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!
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.
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 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!