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Exploring the Potential of Polyphenols in Dermatology


Polyphenols, found in certain foods, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help modulate immune responses, offering potential adjunctive therapy for atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, and chronic urticaria.

Polyphenols, a diverse class of natural compounds found in various fruits, vegetables, and herbs, have gained significant attention in recent years due to their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that could provide relief for patients with skin conditions such as atopic dermatitis (AD), psoriasis, and chronic urticaria. Their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may help modulate immune responses, offering potential adjunctive therapy for these conditions.

kalafoto/Adobe Stock

kalafoto/Adobe Stock

A recent study provided a comprehensive overview of various types of polyphenols and their potential pharmacological functions. Specifically, investigators delved into the subtypes of flavonoids, stilbenoids, phenolic acids, lignans, tannins, and ellagitannins, highlighting their respective health benefits. It also explored the emerging research on the role of polyphenols in skin health and photoprotection.

Flavonoids: Nature's Powerful Compounds

Flavonoids, a prominent class of polyphenols, encompass flavones, flavonols, flavanones, and anthocyanins. These compounds, found in various plants, offer an array of health benefits. Flavones, exemplified by apigenin and luteolin, exhibit anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Flavonols, such as quercetin and kaempferol, have similar attributes and are associated with improved cardiovascular health. Flavanones, abundant in citrus fruits, enhance insulin sensitivity and reduce cardiovascular risk. Anthocyanins, responsible for vibrant fruit colors, contribute to cognitive function and cardiovascular health.

Stilbenoids: Unveiling the Power of Resveratrol

Resveratrol, a prominent stilbenoid found in grapes, is extensively studied for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and disease-preventing properties. It demonstrates potential in reducing cancer and cardiovascular risks, improving insulin sensitivity, and possibly offering neuroprotective effects.

Phenolic Acids: Guardians of Skin Health

Caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid, notable phenolic acids, showcase robust antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disorders, they play a crucial role in preserving skin health.

Lignans: Nature's Protectors

Present in flaxseed, sesame seeds, and whole grains, lignans possess anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They are associated with a decreased risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease, and improved insulin sensitivity.

Other Polyphenols: Tannins and Ellagitannins

Tannins, found in tea and wine, exhibit potent antioxidant properties, potentially combating inflammation and cancer. Ellagitannins, present in berries and nuts, demonstrate similar effects, contributing to skin health and overall well-being.

Polyphenols and Skin Health

Polyphenols offer a range of protective and beneficial effects for the skin. Their antioxidant properties shield against free radical damage, preventing premature aging. Additionally, certain polyphenols possess anti-inflammatory properties, soothing and calming irritated skin, which is particularly advantageous for individuals with conditions like acne or dermatitis. Moreover, these compounds stimulate collagen production, preserving skin texture and elasticity.

Photoprotection: Defending Against UV Radiation

Prolonged exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a significant contributor to skin malignancies. Polyphenols, especially flavonoids, stilbenes, and phenolic acids, have demonstrated potential in providing protection against UV-induced damage. Through various mechanisms, including scavenging free radicals and regulating cellular responses, polyphenols bolster the skin's resilience to UV radiation.

Key Takeaways

The exploration of polyphenols in dermatology opens a promising avenue for natural and effective therapeutic interventions. While initial research is encouraging, further studies are warranted to elucidate optimal dosing, formulation, and mechanisms of action. Additionally, personalized approaches and innovative drug delivery systems may enhance the efficacy of polyphenols in clinical settings.


Di Salvo E, Gangemi S, Genovese C, Cicero N, Casciaro M. Polyphenols from Mediterranean Plants: Biological Activities for Skin Photoprotection in Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, and Chronic Urticaria. Plants (Basel). 2023;12(20):3579. Published 2023 Oct 15. doi:10.3390/plants12203579

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