If you enjoy a glass of red wine or a bite of dark chocolate occasionally you are getting the added bonus of resveratrol, a powerful polyphenol with antioxidant properties. Resveratrol has been studied since 1980 when it was highlighted by a heart disease study known as The French Paradox. This study stated that though French people eat high amounts of saturated fat, they have very low rates of heart disease. The study claimed this is due to the amount of resveratrol they ingest through their daily glass of red wine.
So What is Resveratrol - exactly?
Resveratrol is a polyphenol of the stilbene class, meaning it's an antibiotic (phytoalexin) specifically created to protect the plant from bacteria, UV radiation or fungi. In addition to antibiotic powers, it also has antioxidant properties that rebalance and soothe the affected areas and support recovery and longevity of the plant. Notice the benefits for skin already? The good news! These benefits transfer beautifully to skin.
Produced by about 70 - 100 plants, resveratrol is most prevalent in grapes, berries, peanuts and cocoa. The pinot noir grape has the highest concentration of resveratrol and other polyphenols of any grape variety.(1)
Resveratrol and Skin - What’s the Anti Aging Connection?
New area of skin care science
With resveratrol offering so many anti aging benefits, let’s explore how it supports anti aging of the skin when applied topically. A strong and healthy epidermis is essential to protect the skin from free radicals. The more our epidermal lipid barrier is stabile, the more it can absorb nutrients for skin protection
Resveratrol is a small molecule, so it is absorbed easily and quickly into the skin.
Resveratrol supports skin from glycation through decreasing oxidation and inflammation.
Resveratrol also has phytoestrogen properties and topical application seems to offer no adverse effects as compared to when ingesting, particularly among women who have had estrogen-based breast cancer.
Benefits of Topical Application:
Supports lengthening of telomeres by reducing inflammation and reducing oxidative stress*
Speeds effectiveness of Vitamins C and E in epidermis*
Increases production of antioxidants in the epidermis* through Nrf2 pathways
(*Dermatology Times - https://www.dermatologytimes.com/view/resveratrol-longevity-molecule)
Relationship between Resveratrol and Collagen and Fibroblasts
Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body and accounts for one third of the protein in your body. It serves as a building block for bones, skin, muscles, tendons and ligaments and acts a bit like glue in that it holds all of these things together.
Collagen is also crucial for skin to look and feel youthful. Yet, as we age, we produce less collagen so skin becomes less firm and saggy. Dermal fibroblasts are the cells that create collagen and parts of the extracellular matrix. Young fibroblasts produce collagen, elastin, hyaluronic acid and heparin sulfate. These substances decrease with age in fibroblasts.
Recently it was discovered that resveratrol stimulates the creation of fibroblasts and can increase concentration of collagen type 3**.
The same study also found that since resveratrol is a phytoestrogen, it has an affinity for estrogen protein receptors so it stimulates production of collagen types 1 and 2**. (“Resveratrol as an active ingredient for cosmetics” May 8, 2018**)
We can also add to these discoveries by resveratrol’s antioxidant ability, which has strong protective abilities protecting cells from oxidative damage and slowing down the photo aging process.
Resveratrol works with Vitamin E to stabilize cell membranes and prevent lipid peroxidation.
As a quick review on collagen, there are about 16 different types of collagen in our bodies, but four main types:
Type I - comprises 90% of our collagen, this type is densely packed and provides the structure for skin, bones, tendons and other body parts.
Type II - is the loosely packed fibers in elastic cartilage, providing cushioning for our joints.
Type III - supports the structure of muscles, organs and arteries.
Type IV - found in the dermis layer of skin and helps with filtration.
(All above on collagen from Healthline https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen#bottom-line)
1. Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry