Mushrooms in skincare are here to stay (and that’s a good thing!)

There are so many gimmicks in skincare these days (please stop spam’ing me with CBD cream advertisements and press releases!). Most of theses gimmicks don’t have any science to back them up (and yes, that includes CBD in skincare), but mushrooms are an exception. There are many different types of mushrooms and they have slightly different benefits. Kojic acid is perhaps the most famous one. It’s an effective skin lightener you’re probably familiar with – what you might not know is that it comes from shiitake mushrooms. Mushrooms also have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties which make them great for creams and serums.

“There are many different types of mushrooms and they all have slightly different benefits, which makes them a great and versatile,” says celebrity dermatologist Dr. Dennis Gross (I’ve said it many times before, but I’ll say it again – not only do I trust his in-person advice, but his products are the absolute best. I cannot go more than a few days without his ultra gentle exfoliating facial wipes and self-tanning wipes). “My favorite mushrooms are chaga, cordyceps, and maitake – they’re superfoods and adaptogens, which makes them unique. They have properties that helps heal, repair and protect against damaging free radicals while also possessing the ability to normalize skin to its pre-stressed state.”

So what are the different benefits specifically of each of these powerful mushrooms? Below Dr. Gross breaks it down so you can pick and choose which you want to look for when shopping for your skincare.

  • Chaga mushrooms are high in betulinic acid, selenium, and other essential vitamins that neutralizes free radicals produced by stress and boosts the immune system.  The anti-inflammatory properties allow for increased blood circulation, ensuring even skin tone, nutrient delivery to the skin cells, and the healthy detoxification of the skin.
  • Cordyceps mushrooms are anti-inflammatory and their benefits stem from their ability to positively affect the immune system, fighting oxidative stress and stimulating protective cells that keep the body free from disease and infections. They also increase the body’s production of amino acids and the molecule adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is essential for delivering energy through the body.
  • Maitake mushrooms rejuvenate the skin by increasing firmness and elasticity while their high volume of beta-glucans helps fight inflammation and aids the immune system. Anti-inflammatory properties also increase blood circulation and protect against DNA damage.

And there are many studies to back up these claims. Dr. Gross highlights one study in particular that found that phenolic veratric acid, a compound in mushrooms, has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Bottom line: Mushrooms are a great ingredient to look for when shopping for skincare.  Gross’ B3 Adaptive SuperFood Stress Rescue Super Serum, which just launched, was created to help with hydration, circulation, and inflammation. Four Sigmatic is another brand to checkout. They’re best known for their ingestible mushroom-based products, but they also launched some skincare.

Image: Vogue

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