Though you might enjoy mushrooms sliced onto a pizza or tossed in a salad, they do your body even more good when incorporated into your beauty routine. It turns out these humble fungi are mega-multitaskers when it comes to improving your skin. We touched base with board-certified dermatologist and LovelySkin CEO Dr. Joel Schlessinger to get his take on why mushroom ingredients are seeing a rise in popularity as of late:
“Mushrooms and their health benefits have been sought out across the world for centuries. In terms of skin care, their rise in popularity most likely revolves around the increasing importance of antioxidants and essential vitamins. Using a product containing mushroom extracts can be an easy way to obtain many of these ingredients all at once.”
How do mushrooms benefit skin?
- They’re a super source of vitamin D, which helps lessen free radical damage that contributes to fine lines and wrinkles.
- They contain niacin, a form of vitamin B3 that repairs skin damage and improves acne.
- They are chock full of antioxidants, which protect your skin from environmental damage.
- They support the skin’s natural moisture barrier, improving overall hydration.
- They have anti-inflammatory properties that calm irritation caused by acne, eczema or rosacea.
There are a whopping 10,000 varieties of mushrooms existing today, many boasting their own unique beautifying powers. Here’s the lowdown on five popular mushroom varieties and some top products you can find them in.
Shiitakes contain kojic acid, an ingredient with skin-lightening properties that helps block the enzyme that produces melanin. If you have sensitive skin that has been irritated by hydroquinone in the past, shiitakes are an excellent natural alternative. They also contain L-ergothioneine, an antioxidant that aids in exfoliating the skin and preventing cell breakdown.
Product to try: Dermalogica Active Clearing AGE Bright Clearing Serum
This brightening face treatment combines white shitake mushrooms, salicylic acid and niacinamide to lessen sun spots and hyperpigmentation by brightening skin. Promote a more even skin tone while addressing signs of aging at the same time.
Snow mushrooms, or Tremella fuciformis, are all-star hydrators thanks to an enzyme that helps the skin retain moisture. If you’re looking for a natural alternative to chemical hydrators such as hyaluronic acid, snow mushroom is a great choice; some experts have even argued that it moisturizes better than hyaluronic acid because its smaller-sized particles are more easily able to penetrate the skin. Snow mushrooms are also packed with amino acids that spur cell growth, making it an excellent healing agent for acne wounds.
Product to try: Bioelements Sensitive Eye Smoother
This smoothing eye cream features Rhodiola rosea root extract, aloe and linseed that all work alongside snow mushroom to moisturize while combatting puffiness and dark circles. Use morning and night, gently patting a small amount onto the under-eye area with your fingers.
Chaga mushrooms contain superoxide dismutase, an enzyme that boosts the skin’s elasticity. Thanks to its intense concentration of antioxidants, chaga does a terrific job reducing redness and soothing inflamed skin.
Product to try: GLAMGLOW Moisturetrip Omega Rich Moisturizer
This healing, hydrating cream benefits those struggling with skin irritations. Other beneficial ingredients include hyaluronic acid and hemp seed oil, which moisturize without clogging pores.
Reishi mushrooms contain beta-glucans, a polysaccharide known to reduce redness and itching. They also act as a natural detoxifier by drawing impurities out of your pores to help create a clear complexion. Like other varieties mentioned above, antioxidant-packed reishi also help to defend against the free radicals that cause signs of aging, such as wrinkles and fine lines.
Product to try: Eminence Organics Snow Mushroom & Reishi Masque
This organic, clay-based face mask can be used once or twice weekly to detoxify, depuff and rehydrate. In addition to reishi mushrooms, this mask also features snow mushroom to help hydrate and enhance the skin’s elasticity and barrier function. Other beneficial ingredients include birch water to purify, caffeine to depuff the under-eye area and paracress extract to tighten and firm.
Also called lingzhi, this mushroom boasts antioxidant compounds that protect against damage by eradicating free radicals. When used in a hair product, those compounds go to work to lessen free radicals that can weaken hair fibers.
Product to try: Surface Theory Firm Styling Spray
This firm-hold spray contains lingchi mushroom fibers along with cornstarch and sugar to give your hairstyle a strong yet flexible hold. This styling spray dries quickly, adding shine and frizz protection to any style.
What ingredient should we shine the spotlight on next? Join the discussion by commenting below, and let us know what beauty questions you’d like Dr. Schlessinger and the LovelySkin experts to answer in our next blog!