Bioflavonoids, also called flavonoids are a large family of plant molecules that are beneficial for overall human health but also for skin health. You won't see them specifically on your skin care ingredient label, but they are found in skin care products.
They are polyphenolic which refers to their chemical structure that contains a phenol ring. Having tremendous antioxidant capacity is their main benefit for our health. Bioflavonoids are found in a variety of foods, and are concentrated in many herbs and in tea. We use both herb extracts and tea to add these bioflavonoid benefits to skin care products.
Bioflavonoid benefits for health
When ingested bioflavonoids have been found to
- protect against cardiovascular disease
- protect nerve cells to keep Alzheimer’s disease at bay
- improve cognition and memory
- reduce the risk of stroke
- reduce the risk of diabetes
- reduce your risk of cancers.
Flavonoids promote the health of blood vessels by helping their muscles relax. They also help the integrity of the endothelium, or lining of the blood vessels. Both are good for lowering blood pressure and preventing stroke.
Bioflavonoid benefits for skin
But what we are most interested in here is their benefit to skin. We know that antioxidants are important to reverse the signs of aging and to repair skin damage caused by UV light. Flavonoids are antioxidants that 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. In plants, UVB light stimulates production of flavonoids and these chemicals then accumulate in their outer tissues.
Several studies have demonstrated benefits of flavonoids for skin. One study looked at a specific flavonoid known as apigenin. Used in a cream, apigenin 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 focused on a flavonoid known as rutin. 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 bioflavonoids 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.
Classes of bioflavonoids
There are actually six different classes 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. Many flavonoids are plant pigments that give color to the plant.
Bioflavonoids in Herbs
Some of the herbs we use in Colorado Aromatics skin care products and the bioflavonoids associated with them include:
Calendula – Isorhamnetin, Quercetin, Calendoflavoside, Rutin. Calendula is used in several products including Springtide Face Cream, Mountain Mist Hand and Body Lotion, and Knuckle Balm.
Parsley – Apigenin, Luteolin, Quercetin, Kaempferol. Parsley is used in our Parsley Eye Serum.
Mint – Luteolin, Rosmarinic acid, Eriocitrin, Hesperidin, and additional lipophilic flavonoids. We use mint in Sole Pleasure Foot Butter, and Botanical Salt Scrubs.
Lavender – Apigenin, Luteolin, Quercetin, Rosmarinic acid. Our Lavender/Rose body oil is infused with lavender.
Lemon balm -Lluteolin, luteolin 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, apigenin 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, luteolin 7-O-beta-D-glucuronopyranoside, luteolin 3'-O-beta-D-glucuronopyranoside and luteolin 7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside-3'-O beta-D-glucuronopyranoside
Some of our favorite ways to get flavonoids into our system 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
2. Choi SJ, Lee SN, Kim K, et al. Biological effects of rutin on skin aging. Int J Mol Med. 2016 Jul;38(1):357-63. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2016.2604. Epub 2016 May 24. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27220601