Compound in Grapes and Red Wine Prevents Acne, Study


Resveratrol, an antioxidant found in grapes and wine, hinders the growth of bacteria that cause acne, according to a University of California Los Angeles study.

Researchers say that the combination of resveratrol with a common acne medication, benzoyl peroxide, may be more effective against the acne bacteria (called Propionibacterium acnes). The antioxidant prevents the formation of free radicals, which trigger cell and tissue damage. Benzoyl peroxide, an oxidant, produces free radicals that kill the acne bacteria.

"We initially thought that since actions of the two compounds are opposing, the combination should cancel the other out, but they didn't," said Dr. Emma Taylor, the study's first author and an assistant clinical professor of medicine in the division of dermatology at the David Geffen School of Medicine, in a press release. "This study demonstrates that combining an oxidant and an antioxidant may enhance each other and help sustain bacteria-fighting activity over a longer period of time."

Previous studies have shown positive impact of resveratrol in red wine in heart health.

For the current study, researchers cultivated colonies of acne bacteria and then added various concentrations of resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide both alone and together. The researchers monitored the cultures for 10 days.

Researchers found that benzoyl peroxide alone was able to kill the bacteria at all concentration levels, but the effect didn't last beyond the first 24 hours. Resveratrol didn't possess a strong killing capability, but it stopped bacterial growth for a longer period of time. However, when these two compounds were used together, they lowered the bacterial population the most

"It was like combining the best of both worlds and offering a two-pronged attack on the bacteria," said senior author Dr. Jenny Kim, professor of clinical medicine in the division of dermatology at the Geffen School.

The researchers also grew human skin cells and blood cells with the two compounds to test their toxicity and found that benzoyl peroxide was much more toxic than resveratrol. This explains why the skin turns red and irritated when benzoyl peroxide is used in high dose or concentration.

The finding is published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy.

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