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We all know that mushrooms are a popular vegetable and - whether you like them or not - a staple ingredient in everything from pizza to salad dishes around the world. But you may have noticed that, lately, they’re also popping up in the skincare aisle too.
But here’s the thing - mushrooms in skincare are nothing new. They’ve actually been used for over 2000 years in Chinese medicine, and they have been associated with restoring vitality, reducing inflammation, and addressing skin imbalances.
But do they actually live up to the hype? Let’s dive in.
First things first: what exactly are adaptogens and why are skincare brands incorporating them into their products?
The term adaptogens is basically a fancy word for a family of herbs and botanical extracts that have been used for thousands of years - particularly in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine - to reduce fatigue, decrease the toxic effects of stress, and regulate the body.
Overall, adaptogens work by normalizing the adrenal system and soothing the body, and this regulation can lead to:
The coolest claim about adaptogens? That, as the name suggests, they can actually adapt or customize themselves to suit your body’s needs. It’s a big statement, and to be honest there aren’t many conclusive, large-scale studies to back some of these claims.
But here’s what we do know about certain adaptogens on the market:
There are tons of adaptogens out there, but some of the most popular ones include:
So what exactly is going on when you put these adaptogens on your skin and what is the draw?
Overall, all of these ingredients work to delay cell agingby bolstering your natural defenses against various stressors. There’s a lot that we face every day, including:
These adaptogens work as antioxidants, moisturizers, skin barrier strengtheners, and anti-inflammatory compounds against such stressors.They help improve cellular energy production and help your cells stay healthy.
Well, they were initially used for their lightening benefits (kojic acid, in particular, is a common skin brightener that’s found in shiitake mushrooms). Now, though, they’re more popular for their ability to reduce inflammation and irritationin the skin.
Sounds great already, to be sure, but in the long term, this decrease in inflammation can actually improve wrinkles and ease larger skin concerns like psoriasis or eczema. This is particularly true of therapeutic mushrooms like Finnish Chaga and reishimushrooms, the latter of which can be found in the Daydreamer hyaluronic acid moisturizer.
In short, it works. Particularly if you find products that have one of these adaptogens high on their ingredient lists.
Remember, though, to proceed with caution. Therapeutic mushrooms are ultimately medicinal herbs, so you should always be careful - particularly if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, if you have blood clotting disorders, or if you have certain autoimmune conditions.