If you’ve ever indulged in a glass of red wine after a long day and thought to yourself, “it’s okay, because red wine is good for you,” that’s thanks to one specific antioxidant: resveratrol. This super potent antioxidant is also found in red grapes, peanuts and berries like blueberries and mulberries.
“Like any antioxidant, resveratrol neutralizes free radicals produced by environmental damage such as radiation, cigarette smoke and air pollution,” says Geeta Yadav, M.D., M.H.S., F.R.C.P.C., a board certified dermatologist based in Toronto. “This kind of cellular damage accelerates the process of aging by increasing the oxidative stress on skin.”
When you drink a glass of red wine or eat foods rich in the antioxidant, resveratrol helps support a healthy heart and is shown to help prevent cancer. Not only is resveratrol good for you to ingest, but it’s also being whipped into skincare products. Here, everything you need to know about resveratrol in skincare and how to pick the best products containing the powerhouse ingredient.
What is resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a polyphenol, a compound that is chock-full of antioxidants and other benefits. It’s most commonly found in the skin of red grapes.
What are the benefits of resveratrol for skin?
According to Dr. Yadav, free radical damage speeds up how fast your skin ages — meaning more wrinkles, dark spots and loss of elasticity. Here’s what you can look forward to by applying an antioxidant like resveratrol to your skin:
- Smoothing fine lines and wrinkles. “By regularly applying skincare products formulated with antioxidants like resveratrol, you’ll help mitigate signs of photo-aging,” says Dr. Yadav.
- Improved elasticity: Adding resveratrol to your skincare routine can boost skin firmness.
- Calmed inflammation. Resveratrol also helps soothe skin, making it ideal for anyone who’s more on the sensitive side or whose skin is easily reactive.
- Lessened discoloration: If you have hyperpigmentation, reseveratrol can help mitigate the appearance of dark spots.
When and how should you use resveratrol?
Consistency is key here, so if you want to see results, be sure to start using resveratrol daily. Since resveratrol is an antioxidant, Dr. Yadav recommends using it in the morning “to help protect themselves from free radical damage,” she says. “One of the biggest sources of free radical damage is sun exposure — so be sure to pair it with a good sunscreen.”
You can use resveratrol in conjunction with your other skincare ingredients. “In fact, some research shows that pairing resveratrol with glycolic acid can help strengthen both of their abilities to reduce the appearance of hyperpigmentation,” says Dr. Yadav.
Are there any side effects to using resveratrol?
Resveratrol can be used on virtually any skin type, as Dr. Yadav explains that the ingredient is considered well-tolerated and non-irritating. That being said, if your skin is sensitive, always be sure to do a patch test when introducing a new ingredient into your repertoire.
If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using resveratrol topically. Some doctors recommend against it, so Dr. Yadav emphasizes that it’s important to figure out what’s right for you.
If you choose to take resveratrol as a supplement, there is a chance that it might interact with bloodthinners or NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen — be sure to talk to your doctor to determine if you should add this ingredient as a supplement.
What are the best products with resveratrol?
Look for resveratrol in antioxidant serums to get the most benefit out of this ingredient. “Antioxidant serums are always a great way to get this dose of protection into your regimen without adding too much weight,” says Dr. Yadav.