by: Alisha Whitley, September 3, 2019
Say hello to the new “it” ingredient for health, wellness, and beauty: mushrooms. These adaptogenic ingredients have been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years and are currently making the rounds as skincare superstars. Celebrated for their ability to improve overall skin health and youthfulness, it’s no wonder they’re topping every beauty guru’s list. Read on to discover why mushrooms are about to become your favorite new skincare ingredient.
What Is An Adaptogen?
To appreciate the beauty benefits of mushrooms, you must first have a handle on the function of adaptogens. In short, an adaptogen is a mushroom, plant or root that helps the body adapt (hence, the name) to changes in its emotional and physical state. These herbs and botanical extracts have deep roots in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, where they have been used over thousands of years for their ability to restore balance to the body and skin. It wasn’t until 1947 that the word “adaptogen” was coined by N.V. Lazarev, a Soviet pharmacologist who learned of their ability to regulate and normalize the body’s physiological response to stress.
Mushroom Benefits For Skin
Stress plays a significant role in skin health: It increases inflammation, contributes to premature aging and can trigger hormonal imbalance. As adaptogens, mushrooms help mitigate your skin’s response to stress; they identify where your body is imbalanced and coax it back to baseline. In skin care, they also assist in distributing active ingredients to where they’re needed most, helping your skin stay strong, hydrated and healthy.
Here is a closer look at two of our favorite fungi: snow mushroom and reishi mushroom.
Snow mushroom - or tremella fuciformis - is a tropical mushroom that is often found growing on hardwood logs after heavy rainfall. This gelatinous ’shroom has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine and cuisine (snow fungus soup, anyone?) for its ability to provide deep and long-lasting hydration. In fact, Tang dynasty concubine Yang Guifei - one of China’s four great beauties - credited the snow mushroom with maintaining her flawless porcelain complexion.
Deeply Hydrates Today, snow mushroom is used in skincare for its impressive hydrating properties. Known as a “super-humectant,” it functions similarly to (and even rivals) hyaluronic acid, the gold standard in skin hydration. Snow mushroom’s gelatinous structure, combined with its high levels of polysaccharides, helps it draw moisture deep into the skin. While this mushroom holds 500 times its weight in water (compared to hyaluronic acid’s 1000), its small particles can penetrate the skin more easily, providing more potent hydration.
Enhances Skin Strength & Elasticity In addition to attracting moisture, snow mushroom excels at keeping it in place. Eminence Organics International Educator Brian Goodwin likens it to creating a rain cloud in your skin: It forms a naturally flexible film that traps in water and prevents it from escaping. This restores dry skin to its optimally hydrated state, enabling it to better carry out key functions that keep it strong, supple and elastic.
Aids In Natural Collagen Production Snow mushroom also aids in the natural production of collagen, a structural protein that gives skin density and volume. Snow mushroom also aids in the natural production of collagen, a structural protein that gives skin density and volume. Its antioxidant properties neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals and promote healthy skin cell renewal. This helps to maintain the skin’s existing stores of collagen and delays the visible signs of aging. As a result, the skin remains plump and wrinkle-free for longer.
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