Mushrooms—whether you love them or hate them, you likely think of this fungi as a popular pizza topping or part of a creamy dish of chicken marsala. And while there are some seriously delicious recipes featuring mushrooms, we’re here to discuss them as a different type of ingredient—a skin care ingredient! Believe it or not, this ingredient can be beneficial in more places than just the kitchen, and we’re here to spill all the details. Below, we’re sharing why this popular skin care ingredient is being added to trendy skin care products and how it may help tackle some of your top skin care concerns.
AN OVERVIEW: MUSHROOMS IN SKIN CARE
You may not realize it, but mushrooms have gained quite a name for themselves in the skin care world. In fact, there may already be a product in your skin care routine that contains mushroom. A study from the Molecular Diversity Preservation International (MDPI) states that several types of mushrooms are incorporated in topical creams, lotions, ointments, serums, and facial preparations as cosmetic ingredients. A few types of mushrooms worth naming? Shiitake, reishi, and portobello are just three of the many popular mushrooms used in skin care, according to the MDPI. So why, exactly, are mushrooms becoming a popular ingredient in skin care products? The MDPI shares that numerous mushrooms and their extracts are either presently used or patented to be used as cosmetic products for their antioxidant, anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, skin whitening, and moisturizing effects. Below, we’re digging into four mushroom skin care benefits worth mentioning.
MUSHROOM SKIN CARE BENEFIT #1: ANTI-AGING
One of the most popular skin concerns, aging skin, is a fact of life. Of course, with the help of anti-aging moisturizers and serums, you can help reduce the appearance of the inevitable—and mushrooms may be able to help. How so? According to the MDPI, various substances extracted from mushrooms—including ceramides, lentinan, schizophyllan, omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids, carotenoids, and resveratrol—possess potent antioxidant properties, which are frequently used in an effort to address cosmetic concerns such as fine lines, wrinkles, uneven tone, and texture. Shiitake mushrooms, in particular, have been studied for their anti-aging properties. The Journal of Drugs in Dermatology (JDD) states that the natural shiitake complex can help address elastase activity, which can diminish your elastin and compromise the integrity of your skin.
MUSHROOM SKIN CARE BENEFIT #2: SKIN TEXTURE
In addition to its anti-aging benefits, the MDPI notes that shiitake mushrooms alone have several applications in cosmetics, including being used as an exfoliant because they can encourage faster skin renewal. According to the JDD, shiitake mushrooms along with reishi mushrooms also contain anti-irritants and antioxidants—including polysaccharides, triterpenes, proteins, lipids, phenols, and cerebrosides—that stimulate the skin’s natural renewal process and help to improve skin texture.
MUSHROOM SKIN CARE BENEFIT #3: SKIN TONE
The next mushroom skin care benefit on our list? Skin tone! We touched briefly on the fact that mushrooms in skincare products can help improve uneven skin tone, but we’re ready to dive into more details. The MDPI notes that kojic acid, a phenolic compound commonly found in several mushrooms, is useful as a natural skin lightener and has been added to creams, lotions, and serums to help address age spots and isolated incidents of discolorations.
MUSHROOM SKIN CARE BENEFIT #4: MOISTURE
Lastly, according to the MDPI, mushroom extracts are often cited as potent antioxidants and natural moisturizers because they can offer a slightly different set of absorbable nutrients than other typical ingredients like vitamin C and vitamin E. There are a few key substances found in mushrooms that contribute to this.
1. Lactic acid
An alpha hydroxy acid found in some mushrooms, the MDPI says lactic acid is typically used in cosmetic preparations in dermatology to hydrate and smooth dry, flaking skin.
A copolymer found in the cell wall of several mushrooms, chitin-glucan has good moisturizing properties that have potential for use in skin moisturizing formulations, according to the MDPI.
While we mentioned ceramides earlier for their anti-aging properties, the MDPI also lists them as being beneficial in cosmetics as epidermal hydrating agents.
Overall, we’d say mushrooms are a pretty fungi (get it?), so keep a lookout the next time you’re reading through the ingredients on your favorite skin care products. Want another lesson on popular skin care ingredients? Click through to our article, What Can Vitamin E Oil Do for Skin?