Bioflavonoids, also called flavonoids are a large family of plant molecules that are beneficial for human health. They are polyphenolic which refers to their chemical structure of containing a phenol ring. Having tremendous antioxidant capacity is their main benefit to our health. They are found in a variety of foods, and are concentrated in many herbs and tea.
When ingested they have been found to protect against cardiovascular disease, protect nerve cells to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay and improve cognition/memory, reduce the risk of stroke, reduce the risk of diabetes, and reduce your risk of cancers. Flavonoids promote the health of blood vessels and help relaxation of blood vessels and help the integrity of the endothelium, or lining of the blood vessels. This is good for lowering blood pressure and preventing stroke.
But what we are most concerned with here is their benefit to skin. Antioxidants are important for skin to reverse the signs of aging as well as to repair skin damage caused by UV light. Flavonoids can both protect the skin from damage caused by UV light and also repair that damage. In fact, plants themselves use flavonoids for their own sun protection. UVB light stimulates production of flavonoids in plants and these chemicals accumulate in their outer tissues.
Several studies have demonstrated benefits of flavonoids for skin. One study found that a specific flavonoids known as apigenin, when used in a cream was able to increase the thickness and elasticity of the dermis, reduce wrinkle length, improve skin tone and the moisture content of skin (1). Another study showed that a flavonoid called rutin, was able to increase skin elasticity and decrease the size and number of wrinkles (2).
Quercetin, hesperidin, and rutin are three of the most widely studied flavonoids that show anti-aging benefits for skin. Some have estrogenic activity such as those in soy which have additional skin benefits with collagen production and skin thickness.Bioflavonoids have been well established to help support vitamin C and slow its breakdown. Vitamin C is an important nutrient for skin because it promotes collagen production and evens skin tone.
There are actually six different subclasses of bioflavonoids based on slight differences in their chemical structures. These subclasses are flavonols, flavan-3-ols, flavones, flavonones, flavones and anthocyanidins. Together there are over 4000 different identified bioflavonoids giving scientists plenty to study.
Some of the herbs we use in Colorado Aromatics skin care products and the bioflavonoids associated with them include:
Calendula – Isorhamnetin, Quercetin, Calendoflavoside, Rutin
Parsley – Apigenin, Luteolin, Quercetin, Kaempferol
Mint – Luteolin, Rosmarinic acid, Eriocitrin, Hesperidin, Additional lipophilic flavonoids
Lavender – Apigenin, Luteolin, Quercetin, Rosmarinic acid
Some of our favorite ways to get flavonoids are by ingesting cocoa, tea, berries and red wine. Read more about flavonoids from the Linus Pauling Institute.
1.Sungjin Choi, Jeungyeun Youn, Karam Kim, et al., Apigenin inhibits UVA-induced cytotoxicity in vitro and prevents signs of skin aging in vivo. Int J Mol Med. 2016 Aug;38(2):627-34. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2016.2626. Epub 2016 Jun 6. https://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijmm/38/2/627