Where does kojic acid come from in products used to support the skin, as discussed on The Dr. Oz Show last week?
C. Jojoba oil
A. Cactus - 9%
B. Rice - 35%
C. Jojoba oil - 7%
D. Coconut - 47%
The Answer: Rice
Eva Scrivo, expert blogger for DailyGlow.com and Dr. Oz guest on 6/6/12: 3 Health Tests for Women, and recommended using a moisturizing cream that contains kojic acid to reduce the appearance of age spots on the face. Ms. Scrivo explained that kojic acid comes from fermented rice.
Kojic acid was stumbled upon when it was noticed that workers in Sake factories, where fermented rice is used to make the alcohol, have smooth hands free from age spots. Scientists learned how to extract kojic acid from rice and put it into skin creams marketed for fading problem areas.
Ms. Scrivo said it takes 3-4 weeks to start to see smoothing and lightening of the skin from daily use of a moisturizer containing kojic acid.
Searching online, I found a warning from TotalBeautyAnswers.com about the possible harmful effects of using kojic acid.
“Kojic acid: This is a harsh irritant that can cause a number of adverse effects, including inflammation, soreness, redness, and itchiness. Over time, skin may also become more sensitive. Using products containing kojic acid in conjunction with ones that contain salicylic acid, alpha hydroxy acid, or retinol can increase the potential for and severity of adverse reactions.”
If that warning scares you off, no worries, a homemade rice water facial was featured on a previous episode of The Dr. Oz Show, 4/20/12: 5 Tibetan Rites.
Shalini Wadhera, author of Passport to Beauty: Secrets and Tips from Around the World for Becoming a Global Goddess recommended using rice water to lighten the skin on the hands and face. Korean women wash their rice before cooking to remove starch and that's why Korean women typically don't have brown or age spots on their hands.
Rice Water Facial
Wash 1 cup of rice in 2 cups of water and strain the rice. Dip a washcloth in the rice water and gently wash the face, don't rinse it off.
Ms. Wadhera recommended using the Rice Water Facial once a week and in a month the brown or age spots should start fading.
Cactus, Jojoba, and Coconut
These three may be used in some skin care products, especially jojoba and coconut oils, but none of them are known for providing a skin lightening effect. Both jojoba and coconut oils are extremely moisturizing to both the face and body.
Jojoba oil is close to the skin's natural oils so the body absorbs it quite efficiently. Many skin care, hair care, and body lotion products feature jojoba oil. It can also be used straight as a body or facial moisturizer. Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil and you can create a customized moisturizer.
Coconut oil can be used on the face though it's pretty heavy. Mixing it with a lighter oil, like jojoba, would give it a more creamy consistency.
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Photo Credit: Ambro