Resveratrol 101: What You Need to Know About This Anti-Aging MVP

BY Janeca Racho · November 12, 2019

PCA Skin Resveratrol Restorative Complex 2

A glass of red wine a day may be good for your heart, but did you know it could also be good for your skin? Credit this to resveratrol, the anti-aging superstar found in red-grape skin. This antioxidant powerhouse boasts of antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties and has been shown to protect the skin against the effects of oxidative stress and sun damage. But drinking wine isn’t the only way to reap the protective, skin-revitalizing benefits of resveratrol. With so much research around this powerhouse ingredient, learn more about why it should be part of your anti-aging arsenal.

What Is Resveratrol? 

Resveratrol is a type of polyphenol—or natural substances packed with micronutrients that can be found in plants—that is naturally present in grapes, berries (such as cranberries, blueberries and mulberries), peanuts, pistachio and cacao beans.

The skin and seeds of red grapes are the most abundant sources of resveratrol, which results in significant concentrations of this compound in red wine. A phytoalexin, resveratrol is produced by plants as a protective antibiotic to fight off fungal attacks, drought, UV radiation and inflammation.

What Are the Health Benefits of Resveratrol?

First studied for its effects and benefits on cardiovascular health, resveratrol has been shown to lower blood pressure and decrease cholesterol levels. Studies have also shown that the compound’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can help protect the brain and prevent cognitive decline.

Experts have also studied resveratrol’s antitumor and anticancer properties. In a series of studies, it has shown positive results when it comes to fighting cancer cells by inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, changing gene expression and preventing hormone-dependent cancers from progressing.

How Does Resveratrol Benefit the Skin?

While much of the research around this “longevity molecule” has focused on its internal use, resveratrol has also been shown to be an effective topical antioxidant—fighting the good fight against free radicals. Antioxidants are essential in neutralizing these skin-aging molecules that are produced by the aging process and other factors such as UV damage, pollution and cigarette smoking. Resveratrol not only works against free radicals, it also increases the skin’s overall antioxidant effectiveness—to improve the look of fine lines, skin firmness, elasticity, hyperpigmentation, texture and overall radiance.

“Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antifungal properties, which calm down the skin, reduce skin-aging and may keep [the skin] free of infections,” explains Kansas City double board-certified dermatologist Viseslav Tonkovic-Capin, M.D. Due to its antimicrobial properties, resveratrol inhibits the growth of acne-causing bacteria, as well as enhances the effects of the acne-fighter benzoyl peroxide. It also tackles acne inflammation and post-acne scarring by reducing redness, calming the skin and lightening dark spots, giving you a more even complexion. However, you may want to restrict your resveratrol regimen to the evening, as UV rays could render resveratrol much less effective.

How Does Resveratrol Compare to Other Antioxidants?

Anti aging formulas that boast the antioxidant powers of vitamin E or C aren’t lying—those ingredients have been proven to improve skin’s overall appearance. However, they’re operating nowhere near the level of resveratrol. “The most common antioxidant found in cosmetics is vitamin C, but it is quite unstable to the point that not much of it’s left after it reaches consumers. Resveratrol is much more stable and you’ll get all of its benefits in skin care products,” explains Dr. Tonkovic-Capin.

Studies have shown resveratrol to be 95 percent effective at preventing oxidative skin damage. Vitamin E proved a success rate of 65 percent, while vitamin C displayed a 37 percent rate. Resveratrol is also 17 times as effective as skin serums that contain idebenone, a synthetic antioxidant.

That’s not to say those antioxidants aren’t useful. As potent as resveratrol is, your skin needs a combination of water- and fat-soluble antioxidants to counter the effects of free radicals that target both the fat and water parts of a cell. Resveratrol, a water-soluble antioxidant, works synergistically with fat-soluble antioxidants like vitamin E to prevent further skin aging. This is especially important for mature skin, since your skin’s ability to repair itself decreases with age.

Precautions to Note

In general, using skin care products with resveratrol doesn’t have any severe or toxic side effects on your health, says Dr. Tonkovic-Capin. However, pregnant women may want to skip this ingredient for the time being. In a 2014 study conducted on pregnant animals, significant exposure to resveratrol displayed a “concerning alteration in fetal pancreatic development, which strongly cautions against the use of resveratrol by pregnant women.” It’s also important to make sure that the resveratrol in your skin care product is from a reputable source, adds Dr. Tonkovic-Capin.

Ready to reap the benefits of this antioxidant MVP? Here are our top picks for best skin care products with resveratrol.

1. SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E

Featuring pure, stable resveratrol along with skin-repairing baicalin and vitamin E, this nighttime treatment is designed to boost skin’s own antioxidant defense system to help neutralize free radical damage for improved radiance, elasticity and density.

2. iS Clinical Hydra-Intensive Cooling Masque

This lightweight gel mask is the perfect way to perk up your skin with its professional-strength formula that boosts hydration and soothes and refreshes the skin. Infused with rosemary leaf oil, hyaluronic acid, aloe leaf oil and resveratrol, it aids in calming sunburn and inflammation, speeding up the healing process and diminishing the appearance of dark spots, fine lines and wrinkles.

3. NEW! IMAGE Skincare VITAL C Hydrating Repair Crème

Infused with skin-loving ingredients like resveratrol, linoleic acid, alchemilla vulgaris and retinyl palmitate, this intensely hydrating cream moisturizer soothes dry and dehydrated skin, improves radiance and diminishes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, pigmentation and dark spots.



4. NEW! PCA Skin Resveratrol Restorative Complex

This resveratrol-infused serum gives your skin the ultimate defense against the signs of skin aging—all while getting your much-needed beauty sleep. It arms and protects your skin against cellular senescence (a condition in which normal cells stop dividing), reduces inflammation and promotes a more even and radiant skin tone.

5. Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Clinical Grade Resurfacing Liquid Peel 2-step

This patented at-home exfoliation system lets you achieve professional results within the comfort of your own home. Infused with resveratrol and pharmaceutical-grade Alpha Beta® acids, antioxidants and bromelain, this two-step system lets you achieve a smoother, younger-looking complexion by exfoliating dead skin cells and unclogging pores, accelerating cell turnover and fortifying your moisture barrier. Need more convincing? In a series of clinical studies, between 83 to 100 percent of subjects reported significant improvement in the appearance of pores, texture and overall radiance.

6. Paula's Choice RESIST Anti-Aging Eye Cream

Considering that your eye area tends to show the earliest signs of aging, it only makes sense to pamper it with an ultra-hydrating eye cream that targets fine lines, wrinkles, sun damage and dryness. It features resveratrol, peptides and shea butter that work hand-in-hand to restore suppleness, prevent sagging and provide long-lasting moisture.

Janeca-Racho | Dermstore Blog

Janeca Racho

With over 10 years of writing and editing experience, Janeca Racho has worked with clients in the fashion, entertainment, food, health and travel industries. An adventurer at heart, she will gladly trade her heels for ... Read More >