Medicinal mushrooms are a rich source of bioactive molecules, nutraceutic products as well as natural co-formulants and excipients. The fungal cell wall is rich in branched polysaccharides (mainly β-glucans), peptidic residues, chitin or chitosan. A plethora of secondary metabolites with current or potential application include e.g. terpenoids, polyketides, ceramides, polyphenolics, Lergothioneine and others. Mushroom application in cosmetics has been explored for a few decades only, but the increasing demand for bio-based products has stimulated this research field. Strategies against skin aging are the main target of cosmetic and cosmeceutic applications. Based on an integrated approach that pursues psycho-physical wellness, Systemic Aesthetic Medicine focuses on both external (creams, lotions) and internal (food supplements) use of fungal molecules and extracts, besides the introduction in the diet of bulk fungal biomass (nutritional strategy). Far beyond the pure cosmetology, Systemic Aesthetic Medicine in fact focuses on prevention and treatment of skin diseases and cutaneous symtoms. Main properties reported from mushrooms at this concern include: hydration, anti-oxidant, acceleration of skin cells turnover, stimulation of skin bioreparation, antiseptic, immunomodulant.
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