By now you must have heard that a glass of red wine a day is healthy. Or, that it may be good for your heart or good for cancer prevention. And that it has benefits for your complexion? Doesn’t it sound too good to be true, almost like an urban legend?
Well kind of. Not to burst your bubble, it’s not the red wine itself but resveratrol, a chemical found in wine. Over the last decade or so, resveratrol has gotten the moniker “longevity substance”.
What is this “longevity molecule”?
This “longevity substance” has a name that’s hard to pronounce and even more difficult to spell name. It’s a compound that occurs naturally in lots of plants, such as berries, peanuts, cacao beans, and most famously in grapes — hence, where wine got its reputation. In plants, it’s a defence barrier that protects from stresses, such as UV radiation, fungal infections, and other external threats.
It’s part of a family of compounds called polyphenols. These are antioxidants, which may be the reason why you often hear or read about as a potential remedy for a wide range of ailments.
How does it work?
Much of the research around resveratrol is how eating or drinking could bring health benefits. Ever heard about the “French paradox”? Even though most health experts advise people to abstain from drinking, people in France have lower rates of cardiovascular diseases as compared to many other countries.
And that while eating a diet rich in animal fat, cheese, and bread. All the things that health experts say would give people high cholesterol levels and blood pressure. Credit this to the French habit of drinking red wine.
Research has found that as a polyphenol, resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant against free radicals. Studies suggest that it can help fight off diseases, such as
- Type 2 diabetes,
- Help lower blood pressure and cholesterol
- Protect against obesity and diabetes
- Improve insulin sensitivity in diabetics
- Reduce the risk for blood clotting
- Protect brain health
- Lower inflammation in the body
- Among other things.
Resveratrol skin care benefits when taken as food
If you follow the Asian skin care philosophy, you know a healthy diet will definitely show on your complexion. So, if you eat and drink those foods to improve your diet, you’ll see it on your skin.
Most health experts will advise that the best way to reap resveratrol’s health benefits is to eat unprocessed veggies and fruits naturally rich in the compound and forego supplements in form of pills or powders. Still, anything that lowers inflammation and protects against oxidative stress, should improve and make itself noticeable in your skin, nails, and hair in the long run.
And on your skin?
When you put resveratrol on your skin, it has a seemingly endless list of skin benefits. But the primary reason is for anti-ageing.
In a nutshell, when you apply resveratrol, it works by expanding constricted blood vessels. This increases blood circulation and helps reduce inflammation, swelling, and irritation. It has the ability to easily penetrate into the skin and actively slow down the skin’s ageing process as an antioxidant.
Antioxidants float around and counteract skin ageing molecules caused by the ageing process and negative environmental influences such as UV rays pollution and lifestyle habits like cigarette smoking. This means it’s good for your skin health since it helps to repair your skin when it was exposed to the sun, wind, and substances in your environment. Of course, it doesn’t mean to forego SPF!
As an antioxidant, resveratrol not only neutralises free radicals, thus reducing ongoing damage but also boosts the production of other naturally occurring antioxidants in skin cells. And in doing so, helps protect against skin damage in the future.
Then, resveratrol is also anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal. This is great to soothe skin and may keep it free from infection. As an added bonus, you can also see
- More firm skin thanks to improved collagen and elastin production
- Reduced redness
- Reduced puffiness
- More even texture
- Brighter complexion and more even skin tone
Is Resveratrol Safe for All Skin Types?
As with any skincare ingredient, it’s important to consider any side effects as well as to first patch test. So far, there aren’t any side effects known when using it as a skin care ingredient – or when eaten. As a bonus, (until now) there are also no reports about it conflicting with other skin care ingredients (even actives).
Resveratrol is safe for all skin types, especially if you want to address wrinkles and fine lines that developed a bit too early. But it can also help if you want to address any of the following
- Dry skin
- Sun damage
- Uneven texture, rough skin
- Skin discolouration and uneven skin tone
- Skin barrier
As an antioxidant, it’s as finicky as vitamin C. It’s very light sensitive, so choose products that are packaged in dark containers and stored away from windows. And just like vitamin C, you can choose to use it in the morning or at night, depending on your needs.
Are there any side effects to using resveratrol? Not really, but there are two things to keep in mind. Like vitamin C, it is very light-sensitive. Choose products formulated with it packaged in dark containers and store them away from windows.
You may already be using some antioxidants, such as vitamins C, E, or ferulic acid, in your skin care routine. You can easily add resveratrol since it works well with most other antioxidants and also tends to be more stable than other antioxidants. Still, do your research.
Even if resveratrol is a proven and powerful antioxidant, don’t expect overnight results but look for slow, steady improvement in the appearance and texture of your skin.
Any thoughts? Leave it in the comments below