For starters, mushrooms have shown some promise in preventing premature skin aging. “Mushrooms incorporated into skincare products can offer benefits by helping to brighten and hydrate the skin—some types of mushrooms may also have antioxidant benefits,” says Garshick. “There are also ingredients that are derived from mushrooms that can be beneficial for the skin like kojic acid. One study has shown that veratric acid (found in mushrooms) can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and may help with signs of skin aging.”
Additionally, mushrooms may also offer some serious stress support—both to your body and topically on stressed-out skin. “Mushrooms are thought to also be an adaptogen that helps fight stress and reduce inflammation,” Garshick says. “They’re rich in fatty acids and ceramides and can help to boost hydration and support the skin barrier. Specifically, Chaga mushrooms are thought to have antioxidant benefits, while snow mushrooms are thought to help with hydration.”
Shirazi adds that mushrooms can also work at a deeper level within the skin. “Mushrooms can work on a molecular level to bring balance to the skin and regulate cell function,” she shares. “They can serve to protect the skin against sun damage and improve skin’s elasticity.” Like Garshick, Shirazi also stresses the use of mushroom-derived kojic acid, which has been used in skincare for years to lighten hyperpigmentation and brighten skin’s overall tone. Shirazi also thinks shiitake mushrooms in particular can take your youth-enhancing routine to a totally new level. “Natural shiitake inhibits elastase activity. As we age, enzymes such as elastase diminish our elastin, compromising the integrity of the dermal layer. Natural shiitake mushrooms have been shown to inhibit this enzyme.”
If all this weren’t enough to convince you, Shirazi also adds that those with skin sensitivities may really benefit from the calming effects of mushroom extracts. Shiitake mushrooms, specifically, can stimulate the skin’s natural renewal process and help to improve texture. For mushroom-infused skincare recommendations from both, plus a few of our own favorites, keep scrolling.