Grape seed extracts could improve skin from within

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

A dietary supplement of oligomeric proanthocyanidins (OPC) could
reduce reddening of the skin by 13 per cent, scientists from
Hamburg-based Bioskin GmbH have reported, research sure to be
welcomed by Europe's burgeoning oral beauty products sector.

Growing awareness of the link between diet and health, and by extension physical appearance, means that many consumers are receptive to the concept of 'beauty from within'.

Indeed, a recent Datamonitor report predicted the overall European cosmeceuticals market to grow to $4.4bn (€3.4bn) in 2009, up 5 per cent from today. This includes all cosmetic products containing at least one bio-active ingredient for the skin.

The new research from Germany that links skin health to grape seed extracts could well be readily accepted by the female-dominated consumer base. The same Datamonitor report said that 63.7 per cent of women over the age of 50 are prepared to spend more on cosmeceuticals.

The new study, published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology​ (Vol. 20, pp. 43-49, doi: 10.1159/000096171), looked at the effect of a OPC dietary supplement on skin reddening (erythema) induced by exposure to UV radiation.

Known as Masquelier's Original OPCs (oligomeric proanythocyanidins), Anthogenol, the Vitis vinifera​ seed extract is a rich source of antioxidants such as catechins and 2-5 flavan-3-ols.

Lead researcher, Betsy Hughes-Formella, and her colleagues from Bioskin recruited 42 subjects and randomly assigned them to one of two groups: group1 received a daily Anthogenol supplement (100 mg/day) and group 2 received no supplement.

After four weeks of supplementation, the subjects were exposed to UV radiation to induce erythema and then the subjects given topical OPC formulations in addition to the supplements.

The researchers report that while the formulations did reduce skin reddening, the subjects receiving the dietary supplement of OPCs had 13 per cent less erythema than those receiving no supplement.

Levels of skin hydration were also said to be higher in the group taking the dietary supplement.

"The regular use of Anthogenol products may help to protect from free-radical-mediated skin inflammation and to increase skin hydration,"​ concluded the researchers.

The study adds to a growing body of science that has looked at the effects of dietary supplementation on skin health. Indeed, in recent months compounds ranging from lutein and lycopene to cocoa flavonoids have been reported to improve skin health.

The buzz about 'beauty from within' supplements has been increasing over the last few years, as evidenced by new ingredients in both the cosmetics and the supplements sectors and discussions at industry events.

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