Your Anti-Aging Skincare Routine Is Missing This Holy Grail Ingredient
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If it feels like mushrooms have traveled from farmer’s markets and grocery store aisles onto the ingredient lists of multiple buzzy beauty products, you’re not imagining this shift.
Though ‘shrooms have been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years for a multitude of reasons, mushroom-infused skincare has only recently hit it big stateside. That could be in response to an increased demand for more natural cosmetics and cosmeceuticals—or to the fact that there’s actual science to back up the skin perks of certain fungi.
“Mushrooms can offer a whole variety of benefits for the skin,” says Dr. Nava Greenfield, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist at Schweiger Dermatology Group. Studies have suggested they can act as a wound healing agent, an antioxidant, and an anti-inflammatory as well, per Dr. Greenfield.
When it comes to perking skin up and making it look like you turned back the clock, mushrooms and mushroom-derived extracts tend to work on your complexion in two key ways: by hydrating and brightening.
Beta-glucans (found in mushrooms) have skin hydrating properties that support the skin barrier function and could improve redness and irritation, says Dr. Jennifer Chwalek, M.D., a New York City-based dermatologist at Union Derm, adding that some variants may be able to improve uneven pigmentation in the skin (i.e. skin lightening/brightening), although more trials and studies are needed to confirm this.
Ready to level up your beauty routine with functional fungi? You’ve come to the right place. Consider this your mushroom-infused skincare product short list.
Whether you’re looking to splurge or save, you can let mushrooms work their magic from head to toe. Products were chosen based on our experts’ recommendations, and I've also flagged some top-rated favorites and new launches, too.
As with anything new you’re looking to add to a skincare regimen, you should always patch test a product first to and talk to your dermatologist.
Evercalm Redness Relief Serum
For those prone to redness, Dr. Greenfield recommends this serum, which includes soothing white mushroom extract. “The product draws upon the calming and redness reducing effects of white mushrooms and has clinical data on its efficacy,” she says. Specifically, in a study of 100 men and women conducted by the brand, visible redness was shown to subside somewhat over a seven day period and as quickly as in 30 minutes.
Start and end your day with a dewy finish, thanks to this do-it-all moisturizer that lists Silver Ear mushroom and Reishi among its chief ingredients alongside vitamin E, ashwagandha, and hyaluronic acid (HA). Similar to HA, Silver Ear mushroom is said to have moisturizing properties, while Reishi purportedly protects the skin’s natural barrier.
Vitamin C Mycelium Glow Brightening Serum
If you’re looking to lighten dark spots or improve the overall tone and texture of your skin, Shroom‘s Mycelium Glow Serum might be a solid bet. The formula contains a blend of four mushroom extracts—Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps, and Maitake, in a jojoba oil suspension, says Dr. Chwalek, who consults for the Shroom brand. “Jojoba oil has a chemical composition most similar to human skin,” she adds.
Ultra Soothing InvisaMask
Whether you use sheet masks for a quick fix when traveling or weekly as part of your #selfcaresunday ritual, consider adding BioRepublic’s new Ultra Soothing InvisaMask to your supply. Mushroom mycelia extract in the mask is said to calm irritation, repair, and help restore radiance.
De-Stress Foaming Cleanser
For a gentle face wash that’ll soothe the skin—rather than strip it—look no further than this Pangea Organics cleanser. Every pump of this gel-to-foam formula packs a little bit of Reishi mushroom to hydrate as it removes makeup, excess oil, and dirt.
Hydrating Floral Mask
Many of clean beauty guru Tata Harper’s eponymous products include Tremella Fuciformis, which is more commonly known as the Snow or Silver Ear mushroom. Take Harper’s Hydrating Floral Mask, for example, which can be used up to three times a week. According to the brand, Tremella mushroom in the formula not only helps quench and restore parched skin, but it’s also high in vitamin D and antioxidants, allowing it to shore up the skin’s barrier and help smooth fine lines and wrinkles.
Eye Detox Brightening Contour Oil
Puffy undereyes have officially met their match with this luxe oil that’s infused with rare Chaga mushrooms; in fact, the brand hand-harvests its supply from birch trees in Maine. Keep the rollerball in your refrigerator, and in the morning, gently dab it around your eye contour area for potential cooling, brightening, and inflammation reduction.
Fresh Dew Snow Mushroom Gel-Cream Moisturizer
This ultra-lightweight hydrator goes on like a gel but finishes like a cream, making it a perfect base for makeup application in the morning. It’s also a great step to seal in moisture once you wash your face and neck in the evening, thanks to the Snow mushroom in its formulation. The brand also offers a plumping eye cream in the Fresh Dew Snow Mushroom collection as well.
BHA Clarifying Serum
As salicylic, lactic, and glycolic acids in the product are said to attack bacteria to clear the skin and reduce acne marks, the Silver Ear purportedly provides protection against irritation, particularly for sensitive skin types that are also acne prone.
Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Treatment Lotion
Reishi and Chaga combine in this liquid lotion that’s ideal for anyone who deals with redness or enlarged pores. Shake the bottle, then pour a little bit into your hands to pat it onto dry, clean skin. Meant to function like a calming and soothing essence, be sure to apply this lotion before your serum and moisturizing steps for best results.
Electric Flower Serum
Products from the new, mushroom-based luxury skincare brand Neon Hippie boast a proprietary complex of seven different types of ‘shrooms: Chaga, Reishi, Shiitake, Tremella, Trametes Versicolor, Cordyceps, and Coprinus. If you’re looking for a hydrating primer that’s said to repair while it preps your skin, give it a try.
Dark Spot Corrector
Backed by both an instrumental measure study and an independent consumer perception study of 54 individuals, this fragrance-free treatment serum pairs vitamin C and caffeine with pomegranate stem cells and Shiitake extract to purportedly fade discoloration from hyperpigmentation and post-acne scarring. Specifically, the Shiitake in the formula is said to help to inhibit melanin production.
Super Multi-Corrective Anti-Aging Face and Neck Cream
This moisturizer isn’t new or inexpensive for that matter, but a little bit could go a long way towards glowy, radiant skin. Part of its power lies in its inclusion of Chaga mushroom, which is said to improve the overall evenness of skin tone.
Supercharged Reishi Body Melt
Mushrooms and mushroom extracts can provide nourishment beyond the face, neck, and décolleté area. Case in point: Reed + Gwen’s body melt, a thick, somewhat gritty balm enriched with shea butter, hyaluronic acid, and adaptogenic Reishi extract. Warm it up between your fingers and apply it to dry patches—or all over your body—to let the Reishi go to town on parched skin.
Skin on Skin BC Foundation
This best-selling full coverage formula from YENSA is infused with Shiitake, purporting to not only hide hyperpigmentation on the skin but to treat it a bit, too.
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