Ingredient Highlight – Resveratrol

When someone mentions antioxidants, the first thing that pops to mind is probably vitamin C. The effects and benefits of vitamin C are well-known and extensively researched. While it might not take its crown, resveratrol is another antioxidant worth investigating. It is also known as the “longevity molecule.” Found in grapes and wine, it has plenty of benefits for the body and the skin. But, don’t use that as an excuse to hit the red wine (it would take a LOT of red wine to see the benefits). Resveratrol is available and effective in both supplements and topical products.

What is resveratrol?

Resveratrol is a polyphenol and an antioxidant. Polyphenols are substances found in plants and filled with micronutrients.
The most abundant source of resveratrol is the skin and seeds of red grapes, as well as wine. But it is also present in other types of plants and botanicals like berries (blueberries and cranberries), cacao beans, pistachios, and peanuts. Polyphenols protect plants against UV and environmental damage.

Benefits of resveratrol for the skin

Grape on the asian balinese indonesian night market. Organic fruits.

Image via Canva

While we do focus on the skin benefits, we need to point out resveratrol has health benefits as well. Some studies show it is beneficial for our cardiovascular health and can lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Likewise, it has some anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties.
But, resveratrol works when applied to the skin in topical products.

The main skin benefit of resveratrol is that it protects the skin against both UV damage and environmental stressors. The oxidation process is one of the main causes of skin aging because it damages the skin cells and disrupts the collagen production. Free radicals are molecules released by various environmental stressors that have unmatched electrons. They then get attached to healthy molecules and damage them. When the skin is under oxidative stress, it means our skin and body can’t counteract free radicals. Because of its antioxidant properties, resveratrol counteracts this process.

But, another benefit of resveratrol is that it boosts the production of antioxidants in the skin cells, which means it also prevents future damage. It improves the cellular function and supports fibroblasts (which are essential for collagen production). Likewise, it protects our skin against UV damage and photoaging. Which reminds us, wear sunscreen every day. Resveratrol has anti-inflammatory and has some antimicrobial properties.

Should you ditch your other antioxidants?

Make no mistake, resveratrol is a potent ingredient. When compared to a synthetic antioxidant idebenone, the antioxidant properties of resveratrol were 17 times greater. That said, there is no reason to ditch other antioxidants in your routine (like vitamins C and E, for example). A cocktail of antioxidants works synergistically to keep the signs of aging at bay.

Who can benefit from a resveratrol product?

Antioxidants should be one of the cornerstones of our routines regardless of age.

How to include a resveratrol product in your routine?

Since the ingredient has gained in popularity, you can find plenty of products that include resveratrol on the market. Several luxury and budget brands have their own versions. Most often, resveratrol is in serums, moisturisers, masks, and eye creams.
Including a resveratrol product in your routine shouldn’t be a problem since it is a well-tolerated ingredient. That said, patch test first.

Roberta Striga