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What Research Says About Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Skin

Reishi is one of the best-known mushrooms in the world and has been used for its medicinal properties for over 2,000 years. People believe that it possesses magical powers (not in the psychedelic sense) and it has been nicknamed the “mushroom of immortality“.

Reishi mushrooms, also known as Lingzhi or Ganoderma lucidum, are adaptogenic fungi that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and other components that possess cancer-fighting (alongside standard treatments), immune-boosting, and calming properties. However, they can also be used as a part of skincare and research has discovered that their use can improve skin health in multiple ways.

Here, I’ll dig into the research about these remarkable skin health benefits and show you how reishi can upgrade your skincare routine. 

What Research Says About Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Skin

The hard and wrinkly reishi mushrooms might not be the ingredient you would trust to give your skin a soft complexion. However, the components within this questionably looking mushroom hold some skincare magic. 

Reishi mushrooms are rich in beneficial bioactive compounds, antioxidants, minerals, and enzymes. Polysaccharides, the primary biological component, are sugars that have antioxidant, anti-virus, anti-tumor, and immune-boosting functions. These characteristics result in anti-aging effects and polyphenols can act as antioxidants that help protect the skin from oxidative damage. 

Research has discovered that reishi can fend off wrinkles, provide moisture, reduce skin discoloration, improve skin quality, and treat skin disease

Let’s take a closer look at the four main reishi mushroom skin benefits backed up by science.  

Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Skin Aging 

The ancient Chinese Taoists regarded reishi mushroom as the “elixir of eternal youth” and its anti-aging properties are well studied and scientifically proven.  

Aged skin has poorer elasticity and softness, excessive pigment sedimentation, and increased dryness which leads to it becoming wrinkled and flabby. Free radical accumulation and oxidative stress are considered the top reasons for skin aging. and some examples of sources that accelerate the aging process include environmental pollutants, stress, UV rays, and toxic ingredients found in makeup.

Reishi mushrooms contain several powerful antioxidants that fight free radicals and help maintain the skin’s youthfulness. The main bioactive components with anti-aging functions include polysaccharides, peptides, and triterpenes.

In addition, the high content of polysaccharides helps protect the skin from oxidative stress and accelerates skin repair. The many skin-protective components of reishi mushroom can aid in reducing wrinkles, skin inflammation, puffiness, and free radical damage. 

Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Acne

If you’ve experienced acne, chances are people have probably recommended that you try a product that contains reishi mushrooms. This fungus is a hormonal regulator that has anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties, making it a wonderful natural form of treatment.    

The anti-inflammatory properties of reishi mushrooms help soothe acne inflammations as the triterpene molecules from the mushrooms can interact with the immune system in an effective way that helps combat inflammation.

In addition to being anti-inflammatory, reishi mushroom has been found to inhibit 5-alpha reductase, an enzyme responsible for converting testosterone to DHT. DHT can increase symptoms of androgen excess, like hormonal acne.  

Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Skin Lightening

Reishi mushroom is included in many cosmetic products due to its skin-lightening properties. The reishi mushroom glow is real and it gives the skin a lighter, smoother complexion.

Skin lightening often refers to lightening up areas of the skin that may be prone to freckles, scarring, dark spots, or dark circles under the eyes. Reishi mushrooms have anti-tyrosinase activity which can inhibit a melanin-producing enzyme called tyrosinase. This anti-tyrosinase activity reduces pigmentation and lightens the skin. 

Reishi mushrooms are being used in many facial mask cosmetics as a tyrosinase inhibitor. However, few tyrosinase inhibitors are used in cosmetics for their skin-lightening properties as many are toxic and potential hazards.

For safety reasons, researchers are actively trying to find alternative and natural anti-melanogenic agents that have no negative side effects. Reishi mushroom seems to be a safe option to use, but more research is still needed. 

Reishi Mushroom Benefits For Skin Hydration 

Reishi mushroom aids in improving skin hydration through its water-retaining abilities.  

Reishi’s hydrating powers are derived from hard-working hydrators (beta-glucans) that help the body synthesize something called ceramide. Ceramide makes up the protective layer that runs over the skin responsible for keeping moisture in and stresses out. A decreased ceramide content is associated with dry and barrier-disrupted skin.  

The polysaccharides in reishi mushrooms also play an important role in the skin’s hydration. This group of antioxidant glucose molecules attract water from the environment and retain it for the skin. Basically, they serve as humectants with deeply hydrating benefits that are critical to the moisture barrier and skin health.  

Final Thoughts

Reishi mushrooms have been utilized for over 2,000 years. Despite their hard and wrinkly appearance, these mushrooms are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and other components which help support and maintain skin health.

Its beneficial bioactive compounds reduce wrinkles and fine lines, skin inflammation, puffiness, and protect against free radical damage. Additionally, they reduce acne thanks to their anti-inflammatory and hormone-regulating properties, may lighten the skin through anti-tyrosinase activity, and keep skin hydrated.


Make sure to read our article on the best chaga and reishi mushroom supplements!


Editor’s note: we are regularly updating this review. If you see any problems, weird interpretations of the data, or just want to say hi, please reach out to hello@the-unwinder.com.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

About the author

Tina is a nutritionist that started writing in hopes of helping people become the healthiest version of themselves. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in Nutrition, she went on to gain experience in both clinical and healthcare settings. As she continues to expand her knowledge, she strives to educate others.

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