If you suffer from hyperpigmentation, then kojic acid is an ingredient that you definitely need to know about.
Because of the way in which it is able to inhibit melanin production. Melanin is the pigment that gives your skin its color, and hyperpigmentation is caused when your skin produces excess melanin, leading to it clustering up under certain parts of your skin, resulting in darker patches. By inhibiting melanin production, kojic acid is able to lighten up these dark spots and even out skin tone.
If all of that was not enough, kojic acid also has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which can help to protect your skin from infections.
Wondering where kojic acid actually comes from?
It is produced by different types of fungi, and is also a by-product of rice wine and fermented soy sauce.
When it comes to choosing a product that contains kojic acid…
You will usually find kojic acid in concentrations of between one and four percent. As always, it is best to start with a lower concentration, and work your way up once you are sure that your skin is able to tolerate the ingredient. If you know that your skin is already usually susceptible to irritation, opt for a low percentage.
Now on to its side effects…
These are few, but you still need to be aware of them. Since melanin is what your skin produces in order to protect itself from the sun’s UV rays, inhibiting this melanin production removes this natural protection, making your skin more vulnerable to UV damage. For this reason, make sure that you are extra vigilant about sun protection when using kojic acid.
Another side effect, especially for those who have sensitive skin, is contact dermatitis, which can manifest as a rash, dryness or itching. If you notice these side effects, stop using kojic acid for a while, and then move on to a much lower concentration.