Smartweed is probably not the first ingredient you think of when it comes to skincare. Chances are, you’ve never even heard of smartweed or what it can do for your skin.
The truth is, it’s not so much smartweed itself that is so fantastic for skincare but rather what hides inside this seemingly insignificant plant: a powerful, anti-aging antioxidant by the name of resveratrol.
Now, it’s much more likely that you have heard of resveratrol, a somewhat famous compound found in red wine and grapes. It has a wide range of health-boosting properties, which includes helping your skin look younger for longer.
Here’s more about the skin benefits of resveratrol and why smartweed is a very smart choice for skincare.
What Is Smartweed?
Smartweed (Polygonum hydropiper) is a plant found in many regions of Europe, North America, and Asia as well as Australia and New Zealand. It belongs to the knotweed family, which is a group of plants that have long been used for their beneficial properties in traditional medicine.
It should come as no surprise that most knotweed members grow freely. They have, after all, been given the name “weed.”
However, this particular species of smartweed is not invasive like its close cousin, Japanese knotweed, is. It prefers growing in damp areas and is even cultivated in certain parts of Asia as a pungent vegetable.
This easy-to-grow habit is actually a plus when it comes to using smartweed in skincare products. Plants require few to no pesticides and can be easily grown in abundance. They are then harvested and used in the form of a superpowered extract.
What Makes Smartweed Special?
As you already know, the secret superpower of smartweed is resveratrol.
Resveratrol is a specific type of antioxidant known as a polyphenol. It first came to attention when researchers began studying the “French paradox.” They wanted to know why the incidence of heart disease was so low in France, despite the traditional heavy French diet.
One theory was that red wine (frequently consumed in France) was responsible for keeping up heart health. This, in turn, led to a focus on resveratrol as a main beneficial compound present in red wine.
They discovered that resveratrol is a compound produced by certain plants in response to stressors like disease-causing pathogens, UV radiation, and physical damage. This means it has very potent protective properties that seem to extend to the human body.
For a while, grapes were the major source of resveratrol (and are still the most well-known).
However, plants in the knotweed family- including Japanese knotweed and smartweed- are also an excellent source of resveratrol. And as mentioned, they can be grown more cost-effectively and with fewer pesticides than grapes.
Top Skincare Benefits of Resveratrol
Powerful Against Skin-Damaging Free Radicals
You may not know this, but one of the biggest threats to your skin comes from free radicals.
Free radicals are unstable molecules that have an unpaired electron. They react with other molecules in your body, which can cause damage at the cellular level known as oxidative stress.
Many of us are familiar with the term “oxidative stress” (also called free radical damage) as it applies to physical health. It’s one of the driving forces behind chronic inflammation and a possible contributor to many age-related diseases.
However, oxidative stress also affects the outside of your body, meaning your skin.
Two types of molecules that free radicals frequently “attack” are lipids and proteins- both of which play a huge role in healthy skin.
Lipids are fat molecules that are a part of your skin’s natural barrier. They help keep water from evaporating so that your skin stays hydrated. Your skin also contains several different proteins, but the two most notable ones are collagen and elastin. These two work in sync to keep skin looking firm, plump, and thick.
As you can see, by attacking these important molecules, free radicals have the potential to do a lot of damage to your skin- unless they get stopped by antioxidants.
Antioxidants have an extra electron they can donate to free radicals, essentially neutralizing them. This greatly lowers oxidative stress and is one of the reasons resveratrol can improve the way your skin looks and feels.
Fights Several Signs of Skin Aging
Because resveratrol helps combat free radical damage, it also helps protect the collagen and elastin in your skin. This is very important if you want your skin to look younger for longer.
As mentioned, collagen and elastin are both important skin proteins.
Collagen is responsible for about 75% of your skin’s makeup. You can think of it as the “anti-deflation” protein. It plays a big role in keeping your skin plump and thick, which in turn wards off the formation of wrinkles and fine lines.
Elastin is present in your skin in smaller amount but is just as important as collagen. It’s more of an “anti-sag” protein that keeps your skin elastic so that it can bounce back after being stretched. As it declines, your skin starts to sag and look older.
Unfortunately, both collagen and elastin start declining in your body as you age.
One major accelerator of this process is free radical damage. Free radicals induce two enzymes known as collagenase and elastase. These enzymes are responsible for breaking down collagen and elastin respectively.
As you can imagine, you do not want an abundance of these enzymes, or your skin will soon start looking much older than it is. Using antioxidants, like resveratrol, to stop free radical damage from getting out of control is key to reducing signs of aging.
As a huge bonus, research shows that resveratrol helps stimulate collagen production, which is even better for rejuvenating old-looking skin.
Helps Protect Against Environmental Damage
If you think about it, your skin gets exposed to all kinds of stressors on a daily basis. Pollution, toxic chemicals, harsh wind and weather- these all hit your skin first before affecting the rest of your body.
While all of this can take a toll on how your skin looks, UV damage is the biggest problem for many people.
Technically known as photodamage, too much UV exposure can drastically speed up the aging process in your skin. It does this in part by accelerating free radical formation, which as you know, is very bad news for your complexion.
Photodamage happens in the deepest layers of your skin and results in the appearance of wrinkles, dark spots, uneven texture, and so on. At the furthest end of the spectrum, it can also result in skin cancer.
Because photodamage involves the deeper layers of skin, it can be difficult- though not impossible- to reverse.
Antioxidants, of course, can help reduce the appearance of photoaging, but it’s far better to prevent it in the first place- something resveratrol is very good at. Research has shown that resveratrol helps protect skin at the cellular level and slows photoaging because of this.
Using it can help protect your skin from future damage, which is a big anti-aging benefit.
Boosts Hydration and Improves Skin Texture
Yet another benefit of resveratrol is that it can improve skin hydration. As your skin ages and its natural barrier gets damaged, it’s not uncommon to feel like your skin is drier than it used to be.
Many anti-aging products can actually increase dryness, but not resveratrol. In fact, it boosts the hydration of your skin and also helps protect the integrity of your skin barrier with its antioxidant power. This encourages moisture to stay in your skin for longer.
The texture of your skin is another aspect that can suffer with age, in part because of increased dryness. You may notice rough patches of skin or an uneven appearance to your complexion.
One study found that a resveratrol product was able to improve skin roughness and overall texture while also improving elasticity. The improved elasticity and hydration also led to diminished wrinkles, which is fantastic!
Brightens and Calms Skin
As a powerful antioxidant, resveratrol also has anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it helps support healthy levels of inflammation in your skin and has a calming effect on redness and irritation.
Some preliminary research confirms that applying a resveratrol product topically can decrease facial redness if used for several weeks.
A few encouraging studies have also noted that resveratrol may help improve skin conditions like eczema, acne, and psoriasis. This includes itching and other symptoms like acne lesions. Hopefully, more research will soon make it a viable natural treatment!
Good for All Skin Types
As you might expect, resveratrol is especially good for mature or dry complexions because of its anti-aging and hydrating properties. However, it can benefit any skin type and won’t make your skin more oily if you tend towards that direction.
Resveratrol also works well with many natural skincare ingredients, including other antioxidants. You can use it daily without worrying that it will be hard on your skin, and it remains very stable within skincare products.
Other Major Health Benefits of Resveratrol
Obviously, resveratrol is outstanding for your skin, but you may be wondering what else it can do. Here’s a quick look at a few other major health benefits of this powerful antioxidant:
- Boosts Heart Health– Resveratrol can help your heart out in several ways. Studies have shown that it can help reduce total cholesterol, raise HDL (good) cholesterol, and possibly lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. There’s also indication that it has an anti-atherosclerotic effect. This means it may help prevent atherosclerosis, which is a buildup in the arteries.
- Anticancer Potential– Both lab and animal studies show that resveratrol may help fight certain types of cancer cells. This includes skin, breast, colon, gastric, and prostate cancer cells. It also appears to fight cancer at different stages, especially tumor formation and progression.
- Helps You Feel Younger– The anti-aging effects of resveratrol aren’t just for your skin. This free-radical fighting antioxidant also works within your body to reduce oxidative stress and potentially help you live longer. Notably, it possesses neuroprotective properties that may slow age-related cognitive decline.
- May Help Relieve Arthritis Symptoms– Certain antioxidants have shown potential for helping with pain management. Resveratrol has shown specific potential for helping to ease the pain and other symptoms of arthritis. Different studies have shown that it can reduce pain, tenderness, and joint swelling and decrease cartilage damage.
How to Make Use of Resveratrol-Containing Smartweed
In case you’re tempted to start growing smartweed in your backyard, it’s really most effective as an extract. This concentrates the amount of resveratrol and other plant compounds and also makes smartweed really easy to use for skincare.
Usually, you’ll find resveratrol formulated into a certain type of skincare product: cream, serum, etc. To avoid toxins that may harm your skin, look for an organic source of resveratrol as well as other natural plant-based ingredients to complement it.
To “feed” your skin the antioxidant power of resveratrol, topical application is best.
However, some studies have found that consuming it also gives a boost to your skin. Add natural sources like grapes, raw cacao, and dark-colored berries to your diet to increase the effects of applying it to your skin.
The Best Smartweed Product for Younger-Looking Eyes
Resveratrol is particularly beneficial for fighting signs of aging around your eyes. That’s why the Age-Defying Eye Cream from Purity Woods combines resveratrol-rich organic smartweed extract with over 20 other pure botanicals in a formula that quickly erases the appearance of under-eye bags, dark circles, fine lines, etc.
This eye cream contains only USDA Certified Organic ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about toxins or synthetic ingredients that will damage the delicate skin around your eyes.
To go with the powerful smartweed extract are nature’s best moisturizers, like organic mango seed butter and organic evening primrose oil, as well as other superstar antioxidant ingredients like organic sumac berry extract. The cream also contains novel organic maple leaf extracts to help protect the precious elastin in your skin.
If you are tired of old- or tired-looking eyes (and eye products that don’t work),
head here to learn more about the Age-Defying Eye Cream.