If you have navigated your way through the mushroom frenzy that has recently taken the world by storm, you might be well aware that medicinal mushrooms can be a valuable ingredient in skincare products. Known for their hydrating, anti-aging, and skin-brightening properties, read on to learn why including mushrooms within your skincare regimen can be beneficial in the long run.
Mushrooms have the ability to prevent collagen degradation, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the skin's natural defenses against environmental stressors.
They can be used as extracts, powders, or infused oils in various skincare products.
Different medicinal mushroom species have special properties that contribute to their skin & beauty benefits.
While mushrooms used in skincare are considered safe, some people may experience irritation or allergic reactions to certain mushroom-derived ingredients.
Are mushrooms good for skincare?
Yes. While the use of mushrooms might seem like a recent trend, they have been used in Eastern medicine for ages. Mushrooms contain antioxidants, polysaccharides, and fatty acids that improve skin health in many ways. Hence, incorporating them into your skincare routine can be a beneficial way to improve your skin health. “For example, they can help hydrate the skin, boost collagen synthesis, reduce inflammation, and strengthen the skin's natural defenses against environmental stressors,” says Cameron Rokhsar, MD, a New York-based board-certified dermatologist.
A study published in the International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms found that certain fungal extracts exhibit significant protection against collagen degradation by inhibiting the enzyme responsible for collagen breakdown. Also, most extracts showed a significant photoprotective effect with a sun protection factor of up to 25. This means you can level up your skincare routine with additional protection against the sun during your time out on the beach and during the hot summer months.
"Inflammation is the root cause of most skin issues, which explains why mushrooms help your skin remain healthy"Dr. Rosmy Barrios, MD head of the anti-aging department, and a regenerative medicine specialist
The presence of antioxidants within mushrooms shields your skin from environmental damage and free radicals, which prevents premature aging and helps your skin stay young.
The use of mushrooms in skincare
Due to the numerous health benefits observed with the daily consumption of mushrooms, they are even used in the form of extracts, powders, or infused oils in various skincare products, such as creams, serums, and masks. These formulations aim to harness the beneficial properties of mushrooms to nourish and revitalize the skin.
“Incorporating mushrooms into skincare can help brighten dull skin, reduce the appearance of dark spots and sun damage, restore skin elasticity, increase moisture content, stimulate collagen synthesis, and have an overall anti-aging effect,” says Dr. Rokhsar.
Today, water-soluble mushroom extracts are actively used in cosmetics. The benefits depend on the type of mushroom being used and include the following properties:
Types of mushrooms used in beauty products
Here are common medicinal mushroom species that are used in modern beauty treatments:
Reishi mushroom, also called Ganoderma lucidum, is a type of mushroom that is popularly known for its potent anti-aging properties. This mushroom species contains a significant amount of antioxidants, which have been proven to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines on the skin. As a result, it has become a popular ingredient in various beauty and skincare products like face creams, serums, and lotions.
Chaga mushroom, scientifically known as Inonotus obliquus, has been used for centuries due to its high concentration of essential vitamins and minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. These nutrients help to shield the skin from environmental damage caused by harmful free radicals while simultaneously containing moisture to keep the skin healthy, supple, and glowing. Due to these benefits, chaga is commonly used in skincare products such as moisturizers, toners, and facial masks, to keep the skin hydrated and protected.
Cordyceps mushroom contains high levels of polysaccharides that also increase hydration within the skin cells while reducing dryness or tightness on the surface layer. It's commonly used in facial mists to provide an instant refreshing boost throughout the day.
Lion’s mane mushroom
has powerful anti-inflammatory effects that can help reduce puffiness around the eyes or redness on cheeks after prolonged exposure to cold weather conditions. It is ideal for those with sensitive skin types. Additionally, it helps promote cell turnover rate so that new cells can replace old ones more rapidly, giving you a more youthful complexion over time.
Maitake mushroom is a rich source of essential fatty acids, omega 3 & 6. These fatty acids provide deep nourishment that penetrates your pores, allowing them to stay moisturized even during the dry winter months when air humidity levels tend to drop drastically outside. This makes maitake a perfect inclusion in any night cream designed specifically to combat dehydrated complexions, keeping them plump all year long.
Shiitake mushroom is another antioxidant powerhouse that is full of beta carotene (vitamin A), vitamin B1/B2/B3, and vitamin K2, all of which are important elements required for maintaining a healthy-looking visage. Furthermore, shiitakes contain the selenium mineral, as well as the amino acid l-ergothioneine, both of which work together to prevent oxidative stress from occurring, helping to shield delicate facial tissue from UV radiation and other external agitators such as dust and pollution.
Tremella mushroom has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine as a beauty tonic due to its innate ability to promote collagen production, which helps to maintain skin elasticity and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It's often used in face masks and serums.
Using mushrooms on the skin: What are the side effects?
While mushrooms serve numerous skin health needs, it is important to be aware of potential side effects. Generally, mushrooms used in skincare are considered safe, but individual reactions can vary. Some people may experience irritation or allergic reactions to certain mushroom-derived ingredients.
"One of the most common reactions is a rash. Some people may also experience other skin irritations or inadvertent effects such as dryness, flakiness, and peeling of the skin that is not considered to be allergies"Dr. Rokhsar
In rare cases, people may experience severe allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing or breaking into hives. Nonetheless, if you plan on using a medicinal mushroom extract, be sure to monitor your skin for any unusual changes after application. If you notice any adverse reactions or if symptoms worsen over time, seek advice from a dermatologist.
Additionally, it's crucial to confirm that all ingredients in the product are safe for your skin type before making a purchase, especially when choosing natural remedies containing mushrooms.
Overall, mushrooms have proven their worth and revolutionized the beauty industry. They are here to stay.
- International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. Cosmetic and Skincare Benefits of Cultivated Mycelia from the Chinese Caterpillar Mushroom.
- Polymers (Basel). Recent Developments in Inonotus obliquus (Chaga mushroom).
- Phytotherapy research. Skin health promotion effects of natural beta-glucan derived from cereals and microorganisms: a review.
- International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. In Vitro Inhibition of Melanin Formation and Enhancement of Collagen Production by a Mushroom Sclerotial Water Extract from the Tiger Milk Mushroom.