a key enzyme involved in melanin production—and thereby reducing pigmentation over time.
This means that when you use products containing kojic acid regularly over time, they can help lighten your complexion by preventing excess melanin from building up under your surface layers of skin cells where it might otherwise cause discoloration or unevenness (which we know can make us look old).
How Kojic Acid and Azelaic Acid Are Similar
- Both azelaic acid and kojic acid are natural ingredients that have been used for hundreds of years to treat acne.
- Both have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help eliminate the bacteria that cause acne, reducing inflammation and redness in the process.
- Both have antifungal properties, which means they’re effective against yeast infections, too. Kojic acid also has exfoliating properties, so it’s great at removing dead skin cells from your skin’s surface while leaving behind smoother, healthier skin cells underneath—which is why you’ll often see kojic acid in moisturizers as well as cleansers and masks.
How Kojic Acid and Azelaic Acid Differ
- Kojic acid is a byproduct of fermentation. Azelaic acid, on the other hand, is a synthetic compound.
- Kojic acid has a lower molecular weight and thus is more water-soluble than azelaic acid. Azelaic acid has a higher molecular weight and is therefore less soluble in water and oil-based products.
- Kojic acid is more stable than azelaic acid because it has an extra carbon atom which helps stabilize it against oxidation reactions that can result in discoloration or decomposition of your product over time.
Why Kojic Acid Might Be Better Than Azelaic Acid for Your Skin Type
Azelaic acid is a more potent ingredient than Kojic Acid, but that doesn’t mean it’s better for you.
It may be the case that Kojic Acid will work just as well (if not better) than Azelaic Acid on your skin type.
Kojic acid is gentler on the skin and less irritating than azelaic acid; this means that if you have sensitive skin or have had adverse reactions to products containing azelaic acid in the past, kojic acid could be a great alternative for you.
Kojic acid has been proven to be effective at treating acne—in fact, it’s even more effective than azelaic acid when used topically!
So, is kojic acid better than azelaic acid?
The answer is both yes and no. It all depends on your skin type, but in general, kojic acid may be better for those with sensitive skin who are looking for a gentler approach to acne treatment.