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Calm your skin with the power of mushrooms
by Cynthia Loh

Mushrooms are an increasingly common ingredient in our diets, and some of us may be acquainted with its healthful and immunity-boosting qualities.

Besides prizing them for their unique taste, more people are also becoming appreciative for the healing properties they have, often including them in their diets for their ability to do anything from preventing fatigue to cancer and tumours, and boosting immunity to the common cold, viral infections and allergies.

Those who are familiar with Origins and Dr Andrew Weil will remember his other line of skincare - Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Plantidote - that uses mushrooms to quell red skin and sensitivity. His latest high-performance serum, the Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega-Mushroom Skin Relief Advanced Face Serum, is designed to calm and soothe sensitive skin that reacts badly to other skincare products.

If your skin reacts by turning red or becoming itchy when you apply any skincare product, you are likely to have sensitive skin. And most of us can probably remember a time when our skin was just like that when we were not careful about our diets, or we were not getting enough sleep, or even going through a period of change in our lives which generated a lot of stress.

Besides containing Dr Weil's proprietary blend of the "Signature Six" key ingredients, Hypsizygus ulmarius mushrooms, cordyceps, Reishi mushrooms, ginger, turmeric and holy basil, it also boasts of the use of two more types of mushroom, Chaga Mushroom and Pleutorus Mushroom, the serum also contains organic sea buckthorn, spike moss and mangifera leaf extract to soothe away redness in skin and calm irritation.

On first application, it was obvious that my skin took to it favourably. My skin is going through a sensitive phase currently, and the serum was effective in soothing the redness in my skin.

There was no adverse reaction either, although I did wish that the serum did not leave that slight film on my skin after application, which looked like an extra film of sebum. Otherwise, you cannot fault it for its ability to quickly alleviate redness.

The following properties have been traditionally attributed to these ingredients:

Hypsizygus Ulmarius Mushrooms
- Includes anti-irritant properties

Cordyceps Mushroom - Able to increase vitality

Reishi Mushroom - Ability to "increase longevity"

Chaga Mushroom - Also known as the "Birch Mushroom", it has been used in Russia since the sixteenth century as a health tonic.

Pleutorus Mushroom - Also known as the King Oyster Mushroom, this mushroom is native to the Mediterranean region and is a potent anti-irritant

Sea Buckthorn - Has high levels of anti-oxidant Vitamins A and E

Spike Moss - An anti-irritant that works quickly to strengthen skin's moisture barrier and reduce skin sensitivity.

Mangifera Leaf Extract - A known antioxidant that helps to fight glycation, which makes skin more sensitive.

Ginger - A root which is used in traditional remedies to prevent nausea and vomiting, it also has antibacterial properties that can prevent the formation of ulcers and helps to improve blood circulation

Turmeric - Prized as a key balancing and purifying herb. It has traditionally been used in Ayurvedic treatment for its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and healing properties.

Holy Basil - Also known as Tulsi, or "The Incomparable One", it is believed top help alleviate the effects of stress.

If you are concerned about harmful preservatives or animal-based ingredients, you need not worry, since Origins does not use parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, PABA, petrolatum, paraffin, DEA, and animal ingredients (except cruelty-free honey and beeswax)

Retails for S$138 for a 50ml bottle from August 2010 at all Origins counters.

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