One of the properties fervently sought after in anti-aging products is anti-oxidation. The ability to inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. It’s the process that changes the number of electrons in a molecule resulting in releasing free radicals that lead to chain reactions that damage or kill a cell. Basically this is the process that is responsible for the aging of all the organs of the body including the skin. And since it’s the skin that we are talking about, it’s the process that creates the wrinkles, the fine lines and in the end the appearance of the bark of a tree.
Resveratrol is NOT a Cosmeceutical – but Rather a Powerful Natural Ingredient
Any substance that can seriously hamper this process is extremely valuable to the cosmetic industry. The stronger the anti-oxidant properties the more valuable the substance is. When resveratrol was discovered, the cosmetic industry went abuzz. It promises to be the most valuable anti-oxidant yet in existence. And a source for a lot of potential profit.
It is a natural substance that in plants works as an anti-microbial and is produced as a defensive weapon against stress, infections and the strong effects of UV radiation. At first it was deployed as an orally taken anti-oxidant and all the relevant studies showed a 17 time higher potency than the chemical idebenone which was at the time used in all anti-wrinkle creams.
The effects on the skin
It was only a matter of time before resveratrol was tested for topical use on the skin. Contrary to many other substances currently used in the cosmetic industry where the number of studies that have been conducted upon is limited, this one has been the subject of many clinical surveys and independent studies. Their results was nothing short of staggering:
- Most anti-oxidants perform either defensively forming a protective barrier preventing the formation of the free radicals, or offensively by hunting down and eliminating any and all free radicals. Resveratrol works in both capacities. It prevents the formation while at the same time scavenging for these harmful molecules.
- The most potent natural anti-oxidants until its discovery were vitamins C and E. The comparison between the 3 substances on their efficiency on lipid peroxidation showed 95% for resveratrol, 65% for vitamin E and 37% for vitamin C.
- The 17 times higher potency against idebenone was maintained in every single study.
- Damage prevention from UVA radiation and abnormal cellular proliferation were also demonstrated along with protection against UVB radiation mediated damage.
- Resveratrol also assists indirectly in the stimulation of collagen production by providing protection to the matrix from harmful enzymes and allowing for the fibroblasts to function normally.
After the release of such a set of results no cosmetic company would turn their backs on this. Idebenone has not resulted in any side-effects but it still is a chemical and not a natural substance. With the recent legislation that forced the turning of the industry towards producing 100% natural and environmentally friendly cosmetics, resveratrol can only be regarded as a game changer.
All the studies on the effects of resveratrol on the skin have not indicated any side-effects. It is doubtful that any research was even done on this subject. However this is not to be taken for granted. The usage of the substance as an oral supplement predates the use as a topical skin cosmetic by a few years and it took quite a long time before it was discovered that it can affect arthritis pains, tendonitis, jittery feelings, stomach cramps, diarrhea and decreased appetite.
It stands to reason that if such side-effects can occur through topical use, steps should be taken to either warn the general public or to mitigate them. However, this will take time and a great deal of money. Until the results of studies directed into long term observation to this specific issue can be released, a warning has been issued to the general public advising that those who use cosmetics containing resveratrol do so at their own risk. The same warning has been issued for those who use oral supplements.
At this time it would appear that medically speaking the best way to enjoy the results of resveratrol is by enjoying the natural sources of it which are red wine (in moderation of course), grape juice, berries or purple grapes.
During the recent years a lot of substances have been discovered that promise great results to the cosmetic industry. As expected, all the initial studies were focused on these promises and whether they can be harnessed and delivered to products that the human obsession for a more youthful appearance and tighter and firmer skin demands.
Once these promises are confirmed the products are released taking advantage of the regulation that says that cosmetics do not need to undergo thorough testing for side-effects as they are not considered to be medicinal compounds. Unfortunately this is not always the right course of action.
Compounds like resveratrol fall under the category of cosmeceuticals. Substances that deliver medicinal properties along with their cosmetic value. Further research is not just necessary. It is imperative if adverse side effects and possible provocation of medical conditions that can require emergency services are to be prevented.
People want to fight the signs of aging. Wrinkles, fine lines, dark circles, puffiness and all the rest of the symptoms that especially women fear so much as they make them undesirable. It is a good thing to look younger and remain desirable. However, this should not be achieved at the expense of the overall health of the rest of the body.