Best Functional Mushrooms for Skin Health
Updated April 14, 2023.
There are many different species of functional mushrooms, all of which seem to offer different benefits and therapeutic uses. Though the internal health and mental benefits are often spoken of, few seem to know of the potential benefits that functional mushrooms can offer to your skin.
This article looks at how mushrooms can improve the health of your skin, which mushrooms are the best for this, and how you should go about using them.
How Can Functional Mushrooms Improve Skin Health?
Many functional mushrooms have similar benefits to their cousins but vary slightly in their nature and degree. However, it is commonly accepted that mushrooms, in general, offer some mix of the following skin benefits.
As we age, our bodies experience oxidative stress due to the accumulation of damaging free radicles. This increases the risk of many different health conditions but also increases the rate at which DNA and cells begin to die, which studies have shown to cause collagen (key protein in skin development) fragmentation that leads to wrinkles and other signs of aging skin, such as liver spots and dullness.
With that in mind, it stands to reason that the antioxidant potential of functional mushrooms may effectively reduce the accumulating skin damage caused by free radicle damage and aging.
Additionally, aside from the antioxidative potential of mushrooms, some species contain a specific antioxidant called L-ergothioneine that actually stimulates cell renewal and could contribute to more elastin and better functioning collagen in the skin.
It is well-known and documented that many functional mushrooms have potent anti-inflammatory properties that may alleviate various health concerns. There are many different skin conditions that are inflammatory in nature and can potentially be alleviated with functional mushrooms, such as the following:
- Some forms of acne
Melanocyte Inhibiting Properties
Melanin is the dark pigment in our skin that gives it colour, and while low melanin can increase the risk of wrinkles and reduce natural protection from the sun (a potential cancer risk), excessive melanin production can also increase the risk of serious cancers, such as melanomas.
Some research has noted potential melanocyte inhibiting properties of certain functional mushrooms, such as Shiitake. It is important to understand that this will not alter your natural skin colour in any way, but it could result in brighter skin tones and a reduced risk of skin cancers.
Some research has found that cosmetic products containing certain mushroom extracts have the presence of a compound called ceramide, which is used to hydrate the skin and reduce the effect of dry skin-related problems like flaking, itching, tightening, or peeling. It's uncertain whether this effect will also be present in consumable functional mushroom products as opposed to topically applied ones, but the evidence remains compelling.
Which Functional Mushrooms Are Good for Your Skin?
It seems as if the number of functional mushroom species is endless, which makes it incredibly difficult to discuss exactly which ones are the best for certain skin types and problems. And while the benefits of Shiitake mushrooms for skin health specifically are well known, that doesn't necessarily mean that Shiitake mushrooms are more beneficial for skin than other mushrooms.
However, if you'd like to read through more extensive articles about the benefits of different functional mushrooms species, browse through the following articles:
- Reishi (also read Reishi Tea Benefits)
- Lion's Mane
- Turkey Tail
- Black Hoof
- Chaga (also read Chaga Tea Benefits)
- Wood Ear
Alternatively, if you're concerned about the potential side effects of these mushrooms, it's good to know that the risk is low and largely similar across different species. Although, if you'd like to learn more, we've covered the risk of certain functional mushrooms in the following articles:
How to Use Functional Mushrooms for Skin Health
In most instances, topically-used products are inferior to consumable products or tinctures and oils applied sublingually, but this may not necessarily be the case with products designed to treat skin conditions and improve skin health. It is true that, for the most part, the general benefits of functional mushrooms are best used when the product is consumed, which can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body. However, in the case of inflammatory skin conditions or signs of aging, there may also be some benefit in applying topical products for a more localised effect.
Additionally, functional mushrooms need to be used consistently for an extended period in order for the body to access these benefits. Unlike pharmaceutical drugs that have an intense effect within a few hours, functional mushroom benefits are more holistic and need to accumulate after some time.
Aside from directional usage, the best functional mushroom products usually take extracts of various species and incorporate other therapeutic components like pharmaceutical-grade CBD oil, chamomile, and others—this is the belief behind our M2CBD formula.
For specific products, browse our online store for easy-to-use tinctures, capsules, creams, and sprays that are carefully formulated with specific uses in mind.