Studies show that resveratrol may be able to help prevent and counteract the effects of all too many beach days or tanning booth sessions. Too much sun exposure has been shown in numerous studies to be a primary factor in skin aging (e.g., wrinkles, hypo- and hyperpigmentation, and dryness). This is because the three types of ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes a number of negative biological effects in the skin:12
Although the skin has many protective mechanisms against UV damage, chronic exposure can overwhelm the skin’s natural defenses.12 Resveratrol can be a powerful ally to your skin, supporting its own natural defenses.
How It Works
Studies show that resveratrol’s anti-inflammatory, collagen-promoting, estrogenic, and antioxidant properties counteract the effects of aging and UV radiation.12,58 Current research into how resveratrol binds to skin cells suggests that resveratrol also helps promote skin healing factors and one of the body’s own powerful antioxidant enzymes (glutathione peroxidase).176
In personal care products, resveratrol has been shown to help improve the efficacy of another important skin antioxidant. Resveratrol is used to stabilize the antioxidant vitamin C in topical formulations since it tends to oxidize easily and lose its antioxidant properties.251
In addition to its antioxidant effects, resveratrol also appears to prevent mitochondrial dysfunction in skin cells related to skin damage from UVB.176 Even melanoma-causing UVA may be no match for resveratrol, according to some animal studies.57
Evidence of Benefit
In a clinical trial, an anti-wrinkle facial cream containing resveratrol and other botanicals was tested on 25 adult patients between the ages of 35 and 65. After six weeks of twice-daily topical use, all study participants showed significant improvement in facial wrinkles. None of the 15 women and 10 men reported only “no” or “fair” improvement, and 13 of the 25 reported “very good” to “excellent” improvement. The botanical source of resveratrol in the cream was listed as Vitis vinifera, the common grape vine plant. Other ingredients were aloe, sandalwood, tomato, kust, lemon, China Nora or lodh tree, Indian madder, turmeric, Nepal cardamom, licorice, Cuscus grass, valerian, and wheat bran.246
Industry-funded and independent studies demonstrate that resveratrol can counteract the aging effects of UV on skin in terms of loss of estrogen and decreased numbers and functioning of the skin cells that make collagen. Resveratrol has mild estrogenic effects, stimulates proliferation of fibroblast skin cells (naturally leading to increased production of collagen), and inhibits the enzyme activity that breaks down collagen.58
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Based on wavelength.
Aloe vera, known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Santalum album, often used as a fragrance in cosmetics and soaps.
Solanum lycopersicum, known to have potent antioxidant effects
Saussurea lappa, shown to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties;
also used as a fragrance.
Citrus limon, a strong antioxidant.
Symplocos racemosa, which has anti-inflammatory properties.
Rubia cordifolia, shown to possess antioxidant properties and traditionally
used in an Ayurvedic anti-inflammatory formulation.
Curcuma longa, known for its immune-boosting and antioxidant effects;
also inhibits the enzyme that breaks down collagen.
Amomum subulatum, an antioxidant that also increases natural
Glycyrrhiza glabra, known to have antioxidant properties.
Vetiveria zizanioides, often used in aromatherapy and topically for
stress relief and as an insect repellent.
Valeriana wallichii, traditionally used not only for insomnia but
also to treat chronic skin conditions
Triticum sativum, reportedly useful in inflammatory skin conditons.