You’re not hallucinating. The humble ‘shroom really is skincare’s hottest ingredient. They might not look like mush (sorry), but these spongy funghi are powerhouses of skin-friendly ingredients – particularly for those of us with sensitive skin or inflammatory conditions like rosacea and acne.
Even if you’re already adding cordyceps to your morning coffee, with over 14,000 species, we can all learn something about the power of mushrooms and their potential to transform our skin.
1. They’re an overlooked superfood
While we think nothing of throwing a handful into a stir-fry, mushrooms are revered in Asia for their powerful phytochemicals. Used for over 4000 years in traditional Chinese medicine, the power of mushrooms is now being backed up by modern science and their reputation as a superfood is rivalling that of goji berries and spirulina.
Shiitake has been found to have antiviral effects, and a phytochemical isolated from this species has even been approved as a cancer therapy. Meanwhile reishi mushrooms have medicinal uses including easing altitude sickness and lowering blood pressure.
2. Dermatologists have been using mushrooms for years
Need convincing your routine is missing mushrooms? Professional dermatologists swear by them.
Kojic acid, a key ingredient in medical-grade chemical peels, is produced by several species of fungi including shiitake. This powerful acid is used by derms for mega-watt skin brightening, thanks to its pigmentation fading properties.
3. Choose the right mushroom for your skin
While shiitake is useful for brightening, each mushroom comes with its own unique skincare benefits.
Reishi takes a gentler approach, soothing inflammation and redness, and helping to improve barrier function. Chaga is a powerhouse of antioxidants and rich in antiseptic betulinic acid, which has been used to treat skin infections. Cordyceps is used for its hydrating and calming powers, even being trialled as a topical eczema treatment to reduce skin-damaging inflammation.
Need a bit of everything? Look for formulas that take a multi-mushroom approach. The Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Relief & Resilience Advanced Face Serum contains a blend of reishi, chaga and cordyceps mushrooms extracts for maximum funghi benefits, while treating the skin to a supercharged dose of antioxidants.
4. They’re super hydrators
Ever been told you shouldn’t wash mushrooms when cooking? This is because they act like sponges for moisture, in part thanks to beta-glucans. These sugars are abundant in mushrooms and attract water from the environment in a similar way to hyaluronic acid, but with an added hit of antioxidants.
Applied topically, beta glucans pull water from the atmosphere to the top layers of the skin, leaving the complexion looking hydrated, healthy and improving the skin’s barrier function. Thankfully, beta glucans do all this without the sliminess associated with soggy mushrooms.
5. They help skin chill out
Used for centuries in ancient Chinese medicine for their adaptogenic properties, mushrooms can help the body manage stress and inflammation. Studies show that those calming effects have benefits when applied topically too, making mushrooms a key ingredient in our Origins Dr. Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Relief & Resilience Advanced Face Serum.
High concentrations of B vitamins help to calm inflammation, while clever beta glucans form an undetectable film to trap moisture, boost the skin’s natural barrier and give skin a break from day to day stresses.