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Polyphenols For Healthy Skin & Body

Polyphenols For Healthy Skin & Body

Both plants and humans have an elaborate, photoprotective biochemical process to deal with oxidative stress and pathogens (from UV exposure and/or environmental toxins) by utilizing antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and co-enzymes to protect and repair free radical damage throughout its layers. Under normal conditions, this natural antioxidant system is very effective. However, in times of increased exposure (summertime or vacation) and for healthy aging skin, polyphenols can help boost the body’s ability to protect and repair the damage, topically and internally.


Polyphenols are plant-based micronutrients with antioxidant activity, found most abundantly in whole foods such as dried spices, fruits and berries, vegetables, oilseeds, red wine, cannabis, cocoa and tea [2]. Polyphenols play an important role in preventing and reducing UV damage, the progression of diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases (among others). Polyphenols also play an important role as a prebiotic, increasing the ratio of beneficial bacteria in your gut, which is important for health, weight management, and disease prevention.      

Polyphenols give fruits, berries, and vegetables their vibrant colors,
and contribute to the bitterness, astringency, flavor, aroma, and oxidative stability of the food. In the plant, they protect against ultraviolet radiation, pathogens, oxidative damage, and harsh climatic conditions.

The term 'polyphenols' includes a large group of molecular compounds, which all have more than one phenolic hydroxyl group, bound to one or more benzene ring systems. Flavonoids, such as fulvic acids, are the main group of polyphenols. Phenolic compounds are often esterified with sugars or organic acids resulting in a complex spectrum of over 5000 compounds naturally occurring in plants. These compounds act as antioxidants and free radical scavengers.

Polyphenols are not only effective at preventing and repairing sun damage they also support the skin's clarity, elasticity, smoothness, hydration, and firmness. In addition, they have anti-carcinogenic effects as demonstrated in several skin tumor models [6,7].

In fact flavonoids, such as fulvic acid, stilbene and hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives have been determined to have their own sun protection factors (SPF) ranging from 7-30, in a study performed by Nichols et al.[3].

UVA accounts for more than 90% of the total UV radiation reaching us and is constant throughout the year. In the summertime, UVB photons increase considerably. The good news is UVB provides a necessary, natural form of Vitamin D and controlled, unprotected sun exposure is recommended to boost this essential vitamin. The bad news is UVB is 1000X more capable of causing sunburn and skin damage than UVA.


Many skin care products have been developed in recent years based on polyphenol-enriched extracts, like green tea. To be effective, topically applied substances need to be released from the formulation to reach the skin and to overcome the Stratum Corneum -- the horny outer layer -- barrier and penetrate into the epidermis and dermis. The release of active substances and their absorption depends on the molecular properties such as molecular weight and lipophilicity, but also on the vehicle -- oil based or water based formulations [4,5]. The polyphenol-enriched skin care formulations must be chemically, physically and microbiologically stable to assure the deliverability of active substances to the target skin layers.

The fulvic acids (used by Akamai) are derived from a natural source deposit in the United States. Through a clean extraction by purified water, a concentrated product is produced that is stable in a wide pH range. Fulvic acids are both hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (fat-loving) making them ideal for skin care. Their wide pH and tiny molecular weight make them pass easily through cell membranes.


Akamai’s Skin Fuel (not enough to protect from the sun, only repair) and Black Balm contain fulvic acid and several other organic acids (including gallic, caffein, ferric, benzoic, acetic, phenylacetic, lactate, etc..) proven to be powerfully effective antioxidants. It’s in Mineral Toothpaste too!

Polyphenols are also incredibly powerful taken internally to help digestion and slow disease, and are abundant in Akamai’s Fulvic Mineral Complex.

In summary:

  • Polyphenols are an important addition to a healthy skin care regimen, particularly for natural sun protection and repair.  Be sun smart!
  • It’s not what you eat or apply to your skin, it is what you absorb. Naturally occurring polyphenols are more bioavailable.
  • The antioxidant effect of organic acids (internally and externally)  is supported by numerous studies both in the laboratory and in human trials [8,9] and literature  [10 - 21] .


  1. Pinnell, S.R., Cutaneous photodamage, oxidative stress, and topical antioxidant protection. J Am Acad Dermatol, 2003. 48(1): p. 1-19; quiz 20-2 https://mefanet.upol.cz/BP/2003/2/137.pdf.
  2. Dimitrios, B., Sources of natural phenolic antioxidants. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 2006. 17(9): p. 505-51 http://www.agronavigator.cz/userfiles/File/Agronavigator/Kvasnickova/tradice_5.pdf
  3. Nicols, J.A. and S.K. Katiyar, Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res, 2010. 302(2): p. 71-83 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19898857.
  4. Arct, J., et al., Common cosmetic hydrophilic ingredients as penetration modifiers of flavonoids. Int J  Cosmet Sci, 2002. 24(6): p. 357-66  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18494890.
  5. Baby, A.R., et al., Influence of urea, isopropanol, and propylene glycol on ruin in vitro release from cosmetic semisolid systems estimated by factorial design. Drug Dev Ind Pharm, 2009. 35(3): p. 272-82 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18821196.
  6. Singh, T. and S.K. Katiyar, Green tea polyphenol, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate, induces toxicity in human skin cancer cells by targeting beta-catenin signaling. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol, 2013. 273(2): p. 418-24 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24096034.
  7. Osmond, G.W., et al., Enhancing melanoma treatment with resveratrol. J Sure Res, 2012. 172 (1): p.109-15 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20855085.
  8. Martina Medvidovic=Kosanovic, M.S., Lidija Jakobed, and Ivana Novak, Electrochemical and Antioxidant Properties of (+)-Catechin, Quercetin and Rutin CROATICA CHEMICA ACTA 2010 83(2): p.197-207 https://hrcak.srce.hr/56023.
  9. Sanchez, M., et al., Antioxidant power, bacteriostatic activity, and characterization of white grape pomace extracts by HPLC-ESI-MS. European Food Research and Technology, 2009. 230(2): p. 291-301, https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00217-009-1177-6.
  10. Badhani, B., N. Sharma, and R. Kakkar, Gallic acid: a versatile antioxidant with promising therapeutic and industrial applications. RSC Advances in 2015. 5(35): p. 27540-27557    https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2015/ra/c5ra01911g#!divAbstract.
  11. Gulcin, I., Antioxidant activity of caffein acid (3,4-dihydroxycinnamic acid). Toxicology, 2006. 217(2-3):  p. 213-20 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16243424.
  12. Rabelo, T.K., et al., In Vitro Neuroprotective Effect of Shikimic Acid Against Hydrogen Peroxide-Induced Oxidative Stress. J Mol Neurosci, 2015. 56(4): p. 956-965 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25862258
  13. Jaberian, H.,K. Piri, and J. Nazari, Phytochemical composition and in vitro antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of some medicinal plants.
    Food Chem, 2013. 136(1): p. 237-44 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23017418
  14. Sova, M., Antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of cinnamic acid derivatives. Mini Rev Med Chem, 2012. 12(8): p. 749067 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22512578.
  15. Graf, E., Antioxidant potential of ferric acid. Free Radical Biology and Medicine, 1992. 13(4): p. 435-448, https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/089158499290184I
  16. Velika, B. and I. Kron, Antioxidant properties of benzoic acid derivatives against Superoxide radical.  Free Radicals and Antioxidants, 2012. 2(4): p. 62-67 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2231253612240111.
  17. Xican Li1, X.W., Dongfeng Chen, Shuzhi Chen, Antioxidant Activity and Mechanism of Protocatechuic Acid in vitro. Functional Foods in Health and Disease, 2011.
    1(7): p. 233-44 https://ffhdj.com/index.php/ffhd/article/view/127.
  18. Nahar, L., et al., Antioxidant phenylacetic acid derivatives from the seeds of Ilex aquifolium. Acta Pharm, 2005. 55(2): p. 187-93 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16179132.
  19. Zarubina, I.V., M.V. Lukk, and P.D. Shabanov, Antihypoxic and antioxidant effects of exogenous succinct acid and aminothiol succinate-containing antihypoxantsa. Bull Exp Biol Med, 2012. 153(3): p. 3367-9  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22866305.
  20. Gong, W., et al., Composition and structure of antioxidant acetic acid lignin isolated from shoot shell of bamboo (Dendrocalamus Latiforus). Industrial Crops and Products, 2016. 91: p. 340-349. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S092666901630471X.
  21. Groussard, C., et al., Free radical scavenging and antioxidant effects of lactate ion: an in vitro study. J Appl Physiol (1985), 2000. 89(1): p. 169-75 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10904049