Commonly found in the skin of grapes—yes, you can also get a dose of it in your daily glass of red wine, as well as dark chocolate—resveratrol is a polyphenol antioxidant that has been used in cosmeceuticals for the past decade.
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1. It is a powerhouse anti-ager.
New York dermatologist Rita Linkner, MD first investigated its topical effects when she was completing her fellowship in dermatopharmacology at Mount Sinai. “We were looking into resveratrol’s anti-aging potential on various DNA markers using biopsy samples taken from patients who were using a resveratrol-based skin-care line for months,” she says. “The findings were solid: It does in fact anti-age the skin to the level of adjusting DNA markers.” So what does this mean exactly? It “works at the cellular level to help repair cells that have been attacked by free radicals,” adds Brigitte Beasse, Los Angeles aesthetician and owner of Brigitte Beauté. “It contains sirtuin, which repairs DNA and prevents cellular mutation.”
Because of this, Joshua Ross, aesthetician and founder of LA-based SkinLab, notes that it’s important to use resveratrol products in the correct step of your skin-care routine. “If you’re using a daytime product, you should apply it in the morning underneath your sunscreen because it works as an antioxidant to help counteract the effects of oxidants such as UVA rays,” he says. “It acts as a second layer of protection.” However, there are nighttime products too: “Caudalie [Lift] Night Infusion Cream ($76) is my all-time favorite product with this anti-aging antioxidant in it,” says Dr. Linkner.
2. It also has brightening benefits.
“Newer data suggests that resveratrol can function as a brightening agent as well, as it has effects on tyrosinase, the enzyme that is responsible for melanin discoloration [dark spots] in the skin,” says Dr. Linkner. “Resveratrol appears to need to the help of an exfoliating agent to penetrate to the depths of the skin where it can act as a brightening agent, so for this benefit, it should be paired with ingredients such as retinol and niacinamide. Ross’s product pick is just that: Paula’s Choice Resist Ultra-Light Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum ($39) blends resveratrol, niacinamide and hyaluronic acid to brighten, hydrate and firm stressed-out skin.
3. It’s good for all skin types.
“People aren’t allergic to antioxidants as a whole, so the more the better!” says Ross. However, be sure to study the ingredient list before using if your skin is easily irritated or allergic. Resveratrol is often paired with other actives that may be a culprit, so better safe than sorry.
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