The *magical* and healing properties of shrooms are widely known: Certain fungi are adaptogenic and said to be immunity boosters and more and more people are eating mushrooms to reach some form of enlightenment. And even if you're already chugging chaga tea on the reg, there's a new way to get your shroomy fix: using them topically.
The fungi family contains high concentrations of antioxidants, which can be “very effective in combating free radical damage and increasing skin elasticity,” according to New York City dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD. And each type has its own specialty: Chaga and cordyceps can soothe skin, while shiitake brightens and even helps fight hyperpigmentation.
What's more, some mushrooms contain kojic acid—a natural brightening agent that offers a healthy alternative to hydroquinone and can effectively fade sun spots and acne scars. More still boast the amino acid L-ergothioneine, which Dr. Engelman notes can help “exfoliate and prevent cell damage.” She recommends looking for shiitake, maitake, and reishi mushrooms to reap these benefits.
Shrooms of all kinds have long been embraced in traditional Chinese medicine and are used in beloved potions and powders including Moon Juice Vanilla Mushroom Protein, and their use in topical products is continually on the rise.
Keep reading for why we should be putting fungi on our faces.
Dr. Alkaitis Organic Beautifying Mask, $41
This powdered mask from in-the-know, cult-favorite natural brand Dr. Alkaitis contains the brand’s Magical Forest Mushroom Complex, which includes reishi and a host of other, more rare fungi (like tuckahoe, hedgehog, snow mushrooms). Mix this powder with water or yogurt to boost skin’s cellular repair function and immunity, plus reap mushroom’s age-delaying benefits.
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