Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Chaga Mushrooms: The Secret to Unlocking Glowing Skin

Written by: Madeleine Hartmann



Time to read 9 min

There is no shortage of skin advice on the internet. Cutting through the clickbait titles and sponsored endorsements can be challenging. We’re here to present scientifically-backed evidence on why you should try Chaga Mushrooms not only for their benefits for the skin, but for their antioxidant, cancer cell fighting, and inflammation-slashing capabilities.

What are Chaga Mushrooms?

Chaga medicinal mushrooms are a type of fungus that is black in color and grows on birch trees in the northern hemisphere. They typically thrive in colder weather. Their scientific name is Inonotus Obliquus, and these mushrooms have been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years for a variety of ailments. Their use was first recorded in the 5th century BC by Hippocrates, in his book that ultimately garnered him the title of “the father of medicine.” China and Eastern Europe used chaga mushrooms as early as the 12th century by making Chaga mushroom tea. They were often used in combination with other mushrooms for more widespread effects. They were used to treat different ailments in every country, such as:

  • Pain relief
  • Inflammation
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Free-radical-related diseases like diabetes, accelerated aging, nervous system disorders, and even heart problems
  • Inhibiting the spread of HCV and HIV
  • Chaga also has protective effects against cancer, as it not only stops tumor growth, it can also kill cancer cells
  • Sanitization: Chaga mushrooms have antiseptic and anti-bacterial effects 

There are many ways to extract and use the broad spectrum of 16 active ingredients that Chaga contains. 

Why is Chaga Good for You? 

The health benefits of Chaga Mushrooms include applications from skincare, to cancer treatment, to soap, so let’s talk about how it works. 

Antioxidant Effects

If you’ve ever heard of free radicals, you’ll know they aren’t good for you. Free radicals are charged molecules produced by your body as a byproduct of many metabolic processes. Free radicals can also come from carcinogens, which are cancer-causing substances you may come into contact with, like radiation, tobacco smoke, UV rays, or toxic chemicals. When free radicals oxidize important components of the cell, those components lose their ability to function normally, and the accumulation of such damage may cause the cell to die. 

Chaga Mushroom extracts are a known anti-oxidant, scavenging those damaging free radical particles, bonding to them, rendering them unable to mutate or alter your cells, and tagging them for removal. Accumulated oxidative stress is the root cause of many pathologies like Parkinson’s, Alzheimer's, autoimmune disorders, cancers, and Huntington’s. Chaga extract inhibits oxidative DNA damage, offering protection against these diseases. 

Chaga mushrooms

Cancer Suppression

Regarding its anti-cancer effects, there are a few ways this chaga extract may inhibit the growth of cancer cells and mobilize the immune system against them. For growth inhibition, Chaga can modify the expression of genes in tumors, causing cell death in malignant (cancerous) cells. Extract of Chaga also decreases the ability of cancer cells to spread into other parts of the body and halts tumor growth. This is one of the most researched applications of taking chaga by mouth and has been verified via several studies that it has positive actions against colon, ovarian, lung, cervical, pancreatic, and liver cancer specifically. Studies suggest that Chaga is likely helpful against all types of cancer and may prevent cancer if taken before it develops, pending more testing.

Anti-Inflammatory Effects 

Inflammation is a broad term used to describe your immune system’s response to something it deems foreign or potentially harmful. Inflammation is a critical body process that can protect you from bacteria or help heal an injury. When inflammation becomes chronic, that’s when it becomes a problem. Chronic inflammation is an altered response, lasting weeks or even months, which can interrupt or alter many bodily processes like digestion or joint function. To activate this inflammatory response, your body produces chemical messengers called pro-inflammatory cytokines. 

Chaga mushrooms work to decrease the production of these cytokines when they are being released chronically, not when appropriately responding to an acute stimulus like an injury. These medicinal mushrooms may significantly reduce inflammation, which has the potential to improve outcomes in inflammatory diseases such as Chron’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and COPD.  

Chaga mushrooms

Viral and Bacterial Protection

Viruses are infections that hijack your cells to use your cellular machinery to operate and reproduce, spreading the infection. Chaga mushrooms exhibit antiviral effects, protecting your cells from viral infiltration and effectively suppressing their ability to replicate and spread. It may even provide a protective measure that protects your cells from infection in the first place from viruses like HIV, HSV, or Flu variants.

Chaga has bacterial suppression abilities that circumvent many problems that come with taking an antibiotic for an extended period. Antibiotics kill microbes even if they are useful, like in the case of your gut microbiome. The discovery of these effects of Chaga extracts represents a new avenue for bacterial treatments in the age of antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases.

Insulin Sensitivity and Cholesterol Control

Chaga mushrooms help the body maintain optimal blood sugar levels by reducing oxidative stress and repairing the structure of beta cell islets within the pancreas. This can help to restore function to the pancreas in the case of pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, as well as healing damage from bouts of hypo/hyperglycemia. 

It is by this same pathway that Chaga extract can help to control cholesterol levels. People with Type 2 Diabetes are typically obese and have high cholesterol levels in circulation. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the type of cholesterol that occludes your arteries, which is a leading cause of heart attack. Chaga increases the amount of High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL, “good” cholesterol) in your cardiovascular system and helps the liver transport and remove that ”bad” LDL cholesterol, decreasing risk factors for Heart Disease and Heart Attack.

Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms for Skin Health

Applying Chaga to the skin improves the texture, protection, appearance, and underlying structure. Chaga mushroom extract inhibits oxidative stress and enhances barrier function to create an optimal environment in which your skin thrives. 

Sun Protection Factor

UV damage from the sun is the number one cause of skin wrinkles, spots, and discolorations. Dermatologists always recommend using a broad-spectrum sunscreen so that both UV-A and UV-B radiation can be blocked from damaging the skin. 

UV-A radiation penetrates the skin more deeply than UV-B, affecting damage to underlying structures. UV-A radiation has the capability to strip the dermis of its anti-oxidation capabilities, damaging the barrier and allowing for more accumulated damage over time. UV-A radiation can also change gene expression, encoding for a protein that signals the body to attack its own cellular matrix. This means that the elastin and collagen in your skin degrade, giving rise to a saggy or dull external appearance. Chaga protects the skin from UV-A mutagenic effects, but it is not yet known if it can restore the skin scaffold to its previous state. 

Chaga extract contains betulinic acid (BA), a beneficial compound for giving your skin protection against free radical damage and aging. Some in-vitro studies have show that BA stimulates the production of collagen, but the real-world effect of these findings are still unknown.

UV-B radiation affects primarily the top layers of our skin, the epidermis. UV-B radiation damages your skin’s protective barrier, increasing the activity of inflammatory enzymes, decreasing the skin’s lipid content (giving skin its “bouncy” appearance), and downregulating genes that code for DNA protection and repair. UV-B radiation is also what causes the development of sunspots. Chaga extracts protect against future damage and have an additional regenerative effect on the skin’s damaged barrier. 

Chaga mushrooms

Anti-Aging Powerhouse 

There are a lot of factors at play when it comes to the aging appearance of your skin. We know that many effects come from sun damage, but the deterioration of underlying structural elements also plays a role in the formation of wrinkles. Chaga helps to remodel structural proteins under the skin, giving it a bouncy, full look that decreases the appearance of wrinkles. Chaga’s capacity to repair the skin’s barrier restores a youthful look, increasing hydration and decreasing a dry or dull look to the skin.

Chaga also decreases the presence of pro-inflammatory cytokines, a messenger that activates an inflammatory response. Inflamed skin is more delicate and prone to damage. Symptoms of inflamed skin are:

  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Itching
  • Rashes 
  • Dull appearance

One way Chaga decreases inflammation is by protecting your keratinocytes, the outermost layer of your skin, preventing the expression of genes associated with aging

Acne-Fighting Capabilities

The benefits of Chaga for acne are twofold; on one hand, we have its ability to repair the skin’s barrier, fortifying it against potential stressors, dirt, pollution, and damage. A damaged skin barrier causes abnormal keratinization (“skin building”) secondary to lack of ceramides and moisture, all of which has been shown to contribute directly to the pore blockage that contributes to acne. Your skin’s barrier also keeps the surface of your skin hydrated, reducing the buildup of dried or dead skin cells on the surface. As part of its barrier protection effect, Chaga upregulates the production of hyaluronic acid, increasing moisturization effects and giving visible improvements in skin texture. 

On the other hand, we have the antibacterial effect in which Chaga’s active ingredients suppress the growth of acne-causing bacteria called C.Acnes. By inhibiting this growth, it prevents the formation of new surface acne, like blackheads and whiteheads. 

Chaga mushrooms

How to Use Chaga for Your Skin

Chaga is best used for the skin when it is applied topically via a cream or serum. The chaga works with your epidermis to help rebuild your skin’s protective barrier. At the same time that the barrier is being repaired, the bacteria that causes acne, P. Acnes, is suppressed, inhibiting the formation of new acne. As chaga soaks into the skin and passes below the epidermis layer, it begins modifying gene expression to rebuild damaged structural elements. These structural elements include fat content within the skin, elastin proteins, and collagen proteins for better skin support and a bouncy and hydrated look.


If you’d like to reap the other benefits of Chaga Mushrooms beyond its skin-fortifying abilities, common ways of consuming Chaga are in herbal tea, or it is also available as a supplement pill. There is widespread evidence for Chaga’s capacity to suppress several forms of cancer and reduce the effects of free radical damage to your DNA. 

At this time, the only known side effects of Chaga mushrooms are that they can cause kidney stones in people predisposed to kidney stones or having kidney disease. This side effect is called Chaga mushroom-induced oxalate nephropathy. Talk to your doctor before taking Chaga daily if you have any underlying conditions. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Chaga Mushroom Benefits for the Skin?

Chaga mushrooms protect the skin from UV rays as well as repairing damage to the skin’s surface and underlying structure to reveal younger and bouncier-looking skin. 

Can Chaga Help With Acne?

Yes! Chaga helps with acne by suppressing the bacterial growth that causes acne as well as repairing your skin’s protective barrier to fend off other causes of acne. 

Does Chaga Help With Wrinkles?

Yes, Chaga has both protective and reparative effects on wrinkles. It protects your skin from UV rays, repairs the skin’s barrier, and modifies gene expression to rebuild the underlying structural proteins of your skin.

What Are Chaga’s Major Effects on the Rest of the Body?

Chaga acts as an antioxidant, suppresses tumor growth, bolsters your immune system, improves insulin sensitivity, decreases inflammation, and inhibits the activity of harmful bacteria and viruses. 

Written by:


Madeleine Hartmann

Madeleine is a Medical Copywriter who was born in Upstate New York. She graduated from Temple University with a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology in 2019. She is a digital nomad who travels full-time. 

Linked In

Reviewed by:


Felipe Partarrieu-Mejías, MD IFAAD

Felipe is a hardworking and self-motivated dermatologist with a great passion for skin diseases and therapeutics. He has experience in specialised clinical care, researching scientific literature, and writing scientific articles.

Linked In

Related articles

Leave a comment