While edible ingredients like honey, rose and coconut have been commonplace throughout the modern beauty space for years, one potent ingredient beloved by chefs and diners alike has begun its segue into the skincare world: mushrooms. A perennial favorite for foodies of all dietary backgrounds, fungi have long since held a special place in the heart of vegans for their mineral and protein-packed prowess, likewise providing a healthy dose of sought-after antioxidants. Now, the magical power of fungi has been repurposed and reutilized for skin-plumping purposes, making mushroom-derived skincare the ideal cruelty-free products for conscientious cosmetic lovers across the globe.
A tried and true ingredient, mushrooms have played a significant role in the skincare routines of generations before us, having been a staple in Chinese culture for multiple millennia. Still, the mushroom’s widespread popularity only came to a head this last year amid the covid-19 pandemic, when health soared to the forefront of society’s minds. As such, many consumers sought out holistic remedies for their everyday problems, bringing fungi right to the top of the wellness space’s trendy totem pole and subsequently, to the top of skincare fanatics wishlists.
Many mushrooms are classified as ‘adaptogens’ -- that is, substances that help the body to regulate stress and adapt to environmental stimuli -- effortlessly landing them a spot in today’s must-have skincare routine. The adaptogenic components of fungi do wonders to stabilize hormones on the skin, helping deal with pesky breakouts before they break. Likewise, mushrooms’ inherent anti-inflammatory composition keeps skin de-puffed and fresh, creating a roll-out-of-bed-ready face perfect for early morning Zoom meetings.
Like all things in the natural world, no two mushrooms are exactly alike. Knowing which species of fungi to look for on an ingredient list is integral to benefitting from its epidermis-enhancing properties, so keep a keen eye out for buzzed-about mushrooms like chaga, which both boosts the skin barrier and dilute redness, or reishi, which diminishes the signs of aging and provides signature soothing relief. Other talked about ‘shrooms like shiitake will help brighten your complexion, while cordyceps have become a go-to for dry skinned people looking for an extra elevation in hydration.
Don’t rush to your local forest to forage for your skin’s newest friend, as experts say mushrooms are best applied topically through professionally-created serums rather than homemade mixtures. But fear not; with fungi-derived skincare remaining on the rise, finding the latest mushroom products for your skin should soon be as easy as finding portobello or cremini in the grocery store.
Mary Schreiber Swenson, PhD
My Med Choices | Vegan Skin Clinic
WhatsApp +1 302-932-1920