Resveratrol has been in the limelight for the past fifteen years or so, after discoveries about its powerful benefits were made known. This article focuses on the resveratrol benefits for skin, with particular attention to very recent studies about its bioavailability, as well as the implications on how we should take resveratrol, for it to work its magic on us.
What is resveratrol and what is it good for?
Resveratrol is a plant compound belonging to the polyphenols group, acting as a natural antibiotic when the plants experience stressful conditions, like radiation, injury, fungal infection, pests attack, etc.
Before we zoom in to look at the benefits of resveratrol for our skin, this substance warrants some attention on the other amazing health effects that it is capable of bestowing on us:
Anti-Cancer – Resveratrol is a mighty antioxidant, able to fight damage from free radicals, by repairing the affected cells. It has shown its ability to prevent skin cancer in mice, by inhibiting the growth and inducing death of cancer cells. There are studies exploring it being an anti-cancer drug. You can read more about it at this website: www.sciencedirect.com
Promotes heart health – Resveratrol promotes blood circulation and prevents the formation of blood clots. It has been shown to protect against heart disease, heart failure and high blood pressure in mice.
Improves Cognitive and Mental Health – Resveratrol improves brain function and cognitive health as it increases blood flow to the brain. It also boosts the brain’s defense system against oxidative damage. More details of the study can be found here: www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Anti-Aging and Increases Lifespan! – If the above benefits are not enough, resveratrol has even been shown to increase the lifespan of lab animals! Resveratrol is able to affect living cells through the mitochondria, which is the powerhouse of each cell, where it gets its energy from. Hence it affects us at the deepest cellular level.
Resveratrol is now touted as an anti-aging, anti-cancer, heart and brain food. These properties have placed it high up on the pedestal of nutrition and health foods.
We will now look at another giant benefit of resveratrol in relation to our skin.
Resveratrol benefits for skin health
Based on its anti-inflammation properties, resveratrol benefits for skin are tremendous! Inflammation is a normal response of the body in fighting against an infection, but prolonged chronic inflammation, like in the case of many eczema warriors, can take its toll on the body.
Regulating inflammation gives the body a much needed break from being in a perpetual fight or flight state. This can alleviate the symptoms, for example, asthma from inflammation of airways, or itchy skin from eczema flares. And give the body some relief while still trying to identify and address the root of the problem.
This linked study found that resveratrol may be therapeutically beneficial to improve eczema triggered by allergic reactions. It proved to be effective at suppressing the very initial onset of inflammation.
Being able to do its job at the cellular level has profound implications for resveratrol, as it means that it can repair and renew our cells. That is precisely why it is said to be an anti-aging substance, as it works on the energy department of cells, by binding with a protein to activate an enzyme which blocks diseases.
This other study finds resveratrol to be a great antioxidant against the high oxidative stress that skin cells come under daily. It is being evaluated to manage skin disorders, including skin aging and skin cancer.
Foods that contain resveratrol
Natural food sources of resveratrol include
- red grapes (mostly concentrated on the skin)
- red wine, red grape juice
- raw cocoa
- peanuts (not recommended for eczema warriors, as it is a major allergen)
- soy (controversial in its effects on eczema)
Take these foods in moderation for your daily dose of resveratrol.
Important things to note:
People on Aspirin, Ibuprofen and blood thinning medications should not take resveratrol, as it increases the likelihood of bleeding, since one action of resveratrol is expansion of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood clotting.
Also, resveratrol has different estrogenic effects under different conditions. So people with estrogen-related issues, or are sensitive to estrogen, should avoid resveratrol as well.
Bioavailability of resveratrol
So here is the most recent finding about the bioavailability of resveratrol: upon ingestion, resveratrol metabolises very quickly, and a significant portion is eliminated from the body, instead of being absorbed by the digestive system. Moreover, metabolism seems to have reduced its anti-oxidative power, compared to the unchanged (before metabolism) state. If you would like to find out more, this website may help: www.immunehealthscience.com
What does this imply for us?
There is ongoing research (click this link to see one of them) on topical applications of resveratrol, which may prove to be more effective than ingesting it. Applying resveratrol onto the skin means we get all of it in the unchanged (unmetabolised) state, which has much greater anti-oxidative power.
This allows resveratrol to work on the skin cells directly, maximising their anti-aging, anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory effects.
I was giving my two eczema warriors dietary resveratrol through a berries gel. It is a natural fruit blend, with the ingredients being resveratrol, dark cherry, blueberry, Concord grape, pomegranate, acai, aloe vera, and grape seed extract.
After I learnt about the quick metabolism of resveratrol, and that topical application seems like a more promising and effective approach, I decided to give it a try. I applied the berries gel on problem spots like raw wounds from scratching, dry flaky patches, and oozing areas. Just a thin layer spread out evenly, and let it air dry. Leave it on and forget about it. Did this twice a day for both my eczema warriors.
The result was quite significant. Within a week, the raw wounds and oozing healed substantially. The dry flaky patches took longer to clear, about two weeks. I was quite impressed by this surprising find!
I was hesitant to try this out initially, mainly because the berries gel does not come cheap. Chock full of antioxidants from the rich and powerful ingredients, it was obviously meant to be ingested, to reap the maximum benefits. Spreading it all over the skin felt like a waste of such robust ingredients.
But I figured if I were to use this to help tackle the skin problems and discomfort of my kids, then I should target the resveratrol to work on their skin in the most potent manner. And since very recent studies are pointing in the direction of topical application, that it shall be.
Another contributing factor to its effectiveness could be the consistency of the berries gel, being smooth but yet not too watery, such that it holds itself well, and can be easily absorbed by the skin.
I’m really glad that I gave it a go, to apply resveratrol topically on my kids’ skin. This has proven to me the amazing resveratrol benefits for skin. It also gives me another great, natural remedy to turn to when they experience eczema flares, as it clears them up beautifully and eases their discomfort. But no matter how great it works, I still think that topical applications cannot beat healing from inside out, through clean diet and detoxing, which should always be the first priority.