TANNIC ACID [also known as Tannins] are polyphenolic compounds widely distributed in the plant kingdom and are believed to provide in plants a chemical defense against predators and ultraviolet radiation. They are classifieded into two major categories:
- Hydrolysable Tannins (HTs) which include gallotannins and ellagotannins,
- Condensed Tannins (CTs), proanthocyanidins.
These plant polyphenols are potent antioxidants that may protect against free radical damage caused by exposure to UV light and, in turn, reduce the risk of skin cancer and premature aging.
Tannins are found commonly in the bark of trees, wood, leaves, buds, stems, fruits, seeds and roots. In all of these plant structures, tannins help to protect the individual plant species. Tannins that become stored in the bark of trees protect the tree from being infected by bacteria or fungi. In this case, the tannins precipitate out the enzymes and other protein exudates from bacteria and fungi thus not allowing these organisms to infect the tree. Many bud scales on woody plants contain tannins to protect the inner leaf tissue from being consumed and in many seed plants, the initial set of leaves from a germinating seed is also high in tannins.
the importance of polyphenols for healthy skin
Flavonoids are widely distributed plant pigments and tannins occurring in barks, roots, leaves, flowers, and fruits. Their roles in plants include photoprotection and contributing to the plant color. Flavonoids also referred to as “plant polyphenols,” have been recognized as potent antioxidants. Their free radical-scavenging and metal-chelating activities have been extensively studied. By direct protein interaction, condensed tannins have shown to protect collagen and elastin against degradation, these are two important dermal matrix proteins in the dermis that form a mesh-like layer providing flexibility, stretch and strength to your skin.
Astringent Properties: Tannins owing to protein precipitation have a constricted and protective effect on the skin, therefore reducing the appearance of pores.
Soothes inflammation: Phytosterols reduce redness, inflammation and helps to soothe itchy skin.
Photoprotection: Tannins have significant anti-inflammatory effects on the skin response induced by UV-B [is primarily associated with sunburn].
Antifungal: Condensed tannins have been shown to have moderate antifungal activity against Candida species which causes fungal infection.
Absorption: The astringent properties of botanical oil high in tannins, provide a less 'oily' skin feel and absorb more readily into the skin.
Botanical Oils with Tannic Acid include:
- Rosehip Seed
- Pomegranate Seed
- Evening primrose Seed
- Camellia Seed
- Cranberry Seed
- Borage Seed
- Raspberry Seed
- Mango Butter
- Grape Seed
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Plant tannins: Gali-Muhtasib HU, Yamout SZ, Sidani MM. (1999) Plant tannins as inhibitors of hydroperoxide production and tumor promotion induced by ultraviolet B radiation in mouse skin in vivo. Oncol Rep 6, 547–83.
USDA Forest Service: