Mushrooms in Skincare

The secret to all of your beauty-woes is in these must-try ingredients


The healing powers of mushrooms have been utilized by Eastern cultures for centuries and have long been a staple of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Today, they’re gaining a new wave of attention, especially in skincare. Mushrooms are packed with nutrients including B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and adaptogens. With over 150,000 known varieties offering a range of medicinal benefits, mushrooms can improve all aspects of wellness and be used as a topical solution for every skin type.

Many brands are releasing mushroom-based skincare products for spa use to capture their anti-aging, complexion balancing, skin tightening, inflammation-reducing, and even collagen-boosting benefits.

Mushrooms are an active ingredient that work at their optimum in a given formula when combined with other herbs and key ingredients that benefit the body in a balanced, synergistic effect.

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How Mushrooms Work

One reason mushrooms may have been slow to take off in Western skincare is that someone with expert knowledge must carefully formulate them. Mushrooms are an active ingredient that work at their optimum in a given formula when combined with other herbs and key ingredients that benefit the body in a balanced, synergistic effect. The formulator must possess the knowledge to choose the highest potency ingredients and mix them in perfectly proportioned combinations to release their medicinal potential. Improperly formulated herbal mixtures will not harm skin, but they will not produce optimal results either.

Mushrooms to Look for

The most common mushrooms being used in today’s skincare are Reishi, Shiitake, and Chaga. Reishi, the Queen of Mushrooms, is the oldest known mushroom in herbal medicine and has been used in the East for over 2,000 years. It contains polysaccharides, molecules that boost the skin’s ability to maintain water, making it great for moisturizing and removing toxins. Reishi is also high in beta-glucans, enabling it to penetrate deeper into the skin layers to provide a longer-lasting solution to dryness.

While all mushrooms are high in antioxidants, the Chaga mushroom is one of the highest sources of any plant that exists. It nourishes skin, improves cell rejuvenation, and helps repair wrinkles to restore a healthy and youthful glow.

In East Asia, Shiitake mushrooms are synonymous with anti-aging. They’re densely packed with kojic acid, a natural substitute for hydroquinone. The Shiitake mushroom can lighten any type of hyperpigmentation, including sunspots and acne scars. Containing high amounts of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories, Shiitake mushrooms can also calm skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea and guard all skin types against environmental damage.

Mushrooms such as Cordyceps, Tremella, and Matsutake are not used in Western skincare products as often just yet, but they’re just as amazing for the skin. Cordyceps mushrooms contain a powerful bio-metabolite called cordycepin and antioxidant and anti-aging compounds that reduce the appearance of wrinkles and age spots while improving cell turnover and helping remove dead skin. Tremella mushrooms can hold 500 times their weight in water, making them comparable to hyaluronic acid for skin hydration. The difference is that Tremella mushrooms have smaller particles to provide moisture to deeper layers of the skin. Tremellas inhibit melatonin production, reducing hyperpigmentation and lightening skin better than vitamin C. Matsutake mushrooms also lighten skin to fix hyperpigmentation and even complexion while also increasing collagen production and improving skin’s elasticity.

Mushrooms for Spas

If you want to take your spa services to the next level, it’s time to begin incorporating mushrooms. They’re frequently added to rejuvenating, brightening, and anti-aging in-spa and home treatment regimens in the form of a serum. Certain mushrooms can also be combined with potent active ingredients, such as retinol, for a powerful skin repair dose or applied as a face cream to moisturize and hydrate skin.