You may have heard some buzz about using reishi mushrooms in skincare products. Is there truth behind the hype? What are reishi mushrooms, and how are they used in skincare products? What are the benefits to your skin? How can you add reishi mushroom to your own DIY products?
What are reishi mushrooms?
The reishi mushroom, or ganoderma lucidum, is a fungus that originates in east asia. It grows primarily on the stumps of deciduous trees, especially maple trees. It’s a large, dark mushroom with a shiny black or red colored top and a light colored underside that’s dotted with pores. The fresh reishi is soft, but like cork in texture and quite bitter in flavor, which is why we don’t typically use it in cooking. Reishi is usually used in the form of teas, powders, and extracts.
What is reishi used for?
The reishi mushroom has been used in folk medicine for centuries. In China, the mushroom was used in herbal medicine to support respiratory health and to ease the mind. Scientific studies on the composition and effects of the reishi mushroom have had promising results.
Studies show that polysaccharides contained in reishi may be anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, and immunostimulating in nature, meaning that the reishi mushroom may reduce inflammation, help control blood glucose, and boost immune function.
Reishi also contains more than 100 triterpenes, a subgroup of naturally occurring compounds found to have beneficial health effects. Of those 100, 50 appear to be unique to the reishi mushroom. These compounds are what give reishi mushrooms their bitter taste, but they may also be responsible for helping to manage blood cholesterol and may function as antioxidants.
In addition, some report that regular consumption of reishi extract or powder reduce the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Is reishi good for your skin?
So there’s evidence that reishi has health benefits inside your body, but what about your skin?
It turns out that reishi’s anti-inflammatory properties may not be limited to the inside of your body. Reishi extract can reduce inflammation in the skin, and provide antioxidant protection from environmental stressors.
That means that the regular topical application of reishi extract can reduce inflammation and may help protect against the visible signs of aging. There are also humectant compounds in reishi that can help introduce moisture to the skin, helping to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How to use reishi for skin care
If you want to use reishi mushroom in your skincare routine, you’ll want to apply it in the form of a serum or lotion.
Serums are typically not moisturizers. They’re water or oil based preparations that include a high concentration of active ingredients. They’re designed to absorb into the skin quickly, so oil-based serums are generally made with lightweight carrier oils. Because serums are highly concentrated, you only need a few drops to treat your whole face.
Lotions, on the other hand, are an emulsion of water and oils. They moisturize by introducing water into the outer layer of your skin, and then establishing a lipid barrier to help prevent that moisture from evaporating. Lotions can also be used to deliver active ingredients to your skin.
Which should you use? It depends on your skin type and your personal preference. If you have particularly dry skin, a lotion or facial cream might be the most beneficial for you. If you have very oily skin, a water-based serum might be the best choice.
To use a lotion or serum on your face, just wash your face with soap and water first, then towel dry, and apply your serum or lotion to your clean skin. Serums are usually dispensed from a bottle with a dropper cap, because you use only a small amount at a time. Moisturizers and lotions, on the other hand, are often packaged in pump bottles or small tubs.
Our Water Soluble Reishi Mushroom Extract can be used to create both serums and lotions, so how you use it is really up to you. That kind of creative freedom and customization is one of the joys of DIY skincare products. We have serum and lotion bases that will make your reishi skincare project easy, too. To get started using mushrooms in your skincare routine, check out our Reishi Mushroom Face Cream Project.