This Weird Skin-Care Ingredient Is Being Named Nature’s Best Hydrator

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In the world of skin care, moisture is the foundation for all things brighter and younger-looking. So when a new hydrating powerhouse hits the scene, it’s worth taking note. The latest ingredient generating buzz? Snow mushroom, a naturally occurring ingredient that’s said to hold almost 500 times its water, quell free radical–damage and surge collagen production. But is it worth the hype?

Montclair, NJ dermatologist Jeanine Downie, MD explains that the appeal behind the humectant is that, unlike hyaluronic acid, it’s all-natural. “The snow mushroom’s particles are smaller than those of hyaluronic acid, so it is reported that they penetrate the skin better,” she adds, noting that clinical studies are still needed to back this claim.

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However, Holly Cutler, “The Skin Saint” and founder of FACE Skincare~Medical~Wellness in Bingham Farm, MI says snow mushroom could potentially be a great option if you’re looking for moisture and antioxidant properties, but when it comes to being a moisture magnet, hyaluronic acid still takes the top spot. “Almost 50 percent of our body’s hyaluronic acid make up is found in the skin, so it’s natural, safe and holds twice the amount of moisture that snow mushroom can.”

The ingredient’s long list of benefits is what led Holly Harding, founder of Hawaiian skin care brand O’o Hawaii, to include the ingredient in her brand’s Rose Quartz Hydrating + Firming Mask ($130). “We wanted to create the ultimate hydrating solution, so we knew we needed to include snow mushroom. According to clinical studies, it locks in hydration at a rate 1,000 times greater than sodium hyaluronate, literally creating a barrier so that moisture cannot escape,” Harding says.

Other products boasting the moisturizing ingredient: Volition Beauty’s Snow Mushroom Water Serum ($62), a superlight emulsion that sinks right into skin, and Joanna Vargas’ Euphora Face Mask ($75), a luxe sheet mask with one goal in mind: bringing irritated, red skin back to its peak hydration level.

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