Photo: Jeffrey Westbrook

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Traditional Chinese medicine is big on the healing power of mushrooms, and now cosmetic chemists are tapping the fungi for their antiaging benefits. Varieties such as shiitake and reishi have been studied for their ability to brighten brown spots by stopping melanin (the stuff that gives skin its color) from overaccumulating in skin. Recently, experts have started buzzing about the tremella, or silver ear, mushroom. “Tremella appears to work similarly to hyaluronic acid, hydrating and plumping skin, but with smaller particles that can more easily penetrate,” says Whitney Bowe, MD, clinical assistant professor of dermatology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City. A 2017 study in Molecular Medicine Reports suggests that an extract from it can stimulate collagen-producing cells that have been damaged from aging—which may mean the ingredient can reduce wrinkles, too.

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