We talk a lot around here about taking care of ourselves from the inside out, but… okay fine, we’ll say it, sometimes we just want to look good–meditation, hydration, and proper sleep hygiene be damned! And while ingesting mushrooms will go a long way in delighting the (wo)man in the mirror thanks to their high levels of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects, mushrooms also have a topical application that can work wonders on its own.
Out, Damned Spot!
As we get older, age and sunspots tend to pop up on our faces like tiny little punishments for staying alive. Caused by an overactive production of melanin brought on by years of sun exposure, these spots are simply places where the melanin has decided to clump together and throw a party. A condition called melasma, common in pregnant women can also cause dark patches to form on the skin. And while a dermatologist might suggest any number of aggressive treatments ranging from chemical peels to laser treatments to cryotherapy, mushrooms provide a much gentler, natural way to show the spots the door.
The Kojic Acid Trip
Kojic acid is a natural byproduct derived from soy sauce, fermented rice (hello sake!), and certain kinds of mushrooms, like Shiitake, Reishi, and Turkey tail. Kojic acid can prevent the formation of tyrosine, an amino acid that aids in the production of melanin. Slow down the production of melanin and voila, lighten the skin and stop the spots.
In addition to its skin lightening benefits, kojic acid also has antifungal and antimicrobial properties that might help it fight fungal infections and treat acne-producing bacteria. Not only can it help you get your acne under control, but it can also treat the scars left behind from previous bouts. How’s that for a one-two punch?
While Shiitake can claim skin brightening bragging rights, nothing beats the lesser-known Tremella mushroom when it comes to hydration. Often compared in effectiveness to hyaluronic acid, Tremella particles can retain more than 500 times their weight in water, allowing it to more easily be absorbed into the skin, diminishing the appearance of wrinkles and promoting elasticity.
While the beauty industry is swamped with products boasting mushroom promises, you’ll want to read those labels carefully to make sure you’re getting the real deal. And while you peruse, consider sipping on one of our delicious mushroom bevvies to get a jumpstart on your skincare routine, from the inside out.