When you think of the word elastic, you may think about yoga pants or hair ties. But the most important elastic in your life is the one you see in the mirror every day: Your skin, which is your body’s largest organ.
One of the ways that your skin maintains a youthful, glowing look is because of its elasticity—that is, the compounds in your skin that allows it to shape and stretch (one of the proteins found in the skin is appropriately called elastin). Well, as you age, skin elasticity decreases, and that reduction is what can contribute to the formation of fine lines and wrinkles.
This happens naturally over time, but it can be accelerated by a number of outside influences, such as sun exposure, smoking, pollution, lack of sleep and inadequate nutrition.
And while dullness of skin (and those wrinkles and fine lines) certainly play a role in how we look and feel, it’s important to remember that what happens to our skin mirrors our overall health. As you first line of defense against toxins and threats from the outside world, your skin care does shield you—but it also communicates how healthy you are on the inside.
One of my favorite ways to improve outside glow—and inner health—is with resveratrol, a plant-based phytochemical. Resveratrol, a powerful natural compound with a history of medicinal use for over 2000 years, is naturally found in red grape skin and seeds, cranberries, blueberries, peanuts, and red wine.
This polyphenol antioxidant has been categorized as a phytoalexin, defined as a plant’s intrinsic ability to protect themselves from harsh external factors. Such factors include too much ultraviolet light, disease and changes in climate—much like how our skin protects our bodies from outside influences.
Resveratrol’s ability to combat threats to our cells can help slow down the aging process. Specifically, it can neutralize free radicals, which can harm DNA, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids, resulting in damage to otherwise healthy cells. Resveratrol works by pairing to free radical electrons to stabilize them and mitigate the damage.
Research shows that introducing this supplement into our bodies has noticeable positive effects. Participants who took part in the two studies below found improvements in their skin and a newfound glow.
One study tested the effects on whether resveratrol could decrease skin imperfections. Participants were instructed to apply topical resveratrol, in gel form, for 30 consecutive days, and to take note of any before and after changes. From spots to clarity, results showed acne decreased by roughly 54 percent.
Another study tested the effects of resveratrol on women’s skin. Subjects ingested the supplement orally over the course of 60 days. Women reported they noticed positive changes in their skin, experiencing more moisture, better texture, increased elasticity and a reduction in age spots.