“Mushrooms have many amazing benefits for the skin,” board-certified dermatologist Rebecca Marcus, M.D., FAAD, founder of Maei MD, tells mbg. Mushroom extract is classified as a humectant, which means it pulls water into the skin—similar to the function of an equally buzzy ingredient, hyaluronic acid.
Snow mushrooms in particular contain polysaccharides (aka plant sugars) that coat the skin in a thin film. This film binds to skin cells and also binds to water, which brings hydration into the skin, Marcus explains. Hence, why you should apply humectants like this one to damp skin.
Beyond a plumping hydration boost, “The polysaccharides found in snow mushrooms have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-radiation properties,” she says. Snow mushrooms also contain kojic acid, a natural and gentle acid that helps brighten the complexion and fight dark spots by inhibiting melanin synthesis, Marcus says.
But snow mushrooms aren’t the only skin-loving shroom out there. In fact, shiitake mushrooms are an equally beneficial fungi. “Similar to the snow mushroom, it is a potent source of kojic acid and therefore acts as a brightener. It also boasts stellar antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hydrating properties,” Marcus says.
All in all, snow mushrooms are multi-functional humectants that work wonders to hydrate, brighten, and protect the skin—which is why they’re so desirable for topical use. Not sure where to find shrooms in skin care? Here are a few of our favorite products: