Hydrating serums, such as hyaluronic acid have begun to take over the skincare market, so we thought it was important to understand their benefits and uses! Our current hydrating serum is made with a mushroom called Tremella fuciformis. This spongy white mushroom, called “snow fungus,” has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese medicine, and was thought to encourage beautiful glowing skin from the inside out. High-class families would use all of its components (ie. Eating it in soup), and use the mushroom extract topically to keep skin soft and well-moisturized. It was thought of as an anti-aging superfood, high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Click here to learn more about this ingredient.
Tremella mushroom vs. Hyaluronic acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a molecule that is created inside the body to retain water and promote moisture in certain tissues . It is found in high amounts in the skin and connective tissue (ie. Joints), allowing for flexibility and hydration, although its production decreases as we age. Hyaluronic acid serums and creams are made with a laboratory-produced version of hyaluronic acid that often comes from certain bacteria or the comb of a rooster.
Although we decided to use Tremella mushroom for our hydrating serum, there is nothing wrong with using hyaluronic acid! In research, Tremella mushroom has shown to have better moisture retention than hyaluronic acid, as it holds more weight in water . Ultimately, these are both different versions of delivering moisture and hydration to the skin!
Why Is Tremella Mushroom Good for the Skin?
1. It softens and moisturizes
The biggest claim to fame that Tremella has when used topically is that it helps produce soft, plump skin! The most prominent active ingredient in Tremella are its polysaccharides, which are carbohydrate molecules. Tremella is considered to be a “jelly mushroom,” so its polysaccharides can hold a large amount of water. These polysaccharides provide a thin, gentle layer over the skin to improve its water retention and boost hydration status . Moreover, this seals in the skin barrier to protect it from external damage, such as bacteria and various pathogens. Although we know that extra hydration is beneficial for dry or combination skin types, even oily skin can benefit from additional moisture to signal to the body that it does not need to produce as much oil, as the skin is already well-hydrated.
2. Brightens the skin and evens complexion
Throughout our lives our skin is exposed to environmental damage from ultraviolet radiation from the sun, pollution, and damage from what we put into and onto our bodies. This includes inflammation-causing food (ie. Fried or processed foods), tobacco, alcohol, and products containing inflammatory oils and ingredients. All of these affect the quality of our skin, and can contribute to chronic inflammatory skin conditions (ie. Acne, eczema), or affect the texture and appearance of skin in the form of sun spots and hyperpigmentation. Tremella is rich with antioxidants, which help to combat damage through environmental exposure, and neutralize any damage from oxidizing agents such as the sun . This can help to decrease hyperpigmentation for a more even skin tone and texture.
3. It Increases healing ability of the skin
Tremella when used traditionally as a food in China, it had been given to cancer patients who had undergone chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatments to protect the other cells of their body from damage and to improve immune function. When used topically on skin, Tremella upregulates chemicals in the body which fight oxidative damage from external sources (ie. In research from hydrogen peroxide), and prevents cell death. This could be extended to damage from physical trauma such as injury, or damage from the sun and pollution .
4. Decreases fine lines and wrinkles
We know that Tremella was used in China as an “anti-aging” beauty secret because of all its wonderful properties; moisturizing polysaccharides, as well as antioxidant vitamins and minerals. As we age, the skin goes through changes which may result in uneven skin texture, tone, and fine lines and wrinkling. This is mainly caused from the body slowing its production of hyaluronic acid, collagen, elastin and other skin molecules which keep the skin plump. Also, overtime with exposure to environmental damage (ie. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun) without protection, it directly attacks collagen and structure-building molecules which can contribute to the production of these fine lines. Tremella acts both to firm the skin as well as providing the antioxidant support to protect from damage to prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
Our Tremella Mushroom Serum can be used with any skin-type, as you can see from all its amazing benefits! Don't be alarmed by the fine bead-like texture, as this is the active ingredient which will dissolve as you massage it into your skin. For this reason, it is best to be used at night.
We hope that it has inspired all skin types to consider adding a hydrating serum into their skincare regime for added moisture and protection!
By: Dr. Arlene Dubier ND
1. Papakonstantinou E, Roth M & Karakiulakis G. 2012. Hyaluronic acid: a key molecule in skin aging, Dermato Endocrinology, 4(3): 253-258. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583886/
2. Liu Hui et al. 2012. Comparison of moisture retention capacity of tremella polysaccharides and hyaluronic acid, Journal of Anhui Agricultural Sciences. Retrieved from http://en.cnki.com.cn/Article_en/CJFDTotal-AHNY201226130.htm
3. Lin C-P & Tsai S-Y. 2019. Differences in the moisture capcity and thermal stability of Tremella fuciformix polysaccharides obtained by various drying processes, Molecules. 24(15): 2856. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6696028/
4. Shen T, Duan C, Chen B, Li M, Ruan Y, Xu D, Shi D et al. 2017. Tremella fuciformis polysaccharide suppresses hydrogen-peroxide-triggered injury of human skin fibroblasts via upregulation of SIRT1, Molecular Medicine Report. 16(2): 1340-1346. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5561887/