Grape stomping: The next big thing in beauty?

grape-stomping.jpgOn a recent trip to Paso Robles wine country, after saturating our calves in a ruby stain and wondering how we'd successfully remove the lingering hue, we discussed the possibility that these crushed Cabernet Sauvignon grapes could actually be doing our skin some good (perhaps the gentleman who owns the legs shown to the left was a bit less concerned with the matter). As it turns out, the beauty benefits of wine probably do go beyond the rosy cheeks you may get after a glass. Topically applying a product containing red wine is beneficial in the same way that drinking a glass a day is: Resveratrol, red wine's key antioxidant, and flavonoids fight free-radicals to prevent inflammation that can lead to diseases like heart disease, as well as signs of aging like wrinkles and skin spots. Some natural skin care companies are using red wine or resveratrol in their products already and recent technological advances in Europe are turning byproducts of wine making's fermentation process into a powder that preserves most of wine's nutrients and can be used in everything from food and beverages to skin care.

Red wine and anti-aging The reason resveratrol may be so effective in fighting signs of aging is that it activates sirtuin 1, an "anti-aging" enzyme that promotes healthy cell regeneration. When applied topically, resveratrol can protect collagen, which keeps skin taught, and help repair and renew skin cells. Plus, it helps prevent UVB damage.

Other skin benefits Research shows that applying resveratrol topically can combat human fungal pathogens; its antifungal and antimicrobial properties may help prevent and treat skin infections and may tackle specific skin conditions related to bacteria. The research also shows red wine has promising potential in managing diabetic wounds.

Why red over white? White wine does contain small amounts of resveratrol but the longer skin is on the grape during the winemaking, the greater concentration of resveratrol in the wine. Wines made in cooler climates also have more resveratrol.

A red wine byproduct powder German product developers have created a method to turn by-products of fermentation into a "wine powder" that preserves proteins, B vitamins, minerals, and polyphenols. Spanish natural cosmetics company Alfaverde Productos Naturales has used the powder in skin care and masks that start violet then turn colorless when rubbed into the skin.

Red wine skin care products

Mychelle Supreme Polypeptide Cream fights wrinkles with a combination of potent antioxidants, including resveratrol, and organic oils.

Highland Laboratories, which is certified natural by the Natural Products Association, offers a Red Red Wine Resveratrol Soothing Body Lotion.

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