Resveratrol for Radiant Skin Health

Recently the powerful antioxidant resveratrol has been making waves in the scientific community, including the field of skin-care health. Resveratrol is a polyphenol-based phytochemical—an antioxidant plant-based compound that keeps cells healthy and functioning optimally (in both plants and humans). A recent study from Harvard Medical School found that high amounts of red wine extract containing the phytochemical resveratrol was linked to longer life spans and slowed the effects of aging.(1) Many are now looking to this extract as a possible antioxidant supplement for keeping the skin looking radiant longer.

What is Resveratrol and How Does it Help Us?

Resveratrol is a chemical component found in many plants, but it is in its most concentrated form in those plants containing a natural deep purplish hue. Grape skins have the highest concentration of this immune-boosting antioxidant. Antioxidants have the ability to scavenge free-radicals, reduce inflammation in the cells, and help protect the body from a whole host of health issues ranging from cancer to fungus.(2)

A recent study done in 2009 at the University of Pittsburgh found that this antioxidant is related to a cluster of plant-based compounds known as xeno factors. Xeno factors are the chemical responses that plants release when they are under environmental stressors such as drought, heat or excess UV rays. These xeno factors allow the plant to stay healthier longer, even when threatened by those stressors. In the case of our skin, we are constantly being bombarded with environmental pollutants (i.e. UV rays and cigarette smoke). This study suggests that resveratrol may boost circulation and cardiovascular health, as well as improve the body’s response to aging, and help reduce wrinkles, fine lines, sagging and skin spots.

Resveratrol and the Skin

The skin is particularly vulnerable to the effects of free radicals, which can cause skin cell mutation and inhibited skin growth. Resveratrol aids in the process by reducing the inflammatory effects of environmental exposures through its neutralization of the free-radical response. And we know that the majority of skin conditions (i.e., wrinkles, sagging, rosacea, eczema, and acne) are impacted by free radicals and inflammation. Resveratrol has also been shown to increase healthy blood circulation in the skin, another important way in which the skin stays vibrant and turgid. Other clinical studies indicate that resveratrol may play an important role in stimulating cellular behavior, removing toxins from the body, and neutralizing the effects of sugar consumption in the system (a process that is linked to a loss of elasticity in the collagen of skin).

Studies are now linking the possibility that the potent antioxidant resveratrol reduces chances of developing skin cancer. Recent research from the University of Wisconsin found that resveratrol may even halt the development of skin cancer. A test performed with topical forms of resveratrol-based cream proved that resveratrol could, in fact, “significantly slow down tumor growth” in a laboratory study of mice. The same study also showed that resveratrol could stop the process of “skin thickening,” a phenomenon that reduces elasticity in the skin in response to sun damage.

Ways That You Can Get More Resveratrol Into the Life of Your Skin

  • Drink moderate amounts of high-quality red wine, if your present health condition allows and your doctor agrees it is safe for you to do so.
  • Incorporate other sources of resveratrol into your diet. This includes green tea, grape juice, apples, blueberries, peanuts, cranberries and dark chocolate.
  • Buy a vial of pure resveratrol and use as a topical mask for its transdermal properties. Look for products that have a high Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) score of anywhere from 1,750-5,000.Use resveratrol in a cream form.
  • Take resveratrol-extract pills in a natural form. Make sure to choose a brand with a high ORAC score (an optimal level is 5000).

Works Cited

1. Wade, Nicholas. Drug Doubles Endurance, Study Says. The New York Times Science Section. [Online] November 16, 2006. [Cited: 9 24, 2009.]

2. People Against Cancer. Resveratrol – The Wonder Nutrient. Finding the Best Cancer Treatment. [Online] September 16, 2008.

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