I'll admit before I became a beauty editor, mushrooms were the last thing I thought I would incorporate into my skincare routine. Now, armed with the knowledge of what this organic powerhouse can do, I now consider it a nonnegotiable ingredient. Mushrooms are a well-known immunity-boosting and stress-reducing adaptogen, but many types of them also deliver serious brightening and hydrating benefits to the skin. So yeah, it's good for your body, inside and out.
There are, however, a ton of mushrooms out there, so it isn't always easy to know which ones are best to incorporate into a skincare routine. That's why I asked two board-certified dermatologists to weigh in, Marisa Garshick, MD, and Azadeh Shirazi, MD. For all their insight, keep reading below.
Why You Should Incorporate Mushrooms Into Your Skincare Routine
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.
"In addition to peptides that help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, this serum also contains snow mushroom extract, which helps to boost moisture and provides antioxidant benefits. Lactic acid also helps brighten the skin and enhance radiance in addition to other vitamins and plant-based oils to soothe the skin." — Garshick
"This serum uses bakuchiol to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles while also containing polyhydroxy acids to gently exfoliate. Additionally, it uses Tremella mushroom to help hydrate the skin and has been shown to hold up to 500 times its own weight in water, which may help minimize the potential for irritation or sensitivity." — Garshick
"This hydrating moisturizer also contains a peptide complex and squalene, which works to hydrate and soften the skin. It also incorporates fermented reishi mushroom, which helps to address premature aging, redness, as well as fine lines and wrinkles." — Garshick
If stress breakouts are a thing for you, Shirazi recommends this Stress Rescue Super Serum from Dr. Dennis Gross. It's filled with microcapsules of superfoods (like maitake mushroom), adaptogens, and niacinamide, which help correct and prevent stress-related flare-ups in the skin. It also boosts radiance and strengthens the skin barrier.
Dark spots, melasma, discoloration, age spots, and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation don't stand a chance against Shirazi's DermaBright Pads. They contain kojic acid (derived from mushrooms), vitamin C, and other powerful antioxidants that protect and repair the skin.
This potent, water-like lotion is formulated with reishi and fermented Chaga mushrooms to reduce redness and restore the skin's resilience. Other organic ingredients like licorice root extract and plant-derived hyaluronic acid deeply moisturize and shield your skin from environmental stressors.
With star ingredients such as Reishi mushroom, Arctic cloudberry, shea butter, and glycerin, this hydrating overnight mask is perfect for drier skin types. It calms the skin, reduces redness, and contains an antioxidant blend that defends against environmental damage.
This cushion-soft moisturizer is packed with snow mushroom, peptides, and ceramides to deliver deep hydration to the skin. It's also uniquely formulated with skin of color in mind and prevents the formulation of dark spots.
If sheet masks are your thing, try the Euphoria Face Mask from Joanna Vargas. This pack of five contains treatment masks infused with soft bamboo, dried aloe vera gel powder, snow mushroom, and Chamomilla Recutita extract to calm and hydrate irritated skin.