Mushrooms are becoming well-known for their health-promoting properties. They are nutritionally dense and packed with beneficial vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and beta-glucan polysaccharides. This gives them the potential to improve gut health, immunity, mental wellbeing, and more.
Scientists are now discovering that mushrooms could help us to look, as well as feel, better. Early research into mushroom skin benefits suggests they could help with a range of everyday issues.
Therefore, more and more companies are manufacturing mushroom skincare and haircare products. They include creams, lotions, and shampoos that consumers can apply directly to problem areas. There is also a suggestion that consuming mushrooms could improve the skin's appearance from the inside out.
This article explains mushrooms' benefits for skin and explores the best mushroom for skin and hair. Read on for our complete guide.
Mushroom Benefits for Skin
We often underestimate the importance of our skin. It is the body's largest organ and acts as a barrier between our tissues and the outside world. As such, it is exposed to a multitude of harmful conditions every day. Therefore, it is very prone to damage from ultraviolet radiation, environmental pollution, and microbes like bacteria and fungi.
The skin is also the most visible organ in the body. Therefore, issues like skin conditions and even the normal signs of aging can have a significant psychological impact. Inflammation, fine lines, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation can decrease a person's confidence and severely affect their quality of life. Unsurprisingly, the cosmetics industry is worth billions of dollars every year.
Within the industry, there is a growing trend toward using natural products rather than harsh chemical ingredients. Compounds like hyaluronic acid (which the body naturally produces) are becoming increasingly popular in anti-aging creams and serums. So are a variety of herbal extracts, including mushrooms.
While we know less about mushrooms for specific conditions like eczema, people have been using them to improve skin health for centuries. For example, reishi mushrooms and other fungi like tremella are popular in East Asian culture. They reportedly hydrate skin and prevent collagen breakdown to improve texture and elasticity.
Other mushrooms like chaga may also be helpful. It seems that chaga's benefits for skin include reducing hyperpigmentation as a result of sun damage. Some fungi also produce a substance known as kojic acid. It has various benefits for the skin and is rapidly becoming a popular ingredient in cosmetic products.
Which Mushroom Is Best for Skin?
Choosing the best mushroom for skin comes down to each individual's needs. Some of the most common ingredients in mushroom skincare products include reishi, shiitake, and cordyceps. Tremella, maitake, and chaga mushrooms may also have some benefits.
When making a purchase, it is essential to research the options and find the most appropriate mushroom for your needs. It is also best to choose organic and all-natural products that are safe and gentle on the skin.
Consuming mushroom supplements may also provide some benefits. Many functional fungi have powerful antioxidant effects and can promote a state of inner balance and general wellbeing. And when a person is healthy on the inside, their appearance will generally become more vibrant and radiant too.
Mushroom Benefits for Hair
Haircare is another niche where more people are now turning to natural ingredients. We are steadily realizing that chemical-laden shampoos and conditioners are far from the best route to healthy hair. Could mushrooms have benefits here too?
It seems so, and the idea is not as new as you might think. In Mongolia, people have traditionally used chaga to make shampoo for many years. The main chaga benefits for hair stem from its potent antioxidant effects. It could protect the hair from damage and may even promote follicle growth.
Some companies are also marketing reishi mushrooms for hair growth. This functional fungus is one of the most common ingredients in modern-day mushroom shampoos. Like chaga, it has antioxidant properties, meaning it could promote healthy and lustrous hair.
Consuming mushroom supplements could also be beneficial due to their unique nutritional profile. For example, mushrooms are a good source of vitamin D2, which plays a role in preventing hair loss. They also contain vitamin B5, which promotes hair growth and may prevent early graying.
Which Mushrooms Are Good for Hair Growth?
Promoting healthy growth and preventing hair loss are among the most desirable mushroom benefits for hair.
Reishi and chaga are both strong contenders in this area, although they may not work for everyone. Their effectiveness will depend upon several factors, including age, gender, and general health.
Whether taking mushroom supplements or using mushroom-based shampoos, they are likely to work best alongside good haircare habits. This includes avoiding harsh heat or chemical treatments, hairstyles that stress the hair follicles, and so on. It is also important to eat a nutritionally balanced diet to keep the hair in top condition.
The Bottom Line on Mushroom Benefits for Skin and Hair
Mushrooms are a great source of nutrition and natural antioxidants. Therefore, they are fantastic for the skin and hair.
Reported mushroom benefits for skin include countering the signs of aging, improving moisture and elasticity, and reducing pigmentation. Meanwhile, mushroom benefits for hair may consist of promoting growth for a thick and healthy-looking mane.
Many products are now available, from mushroom creams and shampoos to oral supplements like powders and capsules. Of course, it is essential to eat well and adopt good skincare and haircare habits too. But adding mushrooms could really level up your daily routine.
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Audrey has worked as a registered dietitian for 6 years. She graduated from the University of Florida in 2013 with a Bachelor of Science degree. In 2014 she began an internship with the Veterans Affairs Healthcare System, and was hired as an Outpatient Dietitian following graduation. She started her career counseling a variety of patients with different health concerns and disease states. After a few years into practice, she found her passion was working in cancer care, and has spent the last 4 years specializing in oncology nutrition.
In her practice, Audrey has spent a significant amount of time reviewing literature on herbal and dietary supplements in the cancer care setting. Through her work at Vidacap, she hopes to continue to expand her knowledge and understanding of the benefits of supplements in conjunction with promoting a healthy, balanced diet and management of overall health and well being.