Black Rice: A Gateway to Youthful Skin

Understanding the protective mechanism of Black rice against photoaging

Shraddha Singh
4 min readJul 29, 2023
Black rice, anti-ageing, antioxidant, health, skin, skincare, food, healthy, superfood, anthrocyanin, meal.

Ageing is one of the most feared and hated things in this world. Who would ever want to lose their radiant skin? However, amid the realm of nutrition, there exists a remarkable ally that has quietly captured the attention of researchers and health enthusiasts alike: black rice, also known as Chak-hao. This grain conceals within a myriad of benefits, offering us the potential to age gracefully and live a life of reduced stress.

Understanding Antioxidants and Photoaging

Premature ageing by exposure to UV radiation - Photoaging. [Source]

Antioxidants are guardians that protect our bodies from free radicals, the culprits behind oxidative stress. Imagine free radicals as tiny troublemakers that damage our healthy cells and contribute to various diseases such as Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and Cardiovascular diseases. While antioxidants are compounds that protect us by neutralising these troublemakers.¹ Photoaging is the process by which our skin ages prematurely due to exposure to harmful UV radiation from the sun. It leads to wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, and other signs of ageing. Antioxidants, help our skin counteract the harmful effects of UV radiation, reducing the signs of premature ageing

Protective Effects of Black Rice

One natural source of antioxidants is black rice (Oryza sativa L.), which is an excellent source of anthocyanins, polyphenols, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and protein. Anthocyanins are the pigments responsible for the rice’s black color, and they possess strong antioxidant properties. Studies have shown that black rice can prevent and manage various diseases, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, hypertension, arthritis, allergies, and cancer. Moreover, scientific studies have showcased black rice’s ability to reduce inflammation in the body, paving the way to a holistic life. ³ ⁴

Oxidative Stress Resistance Properties of Black Rice

Black rice contains a high concentration of antioxidant phytochemicals and anthocyanins that provide health advantages by combating oxidative stress.⁵ ⁶ The anthocyanins and polyphenols in black rice act as reducing agents that terminate free radical chain reactions by removing the reactive intermediates.¹ Studies show black rice extracts effectively scavenge dangerous reactive oxygen species (ROS) and inhibit the formation of free radicals that damage cells.⁸ ⁹

One analysis found the flavonoid content in black rice to be significantly higher than white or red varieties.⁹ Compounds identified in black rice such as cyanidin-3-O-glucoside, peonidin-3-O-glucoside, and flavonoids demonstrate potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities.

In fact, research indicates that just one spoonful of black rice bran contains more anthocyanins than fresh blueberries.⁴ These findings highlight the potential of black rice as a functional food due to its stress-resistant properties from the high antioxidant content.

Anti-Photoaging Properties of Black Rice

Studies have shown black rice extracts exhibit antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects that may help combat skin ageing. The anthocyanins in black rice scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated by UV radiation and inhibit enzymes that degrade collagen in skin cells.⁸ ⁹ This helps limit photoaging — the wrinkles, age spots, and loss of elasticity caused by sun exposure.

One study found black rice extract protected human skin fibroblasts and keratinocytes from UVB-induced damage by suppressing ROS formation and blocking the decrease of collagen synthesis.⁶ The polyphenols in black rice also reduce inflammatory pathways activated by UV radiation that accelerate skin aging.¹ Through these mechanisms, the compounds in black rice exhibit anti-photoaging properties.


Black rice is emerging as a promising functional food that may help combat ageing and stress. Its deep purple bran is rich in anthocyanins and other antioxidants that exhibit protective effects against oxidative stress and inflammation. Research indicates black rice extracts may prevent UV-induced collagen breakdown to reduce signs of premature skin ageing. The antioxidants in black rice also effectively neutralise reactive oxygen species generated during chronic stress.

With a solid nutritional profile including fibre, protein, and minerals, black rice makes for a tasty anti-aging addition to one’s diet. More clinical studies are still needed, but the current data highlights the anti-photoaging and stress-resistant properties of black rice. Incorporating this colourful heirloom grain could pave the way to graceful ageing, inside and out.


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