Sacred and ancient, the vine was one of the first plants cultivated by human beings.
In ancient Egypt, the leaves were used to decorate temples. Around 2500 BC, the Sumerians recorded banquet scenes with the diners drinking wine. Among the Greeks deities, Dionysus was the god of wine, just as the Romans had Bacchus.
The healing properties of the vine also date from time immemorial. It is said that the Romans made masks using crushed grapes, and that the women at the court of Louis XIV improved their skin by smearing it with wine. The vine is still used today to cure skin diseases because of the astringent and haemostatic properties of its branches and leaves. Furthermore, the fruit it gives—the grape—is refreshing, tonic and diuretic.
Vitamin E provides one of its main properties, because it acts as an antioxidant in synthesising haem pigment, an essential part of haemoglobin. But the ingredient that makes it most suitable for use in cosmetics is resveratrol. This is a compound from the polyphenol family found in grapes and their derivatives, which has been discovered to be a magnificent antioxidant. According to various studies, it is 50 times more potent than vitamin C.
Resveratrol is mainly present in the skin and seeds of grapes. Polyphenols (chemical substances found in this fruit with antioxidant properties) prevent ageing of the skin, and also moisturize and reaffirm it, stimulating the generation of collagen and also fostering muscle toning. Resveratrol particularly activates the production of sirtuins, more commonly known as the longevity cell proteins. These proteins are found naturally in our skin but they decrease over time and become less effective. Sirtuins’ primary function is to increase in stressful situations, coming to the rescue of the damaged cell and repairing it, or letting it die if the damage is excessive. They thus prevent any dangerous cellular changes from occurring. However, this only occurs when sirtuins are fully functioning, but their performance begins to decline over the age of 30. This is why it is necessary to supplement them from outside by using cosmetics. The grape and its derivatives not only delay skin ageing but also improve the skin’s elasticity in the face of the harsh effects of the environment.