As mentioned in an earlier post for Sevani Rose Hyarulonic Age Defying Tonique and the oddly named Paranornormal EFX, Tremella Fuciformis is a genus of fungi in the family Tremellacea that has water-retention capabilities supposedly superior to hyaluronic acid. Not only is the jelly like fungi a source of vitamin D, it’s also a free radical scavenger that enhances the body's own superoxide dismutase. This particular form of mushroom seems to be cropping up in loads of cosmetic products lately and is found in Chella’s Anti Fatigue Eye Mask Kit as well as Master Protocol 7, which made the Five Best Anti Aging Serums of 2011 list.

Tremella Fuciformis has been given common names such as snow fungus or silver ear fungus and is largely found in the tropics. The mushroom has long been used in traditional Chinese medicine and is considered a delicacy in Chinese cuisine where it is traditionally used in sweet dishes. While it is known to be virtually tasteless, it has a gelatinous texture and considered to be a highly nutritious food. Its supposed medicinal benefits are derived from more than 70% dietary fiber, including healthful polysaccharides. It is said that Yang Guifei (719-756), Imperial Consort during the Tang Dynasty and one of the most beautiful women in Chinese history, cited Tremella among her beauty secrets.

Despite being a parasititic mushroom, I like that it is a non-toxic, natural alternative to sodium hyaluronate. It is used in P&G’s SK-II Skin Care Products, and in brands by Kanebo and La Prairie’s Advanced Marine Biology Night Solution to moisturize, revitalize and hydrate the skin.

The company Med Myco Ltd. in Israel extracts a bio-active substance from the edible mushroom called glucuronoxylomannan. The formulation is said to be anti-inflammatory, free of pH dependence with no contraindications or skin reactions. According to one study, it even inhibits melanin. The study found that when the polysaccharide was isolated from a hot water extract of a Tremella mushroom without adding a chemical agent, it actually inhibited melanin formation with an inhibition ratio of 59.7%. This is a much better effect on skin lightening when compared to similar brightening agents such as such as Arbutin, Kojic acid and Vitamin C, when tested by the same method. Another study found that agents containing extracts of Tremella Fuciformis also have a potential stimulating effect on cell growth resulting in accelerated wound healing. A sterilized paste made from the fungus was applied to burn wounds immediately after injury an in all cases, the mushroom extract significantly reduced erythema resulting from the wounds.

Tremella Fuciformis can be used to hydrate and potentially lighten spots as well as heal the epidermal layer of the skin. With more consumers looking to natural ingredients in skin care formulations, I think you’ll be hearing more about this gelatinous mushroom.