I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
Before I commence, I think it's important that you know that the research for this post involved equal parts gif searches and equal parts talking to in-the-know derms. And it might even be fair to say that I spent slightly more time looking and laughing at Google search results than I did conferring with experts. My goal is to serve you.
Anyway, let's jump right into these sweet wine waters. The topic, as you might have guessed, is red wine. More specifically, I'm talking about resveratrol, an ingredient that's found in red wine that has some pretty rad benefits when it comes to topical applications.
To be clear, I'm not saying you should dump a bottle of red wine all over your face. I am, however, filling you in on all those products that market wine as a primary ingredient. While many of them tout wine as the star — and why not? It's familiar and fun — it's actually the resveratrol found in wine that's doing most of the work.
So... What is Resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a super-potent, naturally occurring antioxidant that belongs to the family of phenylpropanoids, which are not an extraterrestrial species but rather a group of organic compounds produced by plants.
"It's secreted in response to stresses that the plants face and acts a protective mechanism," explains Manhattan-based dermatologist Dhaval Bhanusali. May we forever be thankful for the stress plants go through to give us resveratrol, amen.
Resveratrol is most notably found in red wine, thanks to red grape skins and purple grape juice, but it's also found in mulberries, cranberries, blueberries, peanuts, goji berries, eucalyptus and pomegranate.
What Are the Topical Perks of Resveratrol?
When applied topically, especially via products that absorb into skin instead of getting washed off, resveratrol prevents sun-related skincare damage, wards off collagen-damaging free radicals, and gives environmental pollutants the finger. In addition, topically applied resveratrol can stimulate cell production and collagen synthesis, making this ingredient a legit superstar where anti-aging is concerned.
Interestingly, and surprisingly, resveratrol (done right) can be 37% more effective at protecting the skin than vitamin C (!!!), and 65% more effective compared to vitamin E, says dermatologist Carl Thornfeldt. He's been in the biz for 30 years and writes/studies cosmeceuticals, skincare treatments and natural products, so he knows what's up.
In terms of proper application, Dr. Bhanusali says he likes combining resveratrol with vitamin C "to get a strong one-two punch of antioxidants." His second derm hack is to apply resveratrol skincare products before your moisturizer in order to maximize absorption.
Both of the masks I'm holding above admittedly have only trace amounts of resveratrol. They're still fun to wear, though, and make for a fun wine night either with yourself, your SO, or a group of friends.
For some more potent product suggestions, I asked the dermatologists I spoke to about their choice recommendations. Almost every single one of them shot back with SkinCeuticals Resveratrol B E.
"It has vitamin E in there, as well, and absorbs great," notes Dr. Bhanusali. "I also have seen an improved texture and tone in some of my patients which is a good substitute if they can't tolerate traditional toners."
So there you have it. Thoughts? Concerns? Have I at least inspired a wine and face mask night? Let's talk.