Antioxidant Found in Grapes: New Target For Acne Treatment?

3 Nov

Acne is considered the most common skin disorder in the United States, with nearly 85% of people dealing with acne at some point in their lives. Acne not only affects individuals and their self-esteem, but also wallets. People spend over 2.2 billion dollars for the treatment of acne, with most of the costs going to prescription or over-the-counter remedies that often have substandard results. However, a new study from UCLA may have found a natural alternative available for acne treatment.

Resveratrol is an antioxidant derived from grapes. Previous studies have found substantial health benefits of resveratrol, including protective effects against heart disease and malignancy. The UCLA study suggests that resveratrol inhibits the growth of bacteria within the pores – directly addressing the root of acne problems. Further, combining resveratrol with common acne treatments like benzoyl peroxide even enhances resveratrol’s ability to kill bacteria associated with acne, and this finding may even lead to new treatments.

The research team published the findings in an online edition of Dermatology and Therapy. Their early lab findings demonstrate how resveratrol combined with benzoyl peroxide attack acne bacteria known as propionibacterium in more ways than one. We’ve all heard the exciting findings regarding the health benefits of a glass of red wine, and now resveratrol’s antioxidant properties may do more than exert benefits on the cardiovascular system. As a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol stops free radical damage in its tracks. This is an important protective benefit, as free radical damage can cause damage to delicate cells and tissues. Benzoyl peroxide, while helping to clear up acne, does so by creating free radicals that kill acne bacteria.

The researchers explained that they initially believed that the opposing actions of resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide would prove ineffective against acne bacteria by canceling each other out. To their surprise, the two components actually worked synergistically by enhancing and sustaining each others’ ability to fight acne bacteria over a long period of time. To test their hypothesis, the researchers grew colonies of bacteria, and later added various concentrations of resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide. The cultures were then monitored for bacterial growth or bacterial death for the next ten days. While benzoyl peroxide was able to kill bacteria at various concentrations, it was unable to sustain this ability for more than 24 hours. Although resveratrol doesn’t kill much of the acne bacteria, it was found to inhibit bacterial growth for long periods of time.

By combining the two, the researchers explain it’s like offering acne sufferers a two-pronged approach on acne bacteria. When the researchers observed the bacteria with a high-powered microscope, they found that the bacterial cells lost structure and definition of the cell wall. This finding suggests that resveratrol may alter and weaken the outer structure of the bacterial membrane. In addition, it’s important to note that benzoyl peroxide often has side effects in acne sufferers, especially those with sensitive skin. The protective effects of resveratrol may help to reduce, or even eliminate these side effects. In addition, these findings suggest that other types of antioxidants may offer synergistic effects to traditional acne treatments, while also reducing or eliminating adverse side effects like peeling and redness.


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