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What is Tremella Extract? 5 Fantastic Skin Benefits

Mushrooms are finally getting recognition as a true superfood. Varieties like reishi and chaga, which have long been used in traditional Chinese medicine, have been coming into their own around the world as health-promoting functional foods.

But as it turns out, mushrooms aren’t just for eating. They also have outstanding benefits for skincare.

Turkey tail mushroom is an excellent example of this, as is another emerging fungi with multiple skin benefits: Tremella fuciformis.

This mushroom has been around for a long time but has just started to make its way into skincare. Here’s what you need to know about it, including what research has to say about its potential.

Mighty Mushrooms: A Look at Tremella Fuciformis

Though you may not guess it when you look at them, mushrooms are nutritional powerhouses. They are packed full of fiber, multiple antioxidants, B vitamins, and various minerals. Those grown in the wild or under UV lights are also a good source of vitamin D.

In certain cultures, specific mushrooms are valued as much for their health-boosting properties as they are for being a source of food.

You may recognize the names of some of these ‘medicinal’ or ‘functional’ mushrooms: reishi, chaga, cordyceps, lion’s mane, turkey tail. They have outstanding benefits, including combating free radical damage and inflammation, boosting immune function, and potentially fighting cancer.

Tremella fuciformis hasn’t achieved the same status as these other, more well-researched shrooms, but it could be on its way toward doing so.

Skincare Wonder of the Past

tremella skin benefits food

Also known as snow mushroom, white fungus, silver ear, and white jelly mushroom, Tremella is an edible fungi that typically grows on the dead branches of broadleaf trees. It can also be cultivated and forms a coral-like shape with a white, semi-translucent color.

Tremella is extremely important to traditional Chinese cuisine and medicine and has long been used for skin benefits.

Interestingly, the mushroom is most often an ingredient in sweet dishes and desserts— including dessert soup— because of its gelatinous texture. It does find its way into savory dishes as well. Unlike other fungi, Tremella doesn’t taste like much and usually soaks up the flavor of other ingredients.

In traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), snow mushroom is considered a longevity food. It’s used to nourish the lungs, kidneys, heart, brain, and stomach, and is a tonic for qi (energy) and the immune system.

Because of its jelly-like nature, Tremella is recommended by TCM practitioners to clear heat and dryness from the body and to replenish fluids. It has even been nicknamed the ‘beauty mushroom’, which is evidence of its use for skincare, partly because it adds moisture to the body.

In fact, an ancient imperial concubine known as Yang Guidei is believed to have used snow mushroom to maintain her glowing, youthful complexion.

Today, this mushroom that was once reserved for royalty can be used as an extract in skincare products for hydrated, youthful-looking skin.

Tremella Skin Benefits: The New Hyaluronic Acid?

Tremella fuciformis has gained a lot of attention in the skincare world because it appears to act much like a very popular ingredient known as hyaluronic acid (HA). Some believe it may even have an edge over HA.

To understand why this is so exciting, here’s a look at what hyaluronic acid does for your skin and how Tremella compares.

What Hyaluronic Acid Is & How it Works

Hyaluronic acid is a natural substance produced by your body. It has a gel-like consistency and is found in your skin, tissues, and joints.

Perhaps the most important characteristic of hyaluronic acid is its ability to retain moisture. In skincare terms, HA is known as a humectant, which means it pulls in and holds onto water. It can even bind over a thousand times its own weight in water!

Because it hydrates, hyaluronic acid is needed by your skin to keep its volume and plumpness. In this regard, it’s much like the anti-aging proteins collagen and elastin.

Unfortunately, hyaluronic acid production declines in your body with age. Add to this a simultaneous decline of collagen and elastin and you get a recipe for dry, old-looking skin.

To address this decline in your skin, HA can be used in several ways.

It’s available as a supplement with the intention of restoring levels from the inside out. Topical products with HA can be used to moisturize skin and decrease signs of aging. Some dermatologists even offer hyaluronic acid filler injections.

Downsides of Hyaluronic Acid

Though hyaluronic acid has significant potential benefits, it does have a few downsides. This is why discovering a new ingredient, like Tremella, with similar skin benefits could be huge.

For some people, the biggest downside is how HA is produced. Though it’s a natural substance in your body, for supplements and skincare, hyaluronic acid is almost always made in a lab. (It used to be ‘naturally’ extracted from rooster combs, so lab production might be a step up.)

The standard process of creating HA is through microbial fermentation of Streptococcus bacteria. This method has come under scrutiny because Streptococcus strains are known pathogens that produce several endotoxins. For reference, endotoxins are released from specific types of bacteria and contribute to a number of diseases.

New techniques using non-pathogenic bacteria are being explored but haven’t become mainstream yet.

Along with questionable production methods, there is sometimes a question mark over the effectiveness of topical HA products. Hyaluronic acid molecules are not always the same size. The larger ones are too big to penetrate deeply into your skin, meaning they only provide surface hydration.

Smaller HA molecules do seem able to penetrate more layers of skin but can’t hold as much water. There are also some newer nano hyaluronic acid products that appear to be effective, although nano-technology remains controversial.

What Tremella Extract Brings to the Table

For years, snow mushrooms have been consumed to boost skin health and hydration. Now, it appears that there are similar skin benefits when using Tremella topically.

Most notably, Tremella fuciformis contains long-chain sugars known as polysaccharides. These polysaccharides are thought to work in almost the same way as hyaluronic acid— by pulling in moisture and binding it to the skin. One study even concluded that they “could significantly increase the moisture content of the skin epidermis.”

Though they haven’t been compared side-by-side yet, Tremella’s humectant properties seem to be just as powerful as those of HA.

In fact, Tremella extract may prove to have the edge because its particles are smaller, which allows them to penetrate your skin more easily, AND it’s a more cost-effective ingredient.

While clinical trials are needed to truly determine the effectiveness of Tremella, you can see why it’s already gaining momentum as a natural, non-toxic, HA-like ingredient.

Other Tremella Skin Benefits

Good for All Skin Types, Particularly Dry Skin

The main benefit of Tremella in skincare is no surprise: It’s excellent for those with dry skin.

There’s no doubt that water is an essential part of your skin’s makeup.

Skin cells need it to function properly, and it helps your complexion to look bright, plump, and healthy. Those who have dry, flaky skin usually suffer from one or both of two main factors: a lack of moisture-pulling agents (aka a water shortage) and an impaired lipid barrier that allows water to evaporate.

By attracting and binding water to your skin, Tremella is able to significantly help with the first issue. It can provide much needed hydration, particularly when used in the form of a moisturizing cream.

However, because the extract won’t add oil to your skin, it can still be used by those with normal or oily skin. Most skin types react well to its gentle nature, including sensitive complexions.

Helps Moisture Stay in Your Skin

Providing your skin with hydration is one thing. Keeping that hydration locked in is another challenge, particularly if your skin leans to the dry side.

Usually, turning to a skin-protective oil like jojoba or pumpkin seed oil is the best way to lock in moisture. Oils are naturally rich in fatty acids that provide your skin with a protective barrier against water loss.

However, research is showing that Tremella extracts may also help keep moisture locked in as well as drawing it into your skin in the first place.

One possible reason for this is that the mushrooms contain fatty acids and other bioactive compounds. The fatty acids aren’t present in the same amount you would find in a skin-friendly oil, but they still likely contribute to skin barrier function.

So far, studies have shown that Tremella fuciformis can reduce water loss due to UV radiation when consumed and has “moisture-preserving activities” as an extract.

Has Antioxidant and Anti-Aging Potential

Besides its hydrating ability, one of the most exciting Tremella skin benefits is outstanding anti-aging potential.

What many people don’t know about skin aging is that much of it stems from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that ‘attack’ other molecules in your body, doing damage to cells and tissues in your skin. They also contribute to the breakdown of collagen and elastin, two very important anti-aging skin proteins.

Free radicals can be generated in various ways, but one of the biggest free radical accelerators is overexposure to UV radiation, also known as photodamage.

Antioxidants are critical for protecting your skin from photodamage and neutralizing free radicals. In this way, they have a major effect on slowing the appearance of signs of aging and even addressing existing wrinkles, age spots, etc.

Most mushrooms have powerful antioxidant capability and Tremella fuciformis is no exception. It has shown “potent anti-oxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects” and an ability to protect human skin fibroblasts from free radical damage.

Tremella has even demonstrated an ability to reduce collagen loss in the skin and help repair collagen breakdown when consumed!

May Reduce Inflammation & Fade the Appearance of Age Spots

Due to its antioxidant properties, Tremella has benefits for inflamed-looking skin. Studies have shown that it possesses anti-inflammatory power, which can combat internal as well as external inflammation.

There are many potential sources of skin inflammation.

It could come from short-term factors, like cold weather or wind, internal conditions, etc. But yet again, a common contributor to inflammation is free radical damage, and Tremella seems particularly powerful against this type of inflammation.

Researchers have even concluded that it may “act as a potential therapeutic agent for oxidative-stress-associated skin diseases,” which could include inflammatory skin issues.

Another possible benefit of Tremella extract is the ability to fade the appearance of age spots (also called dark spots). These spots form as the result of melanin— the pigment that causes a tan— clumping in your skin.

Many mushrooms naturally contain kojic acid. Kojic acid can be used to lighten darker areas of skin and is used as an ingredient to address age spots. Research hasn’t yet confirmed whether Tremella contains enough kojic acid to have an effect on dark spots, but the potential is there.

Contains Skin-Boosting Nutrients

Mushrooms are rich in certain skin-boosting nutrients. Vitamin C, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, and copper are all examples of mushroom nutrients that support healthy, young-looking skin.

To give you an idea, vitamin C is a natural collagen booster that also brightens skin. Vitamin D is involved in skin cell metabolism and is thought to help protect skin from UV damage. Zinc is a great nutrient for acne-prone skin, while copper and selenium help protect and regenerate skin.

Of course, the exact amount of these nutrients in Tremella will vary based on how it’s grown. You can consume it and other mushrooms regularly to get a range of vitamins and minerals. Or apply it to your skin where certain nutrients are directly absorbed.

 

 

Tremella Extract for Age-Defying Skin

Now that you’ve seen the list of Tremella skin benefits, consider making the most of them in the Age-Defying Night Cream from Purity Woods.

This unique night cream contains organic Tremella fuciformis extract, plus over 20 other pure botanical ingredients. (This includes Tremella’s close cousin— powerful turkey tail mushroom extract!) Together, they deeply moisturize skin and effectively erase the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, and other signs of aging.

By applying this potent cream at night, you allow it to work deep within your skin during your body’s natural repair cycle (sleep). The entire formula is USDA Certified Organic, which means no toxins or synthetic ingredients.

Learn more about the Age-Defying Night Cream here. You don’t want to leave this up-and-coming natural skincare ingredient out of your routine!

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