Saturday, May 25, 2024

More Mushroom Benefits: For Glowing Skin, Research Says Try Fungi on Your Face

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It may not sound super glamorous, but mushrooms have big benefits for our skin — and the planet, too.

While there are only about 10,000 known types of mushrooms, it’s estimated that there are millions of different species of fungi growing all over the earth. Some are deadly, others are psychedelic, many are delicious, and some, it turns out, are good for slathering on your face.

Over the last few years, mushroom skincare has been rising in popularity. Sure, it doesn’t have the same ring to it as, say, aloe vera or mango butter, but research does suggest that certain species of fungi have multiple skin benefits. Plus, they’re a sustainable beauty ingredient too.

Mushrooms are abundant in pop culture, too, from Wonka star Timothée Chalamet to Katy Perry. In 2021, Harry Styles joined the celebrity beauty boom when he launched his own cosmetics line, Pleasing. Initially, the line offered nail polish, moisturizer, and a serum, but in 2022, the brand debuted its second collection, Shroom Bloom, which includes a Hand + Nail Balm formula enriched with apricots, shea butter, and hydrating snow fungi.

Are mushrooms good for your skin?

Mushroom skincare is far from new. Many traditional Chinese remedies call for certain types of fungi, like snow fungus, for example. The fungus (also known as snow ear or its scientific name, Tremella fuciformis) is renowned for having a softening, moisturizing impact on the skin. And that’s likely because it’s a source of polysaccharides, aka skin-hydrating molecules.

But it’s not alone. Shiitake, reishi, chaga, and cordyceps are just a handful of examples of other mushrooms that are associated with skin-healing benefits. They’re not just hydrating, but they’re also anti-inflammatory and rich in antioxidants, a type of compound that helps to reduce cell damage in the body. Mushrooms are also considered adaptogens, which means that they help the body respond to things like stress, fatigue, and anxiety.

a basket of mushrooms
A basket of mushrooms | Courtesy Kristina Paukshtite | Pexels

“Mushrooms are powerful both internally and externally,” Gabe Kennedy, a chef, entrepreneur, and founder of regenerative plant and mushroom supplement brand Plant People, told Editorialist. “They support both innate and adaptive immunity when ingested, and when applied topically they contain tons of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help the skin’s anti-aging functions.”

Mushroom skincare could also benefit the planet

The beauty industry is massive. Globally, it’s worth more than $250 billion. But all of these cosmetics and skin care products require ingredients, many of which can be sourced in harmful ways. The production of coconut oil, for example, threatens more than 20.2 species per million metric tons. And the same amount of palm oil, which is associated with vast amounts of deforestation, threatens 3.8 species.

But, when it comes to the environment, mushrooms have a better reputation. For one, they’re not energy-intensive (many can even thrive in complete darkness), and they don’t require huge amounts of resources, like water and land, to grow. In fact, according to the Mushroom Council, a U.S.-based mushroom producer organization, growers can produce millions of pounds of mushrooms each year, using only a “few acres of land.”

Which brands are using mushrooms in skincare?

Because of their skincare and sustainability credentials, mushrooms are becoming a popular choice for a number of beauty brands. Here are a few examples of those on the market right now prioritizing fungi in their products.

KORA Organics Milky Mushroom Gentle Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover

1. Kora Organics Milky Mushroom Gentle Cleansing Oil Makeup Remover

This organic dual-phase cleansing milk gently removes dirt, visible oil, and makeup, according to an overwhelming number of consumers; 98 percent said it thoroughly removes all traces of dirt and left skin more hydrated, and 100 percent said their skin felt softer after use. The formula uses the moisture retention power of silver ear mushrooms along with other sustainable and natural ingredients like babassu oil and sunflower seed oil. Suitable for all skin types.

moon juice plump jelly

2. Moon Juice Plump Jelly

This vegan formula uses reishi and silver ear mushrooms to help lock in hydration and keep skin plumped and glowing. Reishi is known for protecting skin against stressors and protecting it from visible signs of aging. Silver Ear is exceptionally hydrating, and can hold up to 500 times its weight in moisture to help bring plumpness to your skin. Good for all skin types to address dryness, fine lines and wrinkles, and improved elasticity.

Andrew Weil for Origins

3. Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Relief & Resilience Soothing Cream

This mega-hydrating cream is formulated with Dr. Weil’s custom blend of reishi, cordyceps, fermented chaga mushrooms to help calm and soothe skin. It also helps to visibly reduce redness and makes skin stronger against environmental skin agers. Suitable for all skin types.

neon hippie

4. Neon Hippie

In February, mushroom-based skincare brand Neon Hippie launched into the U.S. market. There are seven products in the brand’s range, including Super Luxe Face Oil and Neurolux Peptide Cream. Most contain its signature 7 Shroom Complex, which is a “proprietary mix of hero mushrooms” sourced from a farm in Oregon. 

herbivore mushroom magic

5. Herbivore

Herbivore’s formulas have always prioritized natural, gentle ingredients, and its Mushroom Magic Plumping Hydration Set, which features a cleanser and a moisturizer, is no different. Again, ultra-hydrating snow fungi are the star of the show, alongside super moisturizer vegan squalane.

YTTP mushroom cream

6. Youth to the People

Youth to the People’s Adaptogen Deep Moisture Cream will leave your face feeling smooth, silky, and soft to the touch, and that’s all thanks to the hydrating dream team in the formula: squalane, shea butter, jojoba, ashwagandha, and fermented reishi mushrooms. 

Paula's Choice

7. Paula’s Choice

Paula’s Choice has a reputation for highly effective skincare products, and that’s because the brand has always been “research-led.” It follows the science, and that, in turn, produces the best formulas. Its Super Hydrate Overnight Serum, which contains reishi mushrooms, cloudberries, and shea butter, is highly regarded for leaving skin looking brighter, as well as feeling softer and more hydrated.

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All products featured on Ethos have been independently selected by our editorial team. When you buy something through our links, Ethos may earn an affiliate commission.

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