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updated: 2/20/2013 9:40 PM

Barrington doctor on your skin and red wine health benefits

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Dr. Una Shah, MD

The skin is the body's largest organ. It is the protective barrier of our bodies and is responsible for more than we usually think of. As many of us know it is very important to protect and nourish our skin at all times. Protecting our skin can minimize wrinkles and help prevent skin cancers and other long-lasting skin damage.

There are many ways we can help protect and nourish our skin. There are newer studies that have found red wine may help protect skin as well. Red wine is very rich in antioxidants meaning it can protect different radicals from attacking the body's cells. The two main antioxidants in wine are flavanoids and resveratrol.

Although red wine can help protect skin it is not a substitute for sunscreen. The way sunscreen helps is different in the way the flavanoids from red wine do. The flavanoids can help by preventing the skin from forming reactive oxygen species. Reactive oxygen species are responsible for reacting with UV rays to destroy cells and cause sunburn. Therefore, the antioxidants in red wine can be used as an extra protective layer.

Resveratrol is the antioxidant that can be found in red wine, red grape skins, grape juice, mulberries, and peanuts. There has not been significant research with the antioxidant on its own yet, but it has been linked to helping prevent cancer, heart diseases, and protect against neurological disorders.

Of course, drinking in moderation is key. Drinking over the recommended amount can be harmful to your health. Drink a glass or two and don't forget to drink water in between. If you want to enjoy the benefits without alcohol, grapes include the same antioxidants as wine, and can provide many of the same health benefits.

Dr. Una Shah, MD, specializes in dermatology. She has 17 years of experience as an MD, and received her medical degree at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine. She is located at the Dermuss office in Barrington, IL.