It was found that kojic acid, which is used in cosmetics for its excellent whitening effect, inhibits catecholase activity of tyrosinase in a non-classical manner. A decrease in the initial velocity to a steady-state inhibited velocity can be observed over a few minutes. This time-dependence, which is unaltered by prior incubation of the enzyme with the inhibitor, is consistent with a first-order transition. The kinetic data obtained correspond to those for a postulated mechanism that involves the rapid formation of an enzyme inhibitor complex that subsequently undergoes a relatively slow reversible reaction. Kinetic parameters characterizing this type of inhibition were evaluated by means of nonlinear regression of product accumulation curves.