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If you’re into skin care, you’ve probably heard of antioxidants for skin.

Touted as super ingredients that can turn back the clock, they can be found in all kinds of creams, gels, and serums.

But did you know that one particularly potent antioxidant is naturally found in your favorite glass of red wine?

Its name is resveratrol, and here’s everything you need to know about its skin-boosting powers.

Resveratrol is a plant compound that can be found in many foods, like grapes, red wine, some berries, and peanuts. It has antioxidant properties, and neutralizes free radicals that can damage skin.

A 2010 research review showed that the free radical molecules that resveratrol fights against create the effects of aging in skin and can damage any cell in the body.

Researchers have therefore found that resveratrol may help to protect against the likes of cardiovascular disease, neurological conditions like Alzheimer’s, and even some forms of cancer.

The effects of aging

One of the main benefits of resveratrol is its ability to reduce the effects of aging in skin.

“As we age, we lose our natural collagen and elastin. We begin to experience a thinning of the skin,” explains Dr. Tanya Kormeili, board certified dermatologist in Santa Monica, California.

“Antioxidants are thought to help protect against the accelerated aging effect of free radical damage.”

As previously mentioned, resveratrol can have a two-fold effect, both neutralizing free radicals and boosting antioxidant levels, so your skin can better defend and repair itself.

One 2014 study found that topically applying resveratrol significantly improved fine lines, wrinkles, and elasticity in 12 weeks.

Environmental damage

Whether it’s the sun or pollution, your skin has a lot of environmental factors to deal with.

Resveratrol has been found to help protect against UV damage and can even reduce pigmentation caused by the sun.

Redness

Thanks to its calming properties, resveratrol can also minimize skin inflammation and redness, according to a small 2013 study.

Dry skin

Dry patches may be a thing of the past if resveratrol is added to your body.

One small 2012 study noted the hydrating effects of the ingredient after including it in a dietary supplement. Conditions like eczema and psoriasis also improved with use of resveratrol, according to a 2020 research review.

Rough skin

Texture can be improved, too, with the same small 2012 study above finding that skin felt smoother after 60 days of a resveratrol supplement.

Resveratrol comes in many forms, from dietary supplements to moisturizers and serums, but it’s best applied topically.

A 2017 research review showed that resveratrol has light-sensitive qualities, making nighttime application even more advisable.

Where you insert it in your skin care routine depends on the product that you’re using.

If it’s in a heavier night cream, use it right at the end of your evening regimen. But if you buy a lightweight serum containing resveratrol, you can use it earlier on.

Just make sure to cleanse, exfoliate, and tone first (if you do all of these things, that is).

“Of course, I would never advocate drinking yourself silly with red wine!” says Kormeili, adding that you’ll “definitely experience accelerated aging with excessive alcohol intake.”

But she points out, “any diet rich in antioxidants is thought to be good for skin health as well as overall health.”

Resveratrol-rich foods that you can add to your diet include not just red wine, but the likes of grapes, peanuts, and dark chocolate.

Be mindful, though, that this diet may boost general skin health, but you’d have to consume huge amounts of resveratrol for it to make a noticeable difference.

“Applying resveratrol topically will be more effective because it will ensure the beneficial qualities penetrate directly into the skin.”

There are plenty of resveratrol skin care products out there.

“Resveratrol is generally considered safe for all skin types.

But Kormeili points out that, “there is some evidence that resveratrol can interfere with blood thinners (Coumadin, aspirin, ibuprofen etc.) and should be used cautiously to avoid a chance of uncontrolled bleeding.”

And if you’re planning to use it in supplement form, seek advice from a healthcare practitioner first.

If you’re looking to boost your skin’s appearance and health, resveratrol is one powerful ingredient to consider.

It has protective benefits, can help reduce the effects of aging, and can easily be added to any skin care regime.

Of course, enhancing your diet with the antioxidant can also be beneficial.

But applying it directly to your skin is likely to be much more effective.


Lauren Sharkey is a U.K.-based journalist and author specializing in women’s issues. When she isn’t trying to discover a way to banish migraines, she can be found uncovering the answers to your lurking health questions. She has also written a book profiling young female activists across the globe and is currently building a community of such resisters. Catch her on Twitter.