Resveratrol and skin care: a great ingredient - if you are a mouse!

Resveratrol is a great antioxidant, but for humans, things may be a little more complicated than initially though! OneSkin will tell you how great it actually is for your skin!

Continuing with OneSkin's new segment which will make you the ultimate skincare guru, this week we will discuss another relatively common ingredient in skincare products - resveratrol. Although other antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E may be more commonly used in skincare products, lately resveratrol's hype has increased due to the claim that it may have additional properties besides preventing skin aging. This sounds like it could be great news for the antiaging skincare pursuit, but unfortunately there's one caveat: you have to be a mouse to realize these benefits. You may be a little confused with this, but let us walk you through this!

What is resveratrol?

Resveratrol has been described as a "potent member of the class of natural, plant-derived chemicals known as polyphenols"(1). Those polyphenols are molecules naturally produced by plants during their metabolism and have strong antioxidant properties. We actually ingest resveratrol all the time, since it can be found in grapes, red wine, mulberries, peanuts, and, as many other ingredients nowadays, food supplements, if you are not a grape or wine person.

If you remember our previous post about how aging works, one of the main theories that explain aging mentions that age-associated disfunction derives from wear and tear process. In this scenario, oxidative stress caused by the natural metabolism of our cells is an important tearing cause. And you may have already figured out that helping our body to deal with oxidative stress (using antioxidant compounds) is a good strategy to prevent aging and to promote health.

But why is all the fuss about resveratrol?

So resveratrol has been considered just another antioxidant compound for a long time, and, since it is not as strong an antioxidant as vitamin C and E, it did not use to cause much hype. 

Nevertheless, things started to change since scientists have found that resveratrol can actually control a gene called Sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), which has been linked to lifespan regulation (which means how long organisms live) (2,3). It is well established in a variety of scientific studies that resveratrol increases lifespan in different species like mice and worms, controlling SIRT1 function and regenerating stem cells. The reflect of such beneficial processes occurs mainly in the cardiovascular system, explaining why wine is generally considered a "healthy" beverage for heart health. 

Unfortunately, despite this conception of resveratrol as a great compound for our health, it is actually not conclusive at this point whether resveratrol has the same effect on humans (4,5). To be more specific, in experimental settings involving mice and worms, the therapeutic effect of resveratrol has been shown to be highly dose dependent and to be consistent at approximately 1500 mg/kg body weight in mice (4,5). Reaching such a concentration is, of course, way easier in 30g mice, compared to 70kgs human! To achieve such high daily dose, an average person would have to consume over 52 liters of wine (in an optimistically calculation that the given wine would have 5mg/l of resveratrol!). Of course, in the process of getting enough resveratrol, you would probably develop cirrhosis and die before your heart could get any of the promised benefits generated by resveratrol... so not a good idea! 

Other challenges related to resveratrol

Other important aspects to be taken into consideration before buying products which contain resveratrol is its low stability and bioavailability. This means that, sometimes, resveratrol degrades in the product before use and other times the resveratrol you apply in yourself is just not absorbed (6). This explains, at least in part, all the controversy around the effects of this molecule in humans.

Finally, it is important to remember that, alone, resveratrol does not do all the job. As an antioxidant, resveratrol fights free radicals, but since it is water soluble, it does not tackle free radicals which affect fat parts of the cell, since it is not fat soluble. That is why resveratrol should be combined with fat-soluble antioxidants like vitamin E.

Also, in the context of skin aging, antioxidants such as resveratrol could help to prevent old cell accumulation in the tissue, which would potentially help preventing skin aging. But did you know that after the age of 25 you start accumulating some old cells in your skin? (we actually called them zombie cells a few posts ago). Moreover, skin aging is not only associated with age, but also with sun exposure, air pollution, bad habits - such as smoking, so we start accumulating old cells in our tissues early. Therefore, wouldn't it be nice if molecules could be developed to tackle the old cells we already have in our skin and body, in addition to prevent the formation of new ones?

Don't worry, OneSkin got you covered ;)

Now that you have learned this important aspect of resveratrol use, spread the word about it! Empowered consumers promote better products in the market, and OneSkin wants to help in this scientifically-proven cosmetic product revolution! Continue reading our blog posts to get even more relevant information, so you can always choose the best for you and your skin!

1. Markus, M. A. & Morris, B. J. Resveratrol in prevention and treatment of common clinical conditions of aging. Clin. Interv. Aging 3, 331-339 (2008).
2. Baur, J. A. & Sinclair, D. A. Therapeutic potential of resveratrol: the in vivo evidence. Nat. Rev. Drug Discov. 5, 493-506 (2006).
3. Stacchiotti, A., Favero, G. & Rezzani, R. Resveratrol and SIRT1 Activators for the Treatment of Aging and Age-Related Diseases. Resveratrol - Adding Life to Years, Not Adding Years to Life (2019). doi:10.5772/intechopen.78977
4. Ramírez-Garza, S. L. et al. Health Effects of Resveratrol: Results from Human Intervention Trials. Nutrients 10, (2018).
5. Baur, J. A. et al. Resveratrol improves health and survival of mice on a high-calorie diet. Nature 444, 337-342 (2006).
6. Monika, B. S. P., Bentham Science Publisher Monika, Garg, R. & Sardana, S. Research Problems Associated with Resveratrol (trans-3, 5, 4'- trihydroxystilbene; RSV) and Various Strategies to Overcome those Problems (Review). Current Drug Delivery 14, 364-376 (2017).

OneSkin Team

OneSkin Team

By being able to reprogram the "code of life", we will create new ways of living, and new ways of growing older. OneSkin is developing solutions to enable people to age better, healthier, and with better quality of life. Our mission is to promote people's access to effective anti-aging products, so they can feel and age at their best.

Jun 19, 2019

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