Resveratrol for skin: what is it, what are the benefits and what are the best products?

Posted by for Skincare

If you think you haven’t come across resveratrol before, think again. This powerful skincare ingredient is actually found in red wine, too. But how does it help your skin? We asked skin experts to explain all you need to know.

Reseveratrol. Found in the skin of grapes used for red wine and present in over 70 different plants, this wonder ingredient helps to protect skin from a number of damaging environmental factors, such as air pollution and sunlight.

To help us understand this powerful antioxidant, we asked Dr Stefanie Williams, dermatologist and medical director of Eudelo, and Dr Emma Craythorne, consultant dermatologist at SkinCeuticals, to break down everything we need to know to reap the benefits. 

Unfortunately, the answer doesn’t lie at the bottom of a big glass of Malbec.

What is resveratrol?

“Resveratrol is a polyphenolic antioxidant that is used both orally as a supplement as well as topically in skincare,” explains Dr Williams. “It is found naturally in a large number of plants including in the skin of grapes (and in red wine…) and berries.

“As a natural food ingredient, numerous studies have demonstrated that resveratrol possesses a very high antioxidant potential. However, resveratrol is notoriously unstable, so it’s a tricky ingredient to use in skincare and care has to be taken it’s been successfully stabilised in the skincare product.”

What are the skin benefits of resveratrol?

“As oxidative stress is one of the main contributing factors to skin ageing, resveratrol is used in skincare as an anti-ageing and skin protecting agent,” says Dr Williams. “It helps protect the skin from pro-oxidative influences such as sunlight and pollution.

“What I find particularly interesting about resveratrol is that in addition to neutralising free radicals itself, it also increases the production of other antioxidants in the skin. So, in other words it works ‘hands-on’ (mopping up free radicals), but also via building a team (of other molecules that help neutralise free radicals), which strengthens the skin’s natural antioxidant defences. Very clever indeed.

“It also helps mitigate the age-related decline of collagen and skin elasticity, not only via its antioxidant effects, but also via phyto-oestrogenic properties. Furthermore, resveratrol can inhibit tyrosinase, a key enzyme in the pigment melanin biosynthesis, thus helping to even irregular pigmentation in the skin. It also regulates pathways associated with micro-inflammation.”

What skin types and skin concerns are best treated with resveratrol?

“Those who have a lot of external sources of damage to the skin in the form of UV radiatio and other osidating sources such as stress, pollution and cigarette smoke,” says Dr Craythorne. “It’s also for those who have pigmentary issues.”

Dr Williams adds: “Because of its preventative as well as corrective properties, resveratrol is a good ingredient to use at any age.”

How should you use resveratrol?

“It would be best used in the morning as it is an antioxidant and prepares the skin for the onslaught of the oxidation factors to come in the day,” says Dr Craythorne.

Best resveratrol products, picked by the Stylist beauty team

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Main image: Brands / designed by Matt Phare

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