What is it?
When it comes to beauty ingredients, not all of them have a particularly interesting backstory, but kojic acid is intriguing to say the least.
Want to know a little more science behind it?
Kojic acid is derived from mushrooms and can be created during the rice fermentation process – or, what's used to make sake and the process of making soy sauce. Like many other acids used in skincare, it has great benefits as an exfoliant, ideally suited to peeling back layers of dead skin to get to your more radiant self underneath.
Kojic acid is loved in beauty circles largely for its ability to fight pigmentation: sunspots age spots, and even some of the scarring left behind by pimples can be alleviated by the acid's ability to penetrate through layers of skin. It works by preventing the production of tyrosine, the amino acid responsible for producing melanin – so, in turn, it stops the appearance of colour that should be there.
How does it help your skin?
Kojic acid has antibacterial properties and antifungal properties, so it can help with everything from acne to the prevention and treatment of certain fungal infections, like ringworm, yeast infections, and candidiasis. Although this ingredient isn't generally used to fight the effects of ageing – there are certainly more efficient ingredients for dealing with fine lines and wrinkles – it's a good choice for anyone who has concerns about pigmentation that shows up as part of the ageing process.
Compared to other acids, it's quite gentle, but should still be used with caution if you have very sensitive skin. When you're using it to treat scarring, make sure that you keep the area as protected as it needs to be while it's still in a delicate state – especially as kojic acid can make it even more vulnerable to sunburn. This is a good time for those higher SPFs. Most importantly, remember that kojic acid should only be used to restore your natural skin tone: neither this ingredient nor any other should be used in an attempt to lighten your skin, which likely looks gorgeous just as it is
WHERE ITS FOUND: Mushroom, soy sauce, miso, sake and rice wine
BENEFITS: This skin brightener slows the enzyme that is responsible for producing melanin, which makes it really powerful in reducing hyperpigmentation, discolouration or scarring caused by acne.
SHOP PRODUCT: Active Brightening Facial Cream