What’s the Best Kojic Acid Cream? Our Top 6 Picks

On the hunt for the best kojic acid cream? Join the club. This natural skin lightener has been around for well over a century and its popularity shows no signs of slowing down.

And it's no surprise why: this stuff works. It performs its skin lightening magic similar to hydroquinone, by penetrating the outer layers of the skin to inhibit the tyrosinase enzymes from producing melanin. The result, of course, is lighter skin.

The best part is that, unlike hydroquinone, kojic acid is an all natural skin lightener, derived from a fungus that's the by-product of sake. So you get the skin lightening benefits in a gentle, all natural way, yet it may work a bit more effectively than some homemade lightening remedies.

And that's not all - kojic acid isn't just a wonder-worker at lightening skin, it's also a potent antioxidant that helps combat oxidative damage and protect your skin cells from premature aging, i.e. wrinkles. On top of all this, kojic acid also makes a potent antibacterial agent and it’s dermatologist recommended for fighting off bacteria-caused acne and blemishes.

Even better is the fact that there are oh so many ways to get the benefits of kojic acid. There are kojic acid serums, kojic acid soaps and even over the counter chemical peels that contain kojic acid. But one of the best ways to use this multi-tasking natural skin lightener is a kojic acid cream, of course.

That way, you get hours of skin-transforming benefits as opposed to just 10 minutes in the shower or a quick, 5-minute peel.

So, without further ado, here's a list of what to pick as your next kojic acid cream!

Amaira Natural Lightening Serum with Mulberry and Orchid Extract

Amaira Natural Lightening Serum with Mulberry and Orchid Extract, $42

This advanced, scientifically-proven formula combines the superpowers of several plant extracts to produce a real game-changer on the lightening cream market. We’ve been impressed with both the visible skin lightening it produced and how they turned out long-lasting!

After several weeks of consistent use according to the usage instructions, the serum visibly faded dark spots on the face. We also tested it in the armpit area and it worked like no other product before. What’s most impressive though, is that even now, months after the last application, the tone hasn’t gotten back to the darker shade.

The best part is that this serum works wonders on skin texture in general. You go to it for its lightening properties and hope it won’t cause too much damage to your skin before you can feel the effects. You are in for a surprise! This may as well be one of our favorite face creams. It makes the skin soft and supple and brings out a natural glow!

Needless to say, the Amaira Lightening Serum is made without any type of harsh chemicals. It’s Hydroquinone-free and paraben-free. It’s super gentle on the skin and leaves you with a nice feel. It agreed well with my problematic, sensitive skin.   

The serum addresses hyperpigmentation by working into the deeper layers of the skin to inhibit the secretion of tyrosinase - the enzyme responsible for the production of the skin pigment. Its great success though comes from the winning plant-based formula.

First off, it contains kojic acid for all its aforementioned benefits. But that’s not even the beginning of it. In addition, it has mulberry leaf and root bark extracts, famed for their anti-aging properties. Full of antioxidants, they effectively fight free radicals and restore the fibrillin in the skin, visibly reducing fine lines and preventing wrinkles.

That’s not all! The product also packs a very special Asian orchid extract, which prevents skin damage. The rich content of different minerals and natural moisturizing agents results in visible radiance and glow. It even contains an extract from the Dendrobium Phalaenopsis Flower, a famous Chinese medicine skin moisturizing staple.

Finally, it also contains glycolic acid, which helps to minimize ingrown hairs when the serum is used in sensitive skin areas that often get waxed, such as the genital areas.

To sum it all up, this well-picked, mind-blowing plant combination doesn’t just sound good in theory. It worked in practice and we highly recommend you to try it.

Sweetsation BioRadiance Botanical Brightening Treatment

best kojic acid cream

Bioradiance Botanical Brightening Treatment, $33

If you're looking for not just a kojic acid cream but an organic skin lightening cream that contains kojic acid (as well as a heap of other natural skin lighteners), look no further than this BioRadiance Botanical Brightening Treatment.

It contains a potent combination of kojic acid and alpha arbutin to inhibit melanin production as well as 12% mandelic acid, which is an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) that gently and effectively exfoliates your skin so the skin lighteners can penetrate deeper and so you can see results faster.

We also love the way this creamy treatment feels on the skin – it’s lightweight, absorbs like a dream and you can rest assured that it won’t cause reactions or breakouts as it’s non-comedogenic and free of nasties like artificial fragrances.

As for skin lightening results: it goes above and beyond brightening and will even out your complexion and make your skin glow. But it does only have 1% Kojic Acid and Alpha Arbutin so it is not going to lighten your skin by that many shades.

But thanks to the Mandelic Acid, it really does help speed up skin cell turnover and bring about results faster. And given its lightweight texture, we'd recommend using this as a daytime skin lightening cream - it layers well under makeup and sunscreen - and using a more concentrated skin lightening serum at night time.

Sweetsation LumiEssence Advanced Brightening Treatment

organic skin lightening products

LumiEssence Advanced Brightening Repair, $34

The LumiEssence Advanced Brightening Treatment is also by Sweetsation. And to be honest, you really can't go wrong with any of their brightening treatments.

Whereas the above BioRadiance Botanical Treatment is fantastic if your skin can handle AHAs, this Advanced Brightening Treatment is perfect for those with more sensitive skin that's in dire need of lightning and healing.

Like their other treatment, this one also contains a great mix of organic and natural skin lighteners like Alpha Arbutin, Organic Kojic Acid, Lemon Essential Oil, and Niacinamide. But it is much gentler, using natural exfoliators like Papaya and Pineapple Fruit Extract.

And it's not just the gentler ingredients - where this treatment really excels is in repairing and brightening your skin. If you have skin that's damaged from too much sun exposure, acne, scarring, or any previous carefree misadventures - this brightening treatment is for you.

It's seriously chockfull of skincare goodness. A quick look: Tamanu Oil and Seabuckthorn Oil, both of which have skin regenerating properties, Silk Protein Amino Acid, Organic Goji Berry Fruit Extract, Organic Rosehip Oil and so, so much more good stuff for your skin.

Like the above treatment, though, this cream doesn't contain a huge concentration of skin lighteners so our final verdict is that this lotion won't make your skin several shades lighter but it is a wonder-worker for brightening your overall complexion and getting rid of pesky dark spots.

PCA Skin Pigment Gel

best kojic acid products

PCA Pigment Gel, $57

Serums are a particular favorite of ours. Why? Simple because they’re made of very small molecules, allowing your skin to absorb the active ingredients quickly and deeply.

They’re also cost-effective since you only need a small amount to cover your whole face, meaning that a small bottle will last you months.

And you’ll want to use this serum for months and months once you see the wonderful things it does to your skin. For starters, it lightens and brightens with Kojic Acid and Azelaic Acid - both highly effective natural skin lightening ingredients that work without risky side effects. It even speeds the skin cell turnover process with a gentle exfoliant - Lactic Acid.

The only downside is that this serum can be a bit drying, especially for everyday use, but it is seriously effective and it's nothing a little moisturizer can't fix!

Rococo Skin Lightening Cream

best kojic acid cream

Rococo Skin Lightening Cream, $15

There are a lot of creams, lotions and potions containing kojic acid. The things is - when you're looking for effectiveness, concentration matters. The general rule of thumb is: the ingredients listed first are the ones used in the greatest amounts.

So the closer Kojic Acid is listed to the front of the ingredients, the more potent the cream.

Rococo's Skin Lightening Cream is one of the only kojic acid creams out there where Kojic Acid is listed in the first three ingredients. And that's not the only thing we love about it; this cream is also packing Alpha Arbutin, Bearberry Extract and Licorice Root Extract - all potent natural skin lighteners - in high enough doses to really make a difference.

It also goes on nice and creamy and absorbs quickly into the skin, making it easy to layer sunscreen and makeup on top.

Oh, and despite the potency, do give it time. Remember that your skin took years to build up its present tan and dark spots and that it'll also take some time to lighten up. Natural skin lighteners can take weeks - even months, depending on your skin type - to show results so be patient and consistent about applying!

Skin Beauty Solutions Skin Lightening Cream

best kojic acid cream

Skin Lightening Cream, $20

Okay, no more mucking around. If you're looking for a professional strength kojic acid cream - this is it. It may not be much to look at, but it is a straight-up, no fuss lightening lotion that contains the highest concentration of Kojic Acid you'll find on the market.

How much, exactly? This lightening cream is packing 4% Kojic Acid, as well as 2% Alpha Arbutin, another natural skin lightener, as well as 5% Ascorbic Acid, aka Vitamin C which is crucial to repair damage to skin cells.

It's perfect to use at nighttime for deep skin lightening benefits, alongside a lighter kojic acid cream, or a homemade lightening cream, for the daytime. Just keep in mind that although kojic acid is all natural, it is a potent ingredient and can cause dryness and irritation, especially at higher concentrations.

So if you've never used a kojic acid product before, build up to it. Try any of the creams or serums above - they're at concentration of up to 1% - before you go for this heavy hitting kojic acid cream.

A final note: It's crucial to use sunscreen during any skin lightening process - and kojic acid is no exception. By interfering with melanin production, it can also make your skin more sensitive to the sun's rays so always make sure you slather on a high SPF sunscreen!