Kojic acid is a naturally-derived ingredient from mushroom. Its primary function in skincare is to lighten visible sun damage, age spots, or hyperpigmentation.
Kojic acid works by blocking an amino acid tyrosinase from forming. Tyrosinase is necessary in the production of melanin, a naturally occurring pigment in the body that gives the eyes, hair, and skin their color. Without tyrosinase, there is a decrease in the amount of melanin produced. This can lead to a lightning effect on the skin.
Products containing kojic acid may lighten the skin, which can improve the appearance of age spots and sun damage. The reduction of dark spots can have an anti-aging effect.
Kojic acid can help counteract skin-damaging free radicals caused by exposure to harsh UV light and pollution.
Kojic acid is also found to have antifungal benefits. It can be helpful in preventing and treating certain fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot and yeast infections.