In Eastern Asian cultures, mushrooms are not just a delicious source of sustenance, but also powerful ingredients for nourishing and hydrating skin. Since they’re composed of around 90% water and rich in antioxidants, mushrooms are a great source of moisture and vitamins for the body, and have been adapted into teas, tinctures, and topical skin-care products for their health benefits. Here, a look at one special type of fungus—the snow mushroom—and what it can do for skin of color. 

First up, what are snow mushrooms?

Tremella fuciformis, or snow mushrooms—alternately known as snow ear and white jelly mushrooms for their spongy, gelatinous appearance—are an edible fungus that have been a staple in traditional Chinese medicine and cuisine for thousands of years. You may have seen their frond-like heads swimming in soups or steamed in Cantonese-style stews. 

What are their benefits? And what skin concerns do they address?

Snow mushrooms boast many benefits, including anti-inflammatory, hydrating, and brightening properties. These fungi are regularly compared to hyaluronic acid, the super-powered hydrator that draws moisture to the skin and holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. Research suggests that just one gram of snow mushrooms is 400 times more moisturizing than hyaluronic acid, which is really saying something! 

Cosmetic chemist Ginger King previously told Allure that they’re a great source of kojic acid—a brightening ingredient which targets dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Studies show that their high antioxidant properties are also helpful for fighting free radicals that cause skin damage—improving skin elasticity and minimizing the appearance of wrinkles in the process. 

Using a powerful hydrator like snow mushrooms in your skin-care routine can not only repair your skin barrier and boost hydration in the short- and long-term, but also help you achieve brighter, plumper, and smoother skin. They’re especially useful for anyone with dry skin, hyperpigmentation, or aging skin. 

Why are they beneficial for skin of color? 

Though more research needs to be done on the benefits of snow mushrooms for melanated skin in particular, studies show that the kojic acid found in snow mushrooms is a naturally occuring brightener which works wonders on dark spots and hyperpigmentation (or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation)—a common trait of melanated skin. Snow mushroom’s soothing properties are also helpful for preventing the inflammation that causes PIH in the first place.

Where can snow mushrooms be found in skin-care?

Snow mushrooms are commonly found in hydrating serums and moisturizers, like our Cloud Cushion moisturizer. They’re great as a finishing touch to any skin-care routine, and super helpful in drier climates and seasons like winter when you need an extra boost of moisture!

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