The humble mushroom is one of the newest rising superstars in the natural health and food world.
Medicinal varieties of mushrooms have been used for thousands of years in traditional Chinese medicine, and now the rest of the world is starting to realize how amazing they are. These mushrooms are known to boost the immune system, relieve stress, and provide a natural source of energy, among other benefits.
Maybe you’ve heard of their immune-boosting or stress-relieving power, but have you ever thought about mushrooms for skincare? It may sound strange, yet these inconspicuous fungi have some incredible properties for your skin.
And for some truly outstanding health + skin benefits, we turn to one of the best of all mushrooms: turkey tail.
What is Turkey Tail Mushroom?
Turkey tail mushroom (Trametes versicolor) is one of the most powerful medicinal mushrooms you’ll find. It grows in various locations around the world- Asia, North America, Europe- and thrives in wet, temperate woodland areas.
One look at this mushroom and there’s little doubt where its name came from. It has a fan-shaped appearance and is colored with different shades of brown, making it look very much like a miniature turkey tail (with a little imagination).
Turkey tail has a lot of health-boosting properties, but it has been especially studied for its anticancer effects.
The mushroom contains two specific polysaccharides, PSK and PSP, that have both shown cancer-fighting potential. In fact, isolated PSK is so powerful that it’s currently being used as an adjuvant cancer treatment in Japan.
Turkey tail mushroom has several other notable benefits (which we’ll get into), but what most people don’t know about it is that this mushroom fungus can be incredibly beneficial for skin.
A Closer Look at Turkey Tail Mushroom
Before we get into the specifics of turkey tail mushroom for skincare, here’s a look at what makes it so powerful for your health and your skin.
Incredibly Rich in Antioxidants
There’s a lot to celebrate about antioxidants. Their main work is to protect your body from potentially harmful free radicals that cause oxidative stress.
Oxidative stress is a fancy word for damage that occurs at the cellular level. It affects the cells and tissues of your body, and can eventually lead to larger problems like inflammation and chronic disease. There’s also evidence that oxidative stress accelerates the aging process and contributes to age-related problems.
Usually, you can expect brightly colored fruits and vegetables to have the best antioxidant content.
Mushrooms are one exception to this and are surprisingly rich in antioxidants. Turkey tail mushroom, in particular, is packed with flavonoids, phenols, and other powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants can help protect against potentially harmful free radicals that cause oxidative stress, which can lead to inflammation, chronic disease, and age-related problems such as high cholesterol levels, and diabetes, and weak nails. Antioxidants help detox your body from oxidative stress and can have a wide range of health benefits, such as better skin, hair, and overall wellness. They are also known to stimulate cell renewal and promote healthy tissue growth.
Can Help Lower Inflammation
There are different types of inflammation, but they mainly fall into two categories: acute or chronic.
Acute inflammation is usually your body’s response to injury, illness, or some other kind of trauma. It’s actually a part of the healing process your body needs to go through, which makes it something positive.
Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, can be detrimental. It puts a huge stress on your body and is linked to the development of many chronic diseases as well as skin conditions like acne, psoriasis, and plain old skin aging.
Because they combat oxidative stress, the antioxidants in turkey tail mushroom can help with inflammation, particularly the chronic kind.
In fact, flavonoids have been shown in studies to reduce inflammation, combating it down at the molecular level. Quercetin, a specific flavonoid found in turkey tail, even appears to reduce both chronic and acute inflammation.
Boosts Gut Health & Digestion
If you were to consume turkey tail mushroom (either whole or as a powder), you would get two benefits for gut health: dietary fiber and prebiotics.
Also, supplements containing turkey tail mushroom extract are available for people who want to incorporate this mushroom into their diet in a more convenient way.
Many mushrooms, including turkey tail, contain soluble dietary fiber in the form of beta glucan. Fiber, of course, helps to keep your digestion moving. It’s also good for beneficial gut bacteria and even supports heart health.
Along with beta glucan, the PSP (short for polysaccharopeptide) in turkey tail acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics feed the good bacteria living in your digestive tract and are just as important for gut health as probiotics.
With the combination of fiber and prebiotics, turkey tail mushroom is great for your digestion as a whole.
Enhances Immune Function
Medicinal mushrooms are getting a lot of attention as immune-boosters, and turkey tail is no exception.
It’s mainly the polysaccharides in turkey tale that enhance immune function. Beta glucans, for example, help to stimulate your immune system and have shown protective powers against infections caused by bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens.
PSP and PSK also make major contributions to a well-functioning immune system. Some research shows that PSP can even boost a certain type of white blood cell known to fight infections.
Did you know that turkey tail mushroom has been studied for its effects on brain health and weight? The PSK and PSP polysaccharides in the mushroom have been found to improve cognitive function and even reduce the risk of dementia in some studies. So, not only is turkey tail great for your skin and immune system, but it may also help support your brain health, and help in weight management.
Why Turkey Tail Mushroom Is Great for Skincare
Now that you know some of the major benefits of turkey tail mushroom, how does all this translate to skincare? As you’re about to find out, it can help your skin in many ways- and from several angles.
Promotes Healthy-Looking Skin from the Inside Out
If you are interested in consuming turkey tail mushroom for other health reasons, don’t be surprised if you find your skin benefiting as well.
Even though your skin is considered the outside of your body, it’s directly connected to everything on the inside.
One big example of this is what could be called the gut-skin connection. The overall health of your digestion, including your gut microbiome, has a big impact on your skin. This means that any type of digestive malfunction can contribute to skin problems- including acne, dermatitis, and old-looking skin.
Your immune system and skin also have an important connection. Normally, they work together to defend your body from pathogens, but an oversensitive immune system can cause many issues, especially sensitivity and inflammation.
Maybe you can already see where this is going.
By supporting both your digestion and immune system, turkey tail contributes to healthy-looking skin from the inside out. You probably won’t notice a change right away, but the longer you take it, the more time it has to work.
Helps Eliminate Signs of Aging
Turkey tail mushroom can also be incredible for your skin when used topically, mainly because of its antioxidant content.
Free radicals are a big contributor to signs of skin aging. Wrinkles, under-eye bags, thin or sagging skin- these can all come from oxidative stress caused by free radical damage.
Your skin has a natural antioxidant defense system to stop this type of damage in its tracks. Unfortunately, your skin’s antioxidant “network” gets depleted over time, especially if your skin is exposed to chemicals or harsh conditions.
That’s why providing your skin with antioxidants is very important if you want younger-looking skin.
Turkey tail mushroom, of course, is packed with antioxidants and also contains compounds that may lighten the appearance of dark spots. Applying it directly to your skin provides the most antioxidant power.
Wards Off More Signs of Aging
Antioxidants do more than just fight existing signs of skin aging. They also help protect two valuable proteins in your skin- collagen and elastin- to help ward off future signs of aging.
You can think of collagen and elastin as the anti-sag, anti-deflation duo. They work together to keep your skin looking firm, thick, and plump, which is exactly what keeps wrinkles, saggy skin, etc. at bay. When these two proteins start diminishing, that’s when “old-looking” skin shows up.
One big threat to both collagen and elastin is free radicals. Free radicals induce the two enzymes responsible for breaking down these proteins, causing them to gradually decrease.
By providing your skin with antioxidants from turkey tail mushroom, you can help protect the existing collagen and elastin in your skin. This means younger-looking skin for longer!
Offers Powerful Protection
Is there anything antioxidants can’t do?
Along with their protective properties for collagen and elastin, antioxidants also offer your skin extra protection against damage from UV rays. This type of damage, known as photodamage, is yet another contributor to accelerated skin aging.
By applying antioxidant-rich ingredients to your skin and consuming antioxidant-rich foods, you can help minimize photodamage. They aren’t a replacement for sun protection, but they can help protect your skin at a cellular level.
May Reduce the Look of Puffiness & Inflammation
Working on lowering chronic inflammation within your body can really help with the appearance of your skin. Remember, everything is connected, and many inflammatory skin issues can be triggered from the inside.
We already know that turkey tail mushroom can help with chronic inflammation, but it also supports your skin directly.
One of the antioxidants in turkey tail, quercetin, is known to reduce inflammation. This means it can help your skin look less puffy, red, and irritated. Some studies also show that quercetin may have an anti-itch effect and calm the inflammation of damaged skin.
Rejuvenates and Hydrates
Turkey tail mushroom is good for all skin types but it has special benefits for those with a dry, damaged, or mature complexion.
To start with, the quercetin in turkey tail has been shown to potentially help restore skin barrier function. This means it may reduce water loss from your skin and keep it hydrated for longer. Turkey tail is also full of nutrients that nourish skin.
Quercetin has also shown a restorative effect on human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs). HDFs make up a lot of the connective tissue of your skin and are needed for wound healing and collagen and elastin secretion.
Restoring HDFs is important for rejuvenating your skin- and of course, keeping it looking young and healthy!
How Do You Use Turkey Tail Mushroom for Skin?
While you can consume turkey tail mushroom for antioxidants and skin benefits, applying it topically will have a much greater impact.
You may be picturing yourself right now with a face mask of mushroom pieces, but don’t worry! That’s really not the best way to use this super fungi (and is kind of messy).
For the most part, turkey tail is most powerful for skincare as an extract. This concentrates the beneficial compounds in the mushroom and allows it to be easily added to skincare formulas.
Look for turkey tail extract in quality, organic products- especially anti-aging ones…
Rejuvenate the Skin Around Your Eyes with Turkey Tail
If you are tired of old-eyes and frustrating signs of aging, look into the Age-Defying Eye Cream from Purity Woods.
This top quality eye cream contains organic turkey tail mushroom extract, plus other powerful antioxidant ingredients to eliminate the appearance of under-eye bags, dark circles, crow’s feet, etc. The entire formula is 100% USDA Certified Organic, so you won’t be feeding your skin any toxins.
There are also over 20 other pure botanical ingredients that nourish and hydrate the delicate skin around your eyes.
Look into the Age-Defying Eye Cream with organic turkey tail here,and discover the benefits of this wonder mushroom!