Skip to content
Join Life Time
Close-up of a person's face with damp hair falling in front of it

Traditionally associated with herbal medicine and supplements, adaptogens have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for hundreds of years. More recently, they’ve gained popularity for their ability to encourage healthy, glowing skin.

“Adaptogens are herbs, roots, and other plant substances that help our bodies manage stress and restore balance after stressful situations,” says Lucy Miranda, master esthetician at LifeSpa in Bridgewater, N.J. “As skincare ingredients, they can help with antiaging, as well as be anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, and brightening.”

Adaptogens can also help combat pollutants in the environment that negatively affect your skin, according to Jasmine Martinez, licensed esthetician at LifeSpa in Peoria, Ariz. “Adaptogens can act as a defense system against external stress and damage from free radicals in the environment.”

Because of these benefits, many skincare brands are incorporating the range of herbs and botanical extracts that fall into the adaptogenic category into their products. Here, Miranda and Martinez share the three adaptogen ingredients they look for when choosing skincare products.

1. Ginseng

When topically applied via skincare products, ginseng can serve as a guardian against stress and harmful substances for the skin. Ginseng can be a potent countermeasure against endocrine disruptors,” Martinez explains. “Many detergents and beauty products contain these disruptors that can throw our hormones off balance, particularly for those with endocrine disorders like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Ginseng’s adaptogenic properties combat these disruptive chemicals to help keep your hormones in balance — and when your hormones find equilibrium, so does your skin.”

Miranda’s recommended product: Eminence Organics Chocolate Mousse Hydration Mask — available at LifeSpa.

“Ginseng is a key ingredient in this mask, and I love using it on my clients who are looking for both hydration and anti-aging benefits,” Miranda says. “Ginseng is packed with antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, and it helps boost collagen production for healthier and youthful-looking skin.”

2. Medicinal Mushrooms

The health benefits of medicinal mushrooms have been recognized for some time in the cooking and wellness space — and they’re now better understood when it comes to skincare.

Overall, mushrooms in skincare products can help with various concerns, including inflammation, hydration, brightening, and protection against environmental damage,” says Martinez.

These are some of the medicinal mushrooms commonly found in skincare products:

  • Reishi mushrooms are known for their anti-inflammatory properties, which can help soothe irritated skin and reduce redness.
  • Chaga mushrooms are high in antioxidants, which can protect the skin from environmental stressors and premature aging.
  • Shiitake mushrooms contain kojic acid, which helps to brighten and even out skin tone.
  • Snow mushrooms draw moisture into the skin, which can improve hydration levels.

Miranda’s recommended products: Eminence Snow Mushroom Collection and Eminence Birch Water Essence — available at LifeSpa.

These products contain snow and reishi mushrooms as key ingredients,” says Miranda. “The snow mushroom collection helps those with dry skin hold onto hydration and provides antiaging properties. Snow mushrooms are often called ‘moisture magnets’ because they moisturize the skin on the surface while hydrating from the inside-out by pulling moisture deep into the skin.”

3. Licorice Root

When it’s incorporated as a skincare ingredient, licorice root can help create a brighter, more even skin tone.

For those looking to even out skin tone and reduce dark spots or hyperpigmentation, licorice root contains compounds that inhibit tyrosinase activity, helping to reduce the production of melanin in the skin,” Martinez explains. “It can also help reduce redness, itching, and swelling, making it beneficial for those with sensitive or acne-prone skin.”

Miranda’s recommended product: Eminence Bright Skin Licorice Root Serum — available at LifeSpa

I’ve personally seen a brighter complexion with this serum,” Miranda says. “I like to mix a couple of drops into my moisturizer both morning and night. The licorice root and Swiss alpine plant extracts combine with the moisturizer to target multiple issues. And because it’s an extra-strength serum, the moisturizer helps dilute it so it’s less harsh on the skin.”

Jolene Turner
Jolene Turner

Jolene Turner is a beauty writer and social media strategist focusing on the salon, spa, and professional hair care industries. She currently works with the Life Time LifeSpa team on social media marketing and content development. Turner’s background includes working as the senior editor for American Salon, as a head writer for beauty blogs, and as a communications and consumer engagement professional for a global beauty brand. She’s worked with leading beauty brands including Aveda, Hotheads Hair Extensions, HiBar, Wella, and more.

Thoughts to share?

More From Life Time

A LifeSpa waiting room.


Take care of your yourself. Heal, revive and transform with skin, hair, nail and massage services at LifeSpa.

View LifeSpa Services


More Like This

a woman holds sliced fruit by her face

11 Vital Nutrients for Skin Health

By Catherine Guthrie

Here are some of the most important nutrients for skin health, including collagen, probiotics, selenium, and nitric oxide.

a rustic bowl with a variety of mushrooms

A Guide to Medicinal Mushrooms

By Catherine Guthrie

Reishi and Turkey Tail mushrooms are just two of the most popular medicinal mushrooms.

person with wet hair

A Guide to Healthy Skincare for Teenagers

By Jolene Turner

A top esthetician shares simple steps to help your teen learn how to take good care of their skin.

Back To Top