Mushroom types on table

The Magic of Mushrooms: Skincare’s New Must-Have Ingredient

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Shrooms, mushies, goomers. Whatever they have been called over the years, one thing that hasn’t changed are the incredible health benefits that mushrooms may provide. Knowing how to use them and what to look for in beauty products is the key though.

From hair to skincare, mushrooms have the ability to really help us out. The problem is that modern culture has been slow to figure this out. Beyond becoming one of the healthy superfoods, among other popular snacks and recipes, consumers should be seeking out mushrooms as the new “popular kid” of skincare products: the magic ingredient, if you will.

Benefits of the Mushroom

Mushrooms on tray

So, what are all of these great benefits that mushrooms are said to tout for skin care? Aren’t some mushrooms poisonous? Below, we have a list of all of the reasons that you should look for mushrooms in the next skin care product that you decide to try out.

As for the poison that some mushrooms contain, many varieties that are commonly used in skin care products are often edible. If not, then they will have had any of their useful traits isolated for use in skin care products. These useful traits include, but aren’t limited to the uses many companies have found listed below.

Hydration


The reason that mushrooms are so good at hydrating your skin is because of the way
they mimic how your body naturally hydrates your skin. Our body uses a compound called hyaluronic acid to plump your skin and to firm it up. 

This comes into play more with younger people and will start not to work as well as it should as you get older. This is why many skin care providers try to mimic this compound in their products. One such product is the Snow Mushroom Night Cream by Vivo Per Lei. It uses an extract from snow mushrooms that helps to deeply moisturize and smooth skin. It is a night cream that functions to give you glowing skin come morning, always helping you start the day off right.

Mushrooms contain a compound in them naturally that accomplishes this goal. Hence why companies use mushrooms to obtain these same hydrating effects. They contain a polysaccharide that is able to rival the body’s own ability to hydrate your skin, even surpass it as you get older or if you have naturally drier skin. Using mushrooms in skin care products often leaves the skin feeling smooth and fully hydrated.

Anti-aging


Beyond its ability to hydrate the skin, therefore
making you appear younger than before, mushrooms also have the ability to help smooth away colorations damage to the skin. This includes skin problems associated with age, like liver spots, discoloration or a changing and uneven skin tone.

How are mushrooms capable of this? It has been shown that it is because of two antioxidants that are game changers in the fight against age: ergothioneine (ERGO) and glutathione (GSH). These antioxidants help to battle oxidative stress that causes tissue damage and is what causes the body to age. 

Fungi contain large amounts of ERGO, any other vegetable has to collect it by picking up fungi from the soil. However, by using mushrooms in skin care, you obtain the best results in the end.

Inflammation

Woman applying face cream

Mushrooms aren’t just good for you as you get older though. They are helpful at any point in life, restocking our body with the antioxidants and vitamins that it might otherwise be short on to help us function the way we should.

Mushrooms help a great deal when it comes to reducing swelling and aiding in the physiological processes that your body engages in to heal itself. Scientists have found that they accomplish this since they are rich in several different anti-inflammatory components, including phenolic and indolic compounds and mycosteroids among others. 

Altogether, mushrooms function to speed up the body’s healing process and reduce swelling quickly. 

Skin Lightener


Although this benefit isn’t for everyone, many people appreciate the lightning and evening qualities that mushrooms possess. This is especially true for many since it is a much
more natural way to effectively lighten the skin instead of using harsh chemicals like hydroquinone. Hydroquinone is also thought to be a cause of skin cancer, whereas mushrooms have anticarcinogenic properties.

Mushrooms contain kojic acid, a natural skin lightener that acts by stopping melanin production on the surface of the skin. Thus, as new skin cells form, they are lighter in color than the dead ones. 

Natural Acne Treatment


Remember the mushrooms ability to fight inflammation? This part of the reason that they
also function to help treat acne so well. A lot of acne comes from skin sensitivity, which results in swelling, but can be reduced greatly by the healing effects of mushrooms.

However, beyond reducing swelling, mushrooms are also chock-full of Vitamin D. This vitamin, when applied topically to sores caused by acne, functions to help in the healing process.

If you are interested in more benefits mushrooms can reap for your skin, as well as some for your hair and your overall health, check out this article for a thorough read.

The History of the Mushroom in Skincare

Mushrooms, herbs and flowers on table

If mushrooms are so great for the skin, you might be wondering why they are only just becoming a larger trend of the beauty industry.

Mushrooms are actually part of a larger movement in the industry that has been growing into a love of all flora and fauna, of going natural. More recently, consumers have been warned of all of the harmful effects that chemicals have on their skin and their body in general. They are starting to demand higher standards of safety and associating natural ingredients with healthier end results.

Countries in the East, including China and Japan, have known about and used mushrooms as a common health and beauty additive for hundreds of years. Why are we so late to the trend? A lot of it has to do with the mushroom’s history in the West being more predominantly focused on its psychedelic properties.

With the growing support for ‘shrooms among alternative groups in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, conservative sectors of America and Europe became opposed to the thought of mushrooms being used for anything outside of some of their well-known kitchen purposes. Although spaghetti with mushrooms was deemed safe, many people were very misinformed about mushrooms as a whole, much like hemp and its potential benefits for the masses.

This caused a wide delay in general research and industry acceptance of the huge health benefits that people can reap from the simple fungi, without any danger of psychedelic side effects.

Things to Watch Out For

There are still some things to watch out for, as when any trend begins to grow exponentially and more people want to buy into it. Be aware of the purpose that you are hoping to gain from mushrooms in skin care. Do your own research on how much of the active ingredient from mushrooms needs to be contained in the product to reap the benefits that it will be touting.

The other thing to keep in mind with mushrooms is that they are a pretty direct reflection of the environment that they are raised in. If a company is getting mushrooms shipped in from China, an environment full of industrial pollution, know that this will have an effect on the effectiveness of the product.

However, one of the reasons that mushrooms have rapidly grown in popularity is because of the wide variety of them within their kingdom and their ability to be grown in many different environments. With so many different types, once science began to accept them and research their potential positives, it was like a whole new world was opened up. The list that we have included below are some of the specific kinds of mushrooms to look for in skin care products. 

The Search is On: Benefits of Typical Mushrooms

Tremella

To start the list off strong, it is worth taking a look at the Tremella mushroom. It is best known for its ability to moisturize the skin. Other names for it include the snow mushroom, like in the night cream product that is featured above, the white jelly mushroom, and even witch’s butter. 

The Tremella mushroom is known to appear in both Chinese and Japanese lore as the cause for a beautiful Princess’s beauty and long-lasting youthfulness. Even today, it is very popular in Chinese medicine.

The best way to describe the appearance of this mushroom is a loofah that grows on the side of a tree. It is creamy white, with a spongy look and feel.

This is one of the mushrooms that contain high levels of kojic acid, great for acting as a skin lightener and more effectively getting rid of age spots. The reason it is known for being an effective moisturizing agent is because of its ability to hold 500 times its own weight in water. It also has small particles that more easily penetrate and take effect on the skin, making it rival even hyaluronic acid in the moisturizing department.

Making It Personal:


If you want to go all DIY on this mushroom, then you might need a bit of guidance. Check out
this article to get a better idea of where to buy the mushroom, since their native area is in the tropics, and how to boil it into a mask for use once a week.

Shiitake


Other than a well-loved kitchen ingredient, the Shiitake mushroom is well-known for containing a
high level of kojic acid. It is a great natural substitute for any of the harsh chemicals that were commonly used to lighten the skin.

These mushrooms have been very popular for many years in Japan since they are known as the anti-aging mushroom there. They effectively wipe away environmental damage as well as guarding your skin against it in the future.

The mushroom is known for increasing skin’s elasticity as well as being high in anti-inflammatories that make it a great acne or eczema treatment

Making It Personal:


Shiitake mushrooms are
very easy to come by in grocery stores in the vegetable sections due to its high culinary usage. From there, there are great recipes online to make your own face masks from them and directly reap their benefits.

Finnish Chaga

Chaga and chaga tea

Think of this mushroom as your guardian fungi. It is loaded with melanin, giving the skin a boosted ability to guard against harmful UV rays. Melanin is known for helping to determine your skin color, and increase in melanin production by the body is its response to extended periods in the sun.

When you use Chaga mushrooms, you are giving your skin a protective boost against the sun’s more destructive powers. This can also help to protect you from skin cancer, is great for normalizing your body’s natural melanin production as well as helping to give your skin a healthy glow.

Making It Personal:


Instead of using it topically, it is currently most commonly ingested as an oral skin care method. Chaga is often brewed into a tea much the way that you might make coffee. Many health food stores will sell chaga powder, or you can infuse slices of the mushroom in hot water.

Reishi


The name “reishi” itself hearkens to its royal background in the East. It used to be saved for use only by emperors and empresses. It was thought to be a great way to obtain youthful immortality, which is where it got its name as “reishi” translates to
“mushroom of immortality”.

Reishi mushrooms get this reputation from the beta-glucans they contain. These are natural sugars that have the ability to soak through layers of skin at a time and hydrate as well as calm problems brought on by dryness or itching. Polysaccharides also help the skin to retain water, keeping the skin moist after it takes care of the problem.

With these benefits paired with its strong anti-inflammatory properties, reishi mushrooms are known to be one of the best natural solutions to treat acne.

Making It Personal:


Reishi mushrooms often grow off the side of some trees and can get very tough on the outside. They are increasingly hard to find in the wild, so buying pre-cut slices is often your best choice. Steeping them and then applying the liquid to your face after cleaning it is a great treatment for acne and dry skin.

These aren’t the only mushrooms that you should be on the lookout. Beyond these favorite four, keep your eye out for Cordyceps mushrooms as well as common kitchen finds like the White mushroom, or button mushroom. For more information on these, check out these two articles about Cordyceps and White mushrooms.

From dirt to miracle facial treatment, mushrooms have grown to have a home in our hearts. Let us know if you try mushrooms out and how helpful you found them!



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