There are certain natural compounds that have been accepted by the skin care industry as advantageous for your health, despite the lack of scientific evidence supporting those benefits. As someone in the skin care industry, I can tell you that health claims are mostly just marketing strategy made up by people in board rooms and not scientists in a lab. In fact, most highly marketed ingredients and compounds in skin care do more harm than good, and if the company selling the product provides scientific data supporting their marketing claims, that data was most likely cherry-picked over evidence to the contrary, paid for by the company selling the product (and thus creating a conflict of interest) or made up entirely with the hope that you do not do your own research.
Resveratrol, a plant phenol that is found (amongst other places that I will state below) in the skin of red grapes, is an ingredient that has a lofty reputation which, until now, it has not lived up to. Resveratrol has been said to cure heart disease, act as a tumor suppressor, and to work as a metabolic booster, which none of such claims have been substantiated in the lab beyond weak correlation. And as any scientists will attest, weak correlation is not enough to make any definitive claims, but rather to act as a starting point for further research.
And now we have that further research (and its implications in skin care). An exciting study conducted by researchers at the University of Exeter and the University of Brighton have found that exposing senescent (aged) cells to resveratrol made the cells not only look younger, but behave like younger cells. Why is this groundbreaking? Because it has been previously thought that once cellular senescence occurs, there is nothing that can be done to turn back the hands of time and rejuvenate the cell (besides stimulating stem cells to make new cells).
The ability to turn senescent cells into young cells is important for everyone because if you live long enough, all of your cells (except for stem cells) will reach the senescent phase. Cells repair and replace each other throughout life as a natural process of aging. If you damage a skin cell by injury such as a fall or using a physical exfoliant like a scrub or polish, then your cells must divide to replace that damaged cell. Cells also replace each other naturally (without injury) just as we live our life. Senescence occurs when cells can no longer divide and replace what is damaged or dying. Cells lose the ability to divide when there are no more telomeres capping the end of the chromosomes housed within the nucleus of the cell. Every time a cell divides, a bit of the telomere gets nicked, and after around 50 divisions (the Hayflick Limit) the telomeres are all gone, the cell cannot divide anymore, and the cell is senescent. The (very simplistic) reason why a 20 year old person looks different than a 70 year old person (if we were to take out variables such as environmental causes of aging and genetic diseases) is because the 70 year old person has cells that are old, and cannot be replaced anymore. When cells cannot replenish themselves, damage occurs, and that damage accumulates in the skin (amongst other places) in the form of wrinkles, sagginess, dark spots and sometimes tumors.
The researchers working on the resveratrol study found the following:
1. A class of genes called splicing factors are progressively switched off as we age.
2. Splicing factors, once turned off naturally by the body, can be switched back on with resveratrol, having the effect of turning senescent cells into physically younger cells that behave more like young cells and start dividing.
3. Within hours of exposure to resveratrol, senescent cells looked younger and started to rejuvenate, behaving like young cells and dividing.
Professor Harries, one of the researchers working on the study said: “This is a first step in trying to make people live normal lifespans, but with health for their entire life. Our data suggests that using chemicals to switch back on the major class of genes that are switched off as we age might provide a means to restore function to old cells... This demonstrates that when you treat old cells with molecules that restore the levels of the splicing factors, the cells regain some features of youth. They are able to grow, and their telomeres - the caps on the ends of the chromosomes that shorten as we age - are now longer, as they are in young cells. Far more research is needed now to establish the true potential for these sort of approaches to address the degenerative effects of aging. ”
Dr Eva Latorre, Research Associate at the University of Exeter, who carried out the experiments was surprised by the extent and rapidity of noted: “When I saw some of the cells in the culture dish rejuvenating I couldn’t believe it. These old cells were looking like young cells. It was like magic,” she said. “I repeated the experiments several times and in each case the cells rejuvenated. I am very excited by the implications and potential for this research.”
So now that we know that resveratrol is literally an anti-ager in vitro, how do we get it in our skin care? Luckily if you use OUMERE products you already are getting a hearty dose of resveratrol. Yes, we use grape seed extract in our formulas, such as our No. 9 Daily Chemical Exfoliant, but we also use a much more powerful and rich source of resveratrol, mulberries.
Grape seeds, the major source of resveratrol contains 5.89 (μg g−1 dry weight) of resveratrol. Mulberries contain 50.61 (μg g−1 dry weight) of resveratrol, so which one would you prefer? I say both, because why not get the combined resveratrol from mulberries and grapes on top of the individual and exclusive benefits of both? OUMERE uses Mulberry extract in our UV-R serum to reverse cellular damage.
The true anti-agers in skin care are not those that just feel good, or even those that make your skin look good. The true anti-aging skin care prevents damage from occurring at the cellular level and acts to rejuvenate cells that are aged. The best skin care contains only such ingredients. There are far too many brands out there that contain resveratrol, or other beneficial anti-aging ingredients, yet undermine that strength by adding cytotoxic agents such as essential oils, turpenes, fragrance, or harsh alcohols into the formula. Your quest for the right skin care does not begin and end with one ingredient, it begins and ends with one brand that knows better than to put something that will kill your cells, like linalool, next to something that is there to protect you, like resveratrol.
Stay tuned for more updates on the latest in biological anti-aging research, and feel free to contact me here if you want any questions answered in regards to the science of skin care.