Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) is one of the most long-utilized functional mushrooms in the world, dating back to 2000 years in ancient Chinese medicine. It’s also considered an adaptogen, which means it can help your body adapt more quickly to stressors, and provides amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
The benefits of reishi and other medicinal mushrooms come from the presence of polysaccharides, most notably beta-glucans, which have anti-oxidative effects on the body. Simply put, these molecules can assist the body in preventing cell damage caused by environmental exposures, sickness, and aging (1).
The beneficial compounds in reishi have several positive health benefits for humans, including:
For those interested in holistic and natural wellness practices, reishi can be a fantastic tool to help support overall health and has even been deemed the “mushroom of immortality.” More recently, the benefits of reishi on skin health have been studied and found to have amazing potential for natural skin products in the future.
In this article, we’ll break down all of the benefits of reishi mushrooms for skin health, along with a few examples of ways to start incorporating reishi into your skincare routine.
The word “antioxidant” is thrown around quite a lot these days, frequently alongside other buzzwords like “superfood,” “free radicals,” and “adaptogen.” Oxidation is a process that occurs both naturally in the body and as a result of environmental exposures and aging. This process creates a compound called free radicals, which can cause damage to your cells if too much builds up over time.
Antioxidants (as the name suggests) are enzymes that can reduce the negative impacts of this oxidation process by neutralizing free radicals. Fruits, vegetables, and mushrooms like reishi can have antioxidative effects on the body and improve overall wellness by reducing cell damage.
So, what does this mean for your skin? To start, reishi mushrooms can help protect your skin from cell damage caused by sun damage and other environmental pollution. It also can have anti-inflammatory effects, such as soothing irritations of sensitive skin while brightening and smoothing out the skin’s appearance.
While the term anti-aging is often misguided (we can’t really turn back the clock), reishi’s antioxidant properties can achieve the illusion of anti-aging by reducing some of the visible signs of aging in the skin. Through the antioxidative process mentioned before, reishi can help protect against cell damage caused by long-term environmental exposures and cell replication that naturally happens over time. Using Reishi supplements and creams regularly has been found to reduce common symptoms such as fine lines, dark spots, and wrinkles.
Along with acting as an antioxidant, beta-glucans are also great at storing water. This means that consuming beta-glucan-rich foods like reishi can lead to the glowing, hydrated skin we all strive for. In fact, beta-glucans have been shown to have 20% more hydrating power than hyaluronic acid, another chemical commonly used for its skin-hydrating properties. Next time you plan to pick up a hyaluronic-based serum or cream, try out a reishi product instead and see the intense hydrating effects it can have on your skin!
Since reishi positively impacts our immune system, it can help with common issues of acne and scarring. This ability to reduce inflammation in the body and skin is one of the reasons it is commonly suggested as an acne treatment option.
Suppose you’ve ever struggled with hormonally caused acne. In that case, Reishi may be able to help, as studies have shown that it can aid the body in regulating certain hormones (3). Because these specified benefits involve healing your skin from the inside out (starting from the immune and nervous systems), we recommend using a reishi mushroom extract rather than an external skin product.
There are so many ways to begin incorporating reishi into your skincare routine. As everyone’s skin journey is unique, you might want to start by testing out one product at a time and see how they affect your skin. If you’re searching for a good place to start, there are a few products that we recommend for all your reishi skincare needs.
These reishi products are applied externally on the skin in the form of cleansers, serums, masks, and creams. Here are a few options at a variety of price ranges to start with:
Perfect for hydrating damaged and dry skin ($18 for the trial size, $58 / 2oz.)
Great for healing irritated and sensitive skin ($62 / 2oz.)
For removing dead skin and stimulating collagen ($37 with subscription)
An affordable cleanser free of parabens and fragrances ($11)
If you want to make sure that the ingredients used are high quality and natural, DIY skincare could be an ideal route for you to take. Here are a few relatively simple recipes to try out.
A soothing DIY cream that uses a dual-extraction method (meaning you’ll get the full range of benefits from this cream!)
Super simple 3-ingredient DIY to help with redness, acne, and visible signs of aging.
This recipe uses both reishi and tremella powder to create a potent hydrating cream
Supplements are a great way to heal your skin from the inside out. Best when taken daily over time, as the benefits can build up in your body when taken on a consistent basis. Here are a few options to start with:
This tincture utilizes the double extraction method to get the most nutrients out of the mushroom and can be taken daily to achieve maximum benefits
A pure mushroom extract powder that can be incorporated into teas, smoothies, and recipes
A daily supplement that you can take at any time, with or without food
Along with having incredible health benefits for the body, reishi supplements and skincare have been found to do wonders for skin texture and overall health. Reducing signs of aging, reducing inflammation and acne, and improving skin texture and hydration are some of the many benefits associated with reishi. Whether taken as a supplement, added into meals, incorporated into your skincare routine, or used in a DIY skincare recipe, experimenting with reishi can help give you the bright, hydrated skin you’ve been looking for!