Medicinal Mushrooms and the Real Benefits for Skin Health
Our skin gets a lot of attention for being the largest organ in our body, and rightly so, it’s kind of a big deal. As one of our most complex organs it is part of the integumentary system forming a flexible barrier between the external environment and internal environment whose role it is to protect and maintain.
Our skin is responsible for the regulation of body temperature, perception of temperature, elimination of wastes, sensation such as pressure and pain signals, vitamin production and immune defence. Often considered a reflection of our internal wellbeing, it’s no wonder that healthy and glowing skin is highly coveted.
Stress & Skin Health
As a sense organ our skin also has a connection with our nervous system. Various research, including a 2016 study on the ‘Endocrinology of the Skin’  noted that elevated stress hormones can have a significant impact on not only the youthful appearance of skin but overall skin health. Stress flicks the switch to survival-mode channelling energy toward our sympathetic nervous system which is useful if we find ourselves in a dangerous situation but becomes damaging if we’re responding to on-going work, social or day-to-day life stressors.
In stressful situations our body responds by releasing stress hormones such as cortisol and epinephrine (adrenalin) which impacts the regulation of our cells and can instigate a chain of events such as the breakdown of collagen, free radical damage, and the acceleration of cellular ageing, all which contribute the appearance of ageing.
Beauty from the Inside Out
Eastern philosophy views the body as a network of interconnected parts. When all of these parts are in harmony, the body is considered healthy. If any issues arise, skin-related or otherwise, it is thought that an imbalance can be traced somewhere in the body which is why we turn to the healing power of food to help support beauty and skin health from the inside out.
We love the use of medicinal mushrooms as a way to support the body’s stress response and bring it back to balance by nourishing the central nervous system, boosting antioxidants to protect against free radical damage, and lowering inflammation.
We’ve delved into our top 3 medicinal mushrooms for radiant, healthy skin:
Tremella | Deep Hydration
This translucent, almost white mushroom goes by many names, including snow mushroom, silver ear mushroom and in more recent times referred to as the beauty shroom, with good reason. Brimming with antioxidants Tremella is considered to support a glowing complexion and enhance skin hydration with a capacity to hold 5 times more water than the famed hyaluronic acid, moisturising the skin from inside out.
This hydrating shroom can bring deep lubrication to our connective tissue and fascia. A 2016 study  demonstrated Tremella’s moisture retention capacity when compared to hyaluronic acid. 0.05% Tremella polysaccharides were added to skin care products versus 0.02% hyaluronic acid, indicating Tremella’s ability to support the supple and plump appearance of the skin. As we know our bodies produce hyaluronic acid, though as we age, its production starts to decrease which is why Tremella is such a beautiful shroom to incorporate into your skincare regime.
Tremella also contains antioxidant compounds that have been demonstrated to increases SOD (superoxide dismutase) which protect the skin from free radicals. By helping to generate SOD Tremella can act as a regenerative anti-inflammatory for the skin, maintaining the lipid and moisture barrier.
Chaga | Antioxidant Powerhouse
With its incredible skin-protecting properties, Chaga has more antioxidant superoxide dismutase (SOD), zinc and melanin than any other single natural source.
When free radicals become too abundant in the body due to sun damage, stress, or pollution SOD can work against free radical damage to the skin helping with dark spots, fine lines, wound healing and sun damage, which is why it is used in many cosmetics as an antioxidant and anti-ageing ingredient.
Melanin is responsible for your skin pigment, but it also is important for your overall skin health. The more melanin you have the less sensitive your skin is to sun and windburn, free radicals and toxins in the air.
Reishi | Radiance
With the signs of stress often manifesting visibly on our skin, look no further than Reishi. As an anti-stress mushie, Reishi has the amazing capacity to support the ageing process and skin imbalances working to calm the nervous system and improve our body’s resistance to stress. Its anti-inflammatory benefits can work to calm not only external but internal irritations to the skin helping with conditions like the appearance of breakouts.
Reishi’s unique beta-d-glucans, triterpenes and polyphenols also help protect the skin from oxidative damage. A 2017 study  on the role of Reishi in anti-ageing suggests Reishi has ‘definite anti-aging properties and anti-aging effects mainly through anti-oxidation, immunomodulation and anti-neurodegeneration.’
A must for any natural beauty and skin health regime, when combined with a self-care game that’s on point with nourishing foods, deep sleep and optimal hydration, medicinal mushrooms can go a long way to support our longevity and nourish our skin from the inside out.
 Mushroom Cosmetics: The Present and Future https://www.researchgate.net/publication/305078746_Mushroom_Cosmetics_The_Present_and_Future
 Emerging Roles of Ganoderma Lucidum in Anti-Aging https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5758346/