Fungi—an unusual source for cosmetics (2010)


Fungal Diversity volume 43, pages1–9 (2010)



Fruiting bodies of some wild and cultivatable mushrooms contain medicinal compounds which are being used in traditional medicines and cosmetics. There are numerous potential medicinal products from mushrooms that could be used in cosmeceuticals (products applied topically, such as creams, lotions, and ointments) or nutricosmetics (products that are ingested orally). This paper provides a review of the fungi presently used in cosmeceuticals and nutricosmetics with some examples of cosmetic types and products. Species presently used, or patented to be used, in cosmeceuticals and nutricosmetics include Agaricus subrufescens (= A. blazei, A. brasiliensis) Choiromyces maeandriformis Cordyceps sinensis, Ganoderma lucidum, Grifola frondosa, Hypsizygus ulmarium, Inonotus obliquus, Lentinula edodes, Polyporus spp., Trametes versicolor, Tremella fuciformis, Tuber spp., Schizophyllum commune and many other lesser used taxa. Cosmetics incorporating fungi include those for skin care such as anti-aging, anti-oxidants, skin revitalizing, skin whitening and hair products. The mushrooms presently used are traditionally known to produce medicinal compounds and thus were the first to be incorporated in cosmetic applications. There are, however, numerous other mushroom species that are untested, undescribed or not yet cultivatable and that have huge potential for use in the cosmetic industry. Some fungi are also used in biotransformation and the products such as lactic acid and ceramides could potentially be used in cosmetics.


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Ganoderma lucidum, a species of the Basidiomycetes class, has been attracting international attention owing to its wide variety of biological activities and great potential as an ingredient in skin care cosmetics including “skin-whitening” products.

Mushrooms have been regarded as a traditional source of natural bioactive compounds for centuries and have recently been developed as potential ingredients in the cosmetic industry.


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