Throughout history, the West has explored, conquered, and fought for treasures in the East. While there were little precious gems to obtain, nature still produced wonders.
If there is one thing that Asia is known for, it’s skin care. Beauty stands on a high pedestal and Asian skin care ingredients range from mundane to outright weird. One of these rare ingredients you might have never heard of is fungi.
Tremella fuciformis is the beauty secret used by the upper class of the Orient for years. Due to its multiple skin care benefits, Tremella Mushroom has been used as a tonic to preserve a youthful appearance and create a healthy, radiant complexion.
Tremella Mushrooms are known for being used by Yang Guifie, a consort in the Tang Dynasty and one of the four beauties of Ancient China.
She attributed her youthful appearance to Tremella Mushrooms which made them popular ever since.
These days, Tremella Mushrooms are a staple in every natural skin lightening guide because of its powerful brightening properties.
Skin Care Benefits
If you find your face feeling oily at the end of the day, then that’s your skin’s SOS signal that it needs hydration. Immediately, people are drawn to hyaluronic acid to meet their specific skin care needs, but the Tremella mushroom does the job just as well.
Hyaluronic acid is a substance that is produced abundantly in the body of youthful subjects. It works by pulling moisture into the skin, as it holds up to 1,000 its weight in water molecules.
As people age, the production of hyaluronic acid decreases, as well. Luckily, the Tremella Mushroom is a commendable alternative and works to fill in the blanks that hyaluronic acid leaves behind.
The Tremella Mushroom is said to do a much better job since it is smaller and therefore can penetrate the skin with much more ease. An additional skin care benefit it provides is that it retains more water for longer hydration.
It generates a hydration film that is flexible so it can establish itself on dry skin. This allows the skin to feel supple and develop elasticity.
Skin aging is typically viewed as wrinkles, skin sagging, and pigmentation spots. This is theoretically due to free radicals and oxidative stress.
Oxidation is the way the immune system essentially kills bacteria and other harmful infiltrates. However, when this is done to free radicals that enter our system, it is no longer protective, but rather destructive.
Another skin care benefit of the Tremella Mushroom can be attributed to its high levels of polysaccharide content. This not only hydrates the skin but also proves to be anti-aging and antioxidant.
A study in Beijing, China by Chen, et al., reports that at 200ul/mg, Tremella Mushroom extract is effective against oxidative stress.
Tremella Mushrooms stimulate superoxide dismutase production. Superoxide dismutase protects and regenerates the skin while also preventing gravity from having its way with the skin.
Pimple Scarring Removal
The Tremella Mushroom reveals an added skin care benefit of helping with acne scars.
It is high in vitamin D, which has impressive healing abilities for acne scars. For this particular skin care benefit, the tremella mushroom should be applied topically.
A good trick we do is we slap on a COSRX Pimple Patch on our active pimple and then apply Tremella extract once it heals. That way, any darkening or scarring can be avoided.
Skin lightening is a big thing in Asia, which is controversial. However debatable this skin care benefit is, Tremella mushrooms are a popular Asian beauty ingredient since it lightens age spots, hyperpigmentation, and old acne scars by inhibiting melanin production.
Tremella extract is an excellent DIY acne scar treatment because it will surely brighten up any leftover discoloration.
It’s said to even be more effective than vitamin C, which is popularly used for skin brightening, as well as kojic acid which is used for skin whitening.
Is it Safe to Use?
As we all know, natural does not always mean safe. So far though, it is guaranteed safe to use for all skin types. No major adverse effects have been reported.
Be cautious, however. Like with all skincare products, do not immediately apply it to the entire face. The skin on the face is very thin and does not always readily support changes in your skincare regimen, regardless of skincare benefits.
So, prior to putting any serum or mask on the entirety of the face, do a patch test. Put some on a bit of the face, maybe on the lower cheek and leave it there.
If there is any immediate burning, itching, and general discomfort, wash it off. If not, check the next day for any rashes or bumps.
If that patch of skin feels fine, then go ahead with the product.
How to Use Tremella Mushrooms?
There are many ways to use the mushroom – ingesting it as it is, in powders, through liquids, and so on. To extract its skincare benefits, however, it is best to apply it topically.
The tremella mushroom’s chief selling point is that it works better than hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C, so while there is something to be said about hydration from the inside, with this particular ingredient, topical is the way to go.
It is mostly used as a serum or a face mask to reap the most benefits for the skin.
Extracting the Serum
Similar to the study done by Shen et at., the best way to extract the serum is by boiling the Tremella Mushroom in water.
Dr. John Layke has a nice little guide on how this can be done. Here is a summary:
- Put the Tremella Mushroom in a pot with 5 to 6 cups of water, bring it to a boil, and let it continue to do so for 30 minutes.
- After that, take the core out of the mushroom. It will not be needed. Toss it in the garbage bin.
- Put the mushroom back into the pot, boil on high for five (5) minutes, and then bring it to a low simmer for an hour. Keep the lid on.
- The liquid should be thick and sticky, like your typical mask consistency. If not, add another cup of water and simmer with the lid on for a quarter of an hour.
- Once it is finished, let it cool. Squeeze out any excess serum from the mushroom.
- Apply to face and leave on for 25-30 minutes once a week
Where Can I Get Tremella Mushroom?
Are there other forms of the mushroom asides from the mushroom in its true form? Yes.
Tremella Mushroom Powder
It is popularly sold as a finely grounded powder. It has a sweet, mild flavor that is an excellent addition to food. Apart from skincare benefits, the mushroom has other benefits too.
You can hydrate the powder and make a mask out of it as well.
Tremella Mushroom Extract
This is another form that can be added to liquids for injection. However, the face application is more suitable. Add one to two drops and massage it into the face.
Remember to get your extract from a reputable source.
Tremella Mushroom Infused Products
There are skincare products that already feature this ingredient. So, there is no need to ‘faff’ with boiling or adding to water.
Note that unlike Hyaluronic acid, depending on the preservative used, the shelf life may not last as long.
July 13, 2021 – Updated internal links, updated external links, removed author box