Antioxidant found in wine may help fight acne-causing bacteria, researchers say

Wine drinkers, rejoice! Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have found that an antioxidant derived from grapes -- and also found in wine -- inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria.

The study, published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy, found that combining the antioxidant resveratrol with benzoyl peroxide, a common acne medication, may enhance the drug’s ability to kill the bacteria, possibly leading to new acne treatments.

“We initially thought that since actions of the two compounds are opposing, the combination should cancel the other out, but they didn’t,” Dr. Emma Taylor, lead study author and assistant clinical professor of medicine at UCLA said in a news release.

The research team grew colonies of acne-causing bacteria, adding various concentrations of resveratrol and benzoyl peroxide both separately and then together and collected data over a 10-day period.

Researchers found that benzoyl peroxide was able to initially kill the bacteria at all concentration levels, but the effect didn’t last longer than 24 hours, according to the news release.

The team also found that while resveratrol did not have strong killing capacity, it was able to inhibit bacterial growth for a longer period of time.

However, the findings showed that adding the two compounds together was the most effective way to combat the bacteria.

“This study demonstrates that combining an oxidant and an antioxidant may enhance each other and help sustain bacteria-fighting activity over a longer period of time,” Taylor said.

“It was like combining the best of both words and offering a two-pronged attack on the bacteria,” Dr. Jenny Kim, senior study author and professor of clinical medicine.

Using cultured human skin cells and blood cells, researchers also tested the two compounds to analyze toxicity. The results found benzoyl peroxide to be much more toxic than resveratrol, however, adding them together caused prolonged antibacterial effects and minimized toxicity to other cells.

“We hope that our findings lead to a new class of acne therapies that center on antioxidants such as resveratrol,” Taylor said.

The team says additional research will be needed to better understand the mechanisms of the two compounds and to validate the findings in patients.