Mushrooms are great: they're delicious on pizza and salads...but what can they do for your skin? This month we're spotlighting surprising ingredients in skincare that can benefit your skin's overall look and feel. First up: fungus...for your face!
Mushrooms have been long used for food and medicine; however, there's now evidence they may help lighten dark spots and slow down skin's aging process. The magic ingredient? Kojic acid.
What is kojic acid?
Kojic acid can be extracted from mushrooms or through the fermentation process of Japanese rice wine (also known as sake). It's a naturally occurring crystal-like substance that's chock full of antibacterial and antifungal properties.
How is kojic acid used?
You'll find kojic acid as the active ingredient in many skin lightening creams, anti-aging lotions and rosacea treatments. It's a favorite in skin brightening formulas because it interrupts the production of melanin, the source of pigment in your skin. Because of this, kojic acid is a great agent to help even skin tone, fade dark spots and control melasma (also known as the "mask of pregnancy.")
Can kojic acid lighten melasma?
If you're suffering from facial dark spots during pregnancy, you're not the only one. Melasma affects many expectant mothers, since pregnancy hormones can rev melanin production into overdrive. Since many skin lighteners contain toxic ingredients like hydroquinone, pregnant and breastfeeding Mamas have to be extra cautious when choosing a facial brightener. That's why kojic acid -- a naturally occurring, gentle ingredient -- is a great alternative. At The Spoiled Mama, we harness kojic acid from the reishi mushroom, a popular ingredient in Chinese medicine. Along with other natural skin brighteners like licorice, our Lucid serum is a light-weight, toxin-free treatment for melasma.
Used as a spot treatment, Lucid targets hyperpigmentation in your skin and gently evens skin tone with regular use. Best of all? It's safe for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers!
Are there side effects to kojic acid?
Since kojic acid is a natural skin brightener, users should take the same precautions as they would with any skin whitening formula. First and foremost? Sun protection! Since skin brighteners can increase skin's sensitivity to sun, always use an SPF 30+ daily (as you should be doing anyway) and stay out of direct sun when possible. While uncommon, those with particularly sensitive skin, may experience skin irritation.