Resveratrol in skin care products
It is commonly found in wrinkle creams, antiaging treatments, sun protection products, sensitive skin treatments, or acne regimens.
Primarily extracted from plant trimmings, resveratrol is a clean, sustainable, natural, and effective additive into many types of skin care products.
To find out if resveratrol is right for your skin concerns or if it fits into your custom skin care regimen, take our quiz and read below!
What is resveratrol?
Resveratrol is a plant-derived polyphenol usually found in the skin and seeds of grapes and other berries/legumes like peanuts, blueberries, or cranberries.
It has been identified in nearly 70 species of plants around the world and has notable beneficial qualities in both topical and oral use.
Products containing grapeseed oil, rich in resveratrol, have been used in skin care and food for centuries. (15)
Resveratrol is exciting because it has been proposed to express many anti-cancer functions and antiaging activity that warrant further research. (1)
Extracted as a byproduct of agricultural waste, resveratrol has a very low environmental impact to produce.
Resveratrol is known for a number of beneficial properties including:
Heart health promoting
Helps mitochondria (91)
It is frequently studied for its effect on various cancers and tumors. (10,19,20)
Resveratrol has demonstrated UV protective qualities as well as anti-inflammatory qualities in research. (15-18)
Most commonly found in grapes, resveratrol is often considered an aid to heart health when present in products like red wine. (5,13,25-28)
Because of these various useful abilities, resveratrol can be found in countless products designed for wrinkles, inflammation, acne, and more.
There are no notable side-effects associated with resveratrol.
It is considered to be of low toxicity (28), meaning it is a clean ingredient.
The only reason not to use resveratrol is if it doesn't fit into your custom skin care regimen!
Is it safe?
Resveratrol is a natural derivative from grapes and is safe for use in skin care according to the CIR. (92) (Cosmetic Ingredient Review Board)
The EWG safety rating for resveratrol is "1," which means no common concerns are associated with this ingredient.
It is not a likely allergen, and it is safe for use on any skin type. Find your skin type with our quiz today!
Resveratrol has a variety of uses in skin care, including non-topical applications like supplements.
The main issue with resveratrol is it has low bioavailability, meaning it is processed slowly and inefficiently by the body when unmodified. (28)
Because it is usually processed slowly, it is best combined with ingredients that assist in the delivery and processing of resveratrol in the skin. (51,56)
Studies have found that combining resveratrol with other antioxidant ingredients like vitamin E improves its stability in light and heat. (9)
It has a relatively low shelf life in products when not combined with stabilizing ingredients, typically between 3-6 months. (53)
Even though copious research exists on resveratrol in skin care, more work needs to be done to identify the best complimentary ingredients to deliver it efficiently into the skin.
Issues that limit the effectiveness of resveratrol
These are the problems with resveratrol products that limit it's use in creams and serums:
A high dose is required for benefits
It is an expensive ingredient
It does not absorb well in skin
It has poor shelf life
For these reasons, most people choose to take resveratrol supplements.
Resveratrol is also found in red wine but the dose is not large enough to have major effects even if you drink a lot of red wine.
Taking supplements made with resveratrol has been shown to contribute to skin health. (42)
There are many benefit to taking oral resveratrol including effects on sirtuin and other aging markers.
Studies have found that oral supplements with this ingredient resulted in skin moisturization and elasticity, as well as lessening of wrinkles. This study concluded that oral supplements containing resveratrol had potential in anti-aging skin care regimens. (42)
However, they are many more much more interesting ongoing studies. We will update here as they become available.
What is trans-resveratrol?
There are two primary forms (called isoforms) of resveratrol, trans-resveratrol and cis-resveratrol. (36,37)
They are mirror images of each other but have different effects.
Trans-resveratrol is actually the more commonly used form of resveratrol, it is more stable and expresses more of the beneficial attributes associated with the compound.
The cis form turns into the trans form when exposed to light.
When people are discussing resveratrol in skin care, they are generally referring to trans-resveratrol unless otherwise specified since it is more common.
It is a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial compound and can be found in many types of skin care products from sunscreens to wrinkle creams.
If you have specific skin care concerns, be sure to take our skin type quiz to find the best products for your skin type!
Resveratrol is helpful for both preventing and treating the effects of sun damage.
This ingredient has been shown to have beneficial interactions with both UVA and UVB radiation, but in different ways.
Studies have found that resveratrol can help induce regulated cell-death (apoptosis) when exposed to UVA radiation. It's a little complicated, but that basically means that resveratrol helps you get rid of old cells that don’t function properly. (3)
Resveratrol also protects against UVB radiation through multiple mechanisms. (33,34)
For those reasons, resveratrol is a common and good choice for use in sunscreens and sun damage treatment products.
It works best when combined with retinol, sunscreen and other proven antiaging skin care ingredients.
Keloids are basically scar tissue that grows thick after healing; they can vary in size and severity.
Resveratrol may be helpful effective in reducing keloids and preventing further growth.
Consider using resveratrol alongside shea butter, which also has keloid treatment benefits.
Investigations have found that resveratrol has antifibrogenic properties, meaning it prevents keloid cells from multiplying and growing while not damaging normal skin fibroblasts. (43)
For this reason, resveratrol is commonly found in products designed to treat keloids.
Resveratrol is considered an effective anti-aging ingredient, used in many products to prevent or treat wrinkles and free radicals on the skin.
There are multiple causes of skin aging, and resveratrol has qualities that alleviate multiple skin aging concerns.
Studies have found that resveratrol interacts with particular chemical receptors such as sirtuin in the skin that play a role in skin aging. (11,87)
It is a potent antioxidant, capable of binding free radicals that could otherwise damage DNA in skin cells. (85)
There are many great anti-aging routines to choose from; are you ready to start an anti-aging regimen?
Combine it together with other skin lightening ingredients such as:
Resveratrol is often a good choice for acne treatments because it anti-inflammatory and can help your skin tolerate other acne medications like retinoids and benzoyl peroxide.
One study found that after 60 days, no adverse reactions to the ingredient were reported and symptoms of acne were greatly alleviated. (37)
Resveratrol was reported in this same study to reduce the size of clogged pores and assist in wound healing.
Resveratrol is not comedogenic.
Many products that target bacteria, redness, or inflammation related to acne might benefit from including resveratrol in their formulation.
One small study found that resveratrol made noticeable improvements in skin redness within 6 weeks of treatment. (49)
If you are suffering from recurring redness on the skin, resveratrol might be good for your custom skin care regimen.
Make sure to take our questionnaire to find your skin type before you shop to make sure you get the best products for your skin!
Here are some of our favorite products containing resveratrol as an active ingredient:
Resveratrol is one of the most studied ingredients in skin care. Here are some of the best references on resveratrol in skin care:
1. Jang M, Cai L, Udeani GO, et al. Cancer chemopreventive activity of resveratrol, a natural product derived from grapes. Science. 275:218, 1997.
2. Baxter RA. Anti-aging properties of resveratrol: review and report of a potent new antioxidant skin care formulation. J Cosmet Dermatol. 7:2, 2008.
3. Boyer JZ, Jandova J, Janda J, et al. Resveratrol-sensitized UVA induced apoptosis in human keratinocytes through mitochondrial oxidative stress and pore opening. J Photochem Photobiol B. 113:42, 2012.
4. Chen CY, Jang JH, Li MH, et al. Resveratrol upregulates heme oxygenase-1 expression via activation of NF-E2-related factor 2 in PC12 cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 331:993, 2005.
5. She QB, Bode AM, Ma WY, et al. Resveratrol-induced activation of p53 and apoptosis is mediated by extracellular-signal-regulated protein kinases and p38 kinase. Cancer Res. 61:1604, 2001.
6. Wu Y, Jia LL, Zheng YN, et al. Resveratrate protects human skin from damage due to repetitive ultraviolet irradiation. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2012 Jan 5. [Epub ahead of print]
7. Konda S, Geria AN, Halder RM. New horizons in treating disorders of hyperpigmentation in skin of color. Semin Cutan Med Surg. 31:133, 2012.
8. Saraf S, Kaur CD. Phytoconstituents as photoprotective novel cosmetic formulations. Pharmacogn Rev. 4:1, 2010.
9. Gelo-Pujic M, Desmurs JR, Kassem T, et al. Synthesis of new antioxidant conjugates and their in vitro hydrolysis with stratum corneum enzymes. Int J Cosmet Sci. 30:195, 2008.
10. Athar M, Back JH, Tang X, et al. Resveratrol: a review of preclinical studies for human cancer prevention. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 224:274, 2007.
11. Bastianetto S, Dumont Y, Duranton A, et al. Protective action of resveratrol in human skin: possible involvement of specific receptor binding sites. PLoS One. 5:e12935, 2010.
12. Reagan-Shaw S, Mukhtar H, Ahmad N. Resveratrol imparts photoprotection of normal cells and enhances the efficacy of radiation therapy in cancer cells. Photochem Photobiol. 84:415, 2008.
13. Mukherjee S, Dudley JI, Das DK. Dose-dependency of resveratrol in providing health benefits. Dose Response. 8:478, 2010.
14. Nassiri-Asl M, Hosseinzadeh H. Review of the pharmacological effects of Vitis vinifera (Grape) and its bioactive compounds. Phytother Res. 23:1197, 2009.
15. Afaq F, Adhami VM, Admad N. Prevention of short-term ultraviolet B radiation-mediated damages by resveratrol in SKH-1 hairless mice. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 186:28, 2003.
16. Adhami VM, Afaq F, Ahmad N. Suppression of ultraviolet B exposure-mediated activation of NF-kappaB in normal human keratinocytes by resveratrol. Neoplasia. 5:74, 2003.
17. Foster S. 101 Medicinal Herbs: An Illustrated Guide. Loveland, CO, Interweave Press, 1998, pp. 108-9.
18. Hoffmann D. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT, Healing Arts Press, 2003, pp. 99-100.
19. Ding XZ, Adrian TE. Resveratrol inhibits proliferation and induces apoptosis in human pancreatic cancer cells. Pancreas. 25:e71, 2002.
20. Delmas D, Rébé C, Lacour S, et al. Resveratrol-induced apoptosis is associated with Fas redistribution in the rafts and the formation of a death-inducing signaling complex in colon cancer cells. J Biol Chem. 278:41482, 2003.
21. Hao Y, Huang W, Liao M, et al. The inhibition of resveratrol to human skin squamous cell carcinoma A431 xenografts in nude mice. Fitoterapia. 86:84, 2013.
22. Namasivayam N. Chemoprevention in experimental animals. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1215:60, 2011.
23. Das S, Das DK. Resveratrol: a therapeutic promise for cardiovascular diseases. Recent Pat Cardiovasc Drug Discov. 2:133, 2007.
24. Aggarwal BB, Bhardwaj A, Aggarwal RS, et al. Role of resveratrol in prevention and therapy of cancer: preclinical and clinical studies. Anticancer Res. 24:2783, 2004.
25. Simini B. Serge Renaud: from French paradox to Cretan miracle. Lancet. 355:48, 2000.
26. Jang JH, Surh YJ. Protective effects of resveratrol on hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis in rat pheochromocytoma (PC12) cells. Mutat Res. 496:181, 2001.
27. Hoffmann D. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT, Healing Arts Press, 2003, p. 110.
28. Ndiaye M, Philippe C, Mukhtar H, et al. The grape antioxidant resveratrol for skin disorders: promise, prospects, and challenges. Arch Biochem Biophys. 508:164, 2011.
30. Chan MM. Antimicrobial effect of resveratrol on dermatophytes and bacterial pathogens of the skin. Biochem Pharmacol. 63:99, 2002.
31. Svobodová A, Psotová J, Walterová D. Natural phenolics in the prevention of UV-induced skin damage. A review. Biomed Pap Med Fac univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 147:137, 2003.
32. Afaq F, Mukhtar H. Photochemoprevention by botanical antioxidants. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 15:297, 2002.
33. Aziz MH, Afaq F, Ahmad N. Prevention of ultraviolet-B radiation damage by resveratrol in mouse skin is mediated via modulation in surviving. Photochem Photobiol. 81:25, 2005.
34. Aziz MH, Reagan-Shaw S, Wu J, et al. Chemoprevention of skin cancer by grape constituent resveratrol: relevance to human disease? FASEB J. 19:1193, 2005.
35. Hebbar V, Shen G, Hu R, et al. Toxicogenomics of resveratrol in rat liver. Life Sci. 76:2299, 2005.
36. Puizina-Ivić N, Mirić L, Carija A, et al. Modern approach to topical treatment of aging skin. Coll Antropol. 34:1145, 2010.
37. Fabbrocini G, Staibano S, De Rosa G, et al. Resveratrol-containing gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a single-blind, vehicle-controlled, pilot study. Am J Clin Dermatol. 12:133, 2011.
38. Bhat KP, Pezzuto JM. Cancer chemopreventive activity of resveratrol. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 957:210, 2002.
39. Kalra N, Roy P, Prasad S, et al. Resveratrol induces apoptosis involving mitochondrial pathways in mouse skin tumorigenesis. Life Sci. 82:348, 2008.
40. Choi MS, Kim Y, Jung JY, et al. Resveratrol induces autophagy through death-associated protein kinase 1 (DAPK1) in human dermal fibroblasts under normal culture conditions. Exp Dermatol. 22:491, 2013.
41. Abe N, Ito T, Ohguchi K, et al. Resveratrol oligomers from Vatica albiramis. J Nat Prod. 73:1499, 2010.
42. Buonocore D, Lazzeretti A, Tocabens P, et al. Resveratrol-procyanidin blend: nutraceutical and antiaging efficacy evaluated in a placebocontrolled, double-blind study. Clin Cosmet Investig Dermatol. 5:159, 2012.
43. Ikeda K, Torigoe T, Matsumoto Y, et al. Resveratrol inhibits fibrogenesis and induces apoptosis in keloid fibroblasts. Wound Repair Regen. 21:616, 2013.
44. Kim SY, Park KC, Kwon SB, et al. Hypopigmentary effects of 4-n-butylresorcinol and resveratrol in combination. Pharmazie. 67:542, 2012.
45. Franco DC, de Carvalho GS, Rocha PR, et al. Inhibitory effects of resveratrol analogs on mushroom tyrosinase activity. Molecules. 17:11816, 2012.
46. Park J, Booy YC. Isolation of resveratrol from vitis viniferae caulis and its potent inhibition of human tyrosinase. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013:645257, 2013.
47. Wang DH, Ootsuki Y, Fujita H, et al. Resveratrol inhibited hydroquinone-induced cytotoxicity in mouse primary hepatocytes. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 9:3354, 2012.
48. Galgut JM, Ali SA. Effect and mechanism of action of resveratrol: a novel melanolytic compound from the peanut skin of Arachis hypogaea. J Recept Signal Transduct Res. 31:374, 2011.
49. Ferzli G, Patel M, Phrsai N, et al. Reduction of facial redness with resveratrol added to topical product containing green tea polyphenols and caffeine. J Drugs Dermatol. 12:770, 2013.
50. De Nisco M, Manfra M, Bolognese A, et al. Nutraceutical properties and polyphenolic profile of berry skin and wine of Vitis vinifera L. (cv. Aglianico). Food Chem. 140:623, 2013.
51. Kobierski S, Ofori-Kwakye K, Müller RH, et al. Resveratrol nanosuspensions for dermal application—production, characterization, and physical stability. Pharmazie. 64:741, 2009.
52. Pando D, Caddeo C, Manconi M, et al. Nanodesign of olein vesicles for the topical delivery of the antioxidant resveratrol. J Pharm Pharmacol. 65:1158, 2013.
53. Caddeo C, Manconi M, Fadda AM, et al. Nanocarriers for antioxidant resveratrol: Formulation approach, vesicle self-assembly and stability evaluation. Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 111C:327, 2013.
54. Detoni CB, Souto GD, da Silva AL, et al. Photostability and skin penetration of different E-resveratrol-loaded supramolecular structures. Photochem Photobiol. 88:913, 2012.
55. Alonso C, Martí M, Martínez V, et al. Antioxidant cosmeto-textiles: skin assessment. Eur J Pharm Biopharm. 84:192, 2013.
56. Hung CF, Lin YK, Huang ZR, et al. Delivery of resveratrol, a red wine polyphenol, from solutions and hydrogels via the skin. Biol Pharm Bull. 31:955, 2008.
57. Pastore S, Lulli D, Maurelli R, et al. Resveratrol induces long-lasting IL-8 expression and peculiar EGFR activation/distribution in human keratinocytes: mechanisms and implications for skin administration. PLoS One. 8:e59632, 2013.
58. Gupta S, Mukhtar H. Chemoprevention of skin cancer through natural agents. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 14:373, 2001.
59. Ahmad N, Adhami VM, Afaq F, et al. Resveratrol causes WAF-1/p21-mediated G(1)-phase arrest of cell cycle and induction of apoptosis in human epidermoid carcinoma A431 cells. Clin Cancer Res. 7:1466, 2001.
60. Khanna S, Roy S, Bagchi D, et al. Upregulation of oxidant-induced VEGF expression in cultured keratinocytes by a grape seed proanthocyanidin extract. Free Radic Biol Med. 31:38, 2001.
63. Pastore S, Lulli D, Fidanza P, et al. Plant polyphenols regulate chemokine expression and tissue repair in human keratinocytes through interaction with cytoplasmic and nuclear components of epidermal growth factor receptor system. Antioxid Redox Signal. 16:314, 2012.
64. Park K, Lee JH. Protective effects of resveratrol on UVB-irradiated HaCaT cells through attenuation of the caspase pathway. Oncol Rep. 19:413, 2008.
65. Kowalczyk MC, Walaszek Z, Kowalczyk P, et al. Differential effects of several phytochemicals and their derivatives on murine keratinocytes in vitro and in vivo: implications for skin cancer prevention. Carcinogenesis. 30:1008, 2009.
66. Roy P, Madan E, Kalra N, et al. Resveratrol enhances ultraviolet B-induced cell death through nuclear factor-kappaB pathway in human epidermoid carcinoma A431 cells. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 384:215, 2009.
67. Jagdeo J, Adams L, Lev-Tov H, et al. Dose-dependent antioxidant function of resveratrol demonstrated via modulation of reactive oxygen species in normal human skin fibroblasts in vitro. J Drugs Dermatol. 9:1523, 2010.
68. Liu Y, Chan F, Sun H, et al. Resveratrol protects human keratinocytes HaCaT cells from UVA-induced oxidative stress damage by downregulating Keap1 expression. Eur J Pharmacol. 650:130, 2011.
69. Osmond GW, Augustine CK, Zipfel PA, et al. Enhancing melanoma treatment with resveratrol. J Surg Res. 172:109, 2012.
70. Jang M, Pezzuto JM. Cancer chemopreventive activity of resveratrol. Drugs Exp Clin Res. 25:65, 1999.
71. Jang M, Pezzuto JM. Effects of resveratrol on 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced oxidative events and gene expression in mouse skin. Cancer Lett. 134:81, 1998.
72. Kapadia GJ, Azuine MA, Tokuda H, et al. Chemopreventive effect of resveratrol, sesamol, sesame oil and sunflower oil in the Epstein-Barr virus early antigen activation assay and the mouse skin two-stage carcinogenesis. Pharmacol Res. 45:499, 2002.
73. Kundu JK, Chun KS, Kim SO, et al. Resveratrol inhibits phorbol ester-induced cyclooxygenase-2 expression in mouse skin: MAPKs and AP-1 as potential molecular targets. Biofactors. 21:33, 2004.
74. Jang JH, Surh YJ. Protective effect of resveratrol on beta-amyloid-induced oxidative PC12 cell death. Free Radic Biol Med. 34:1100, 2003.
75. Roy P, Kalra N, Prasad S, et al. Chemopreventive potential of resveratrol in mouse skin tumors through regulation of mitochondrial and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways. Pharm Res. 26:211, 2009.
76. Yusuf N, Nasti TH, Meleth S, et al. Resveratrol enhances cell-mediated immune response to DMBA through TLR4 and prevents DMBA induced cutaneous carcinogenesis. Mol Carcinog. 48:713, 2009.
77. Kim KH, Back JH, Zhu Y, et al. Resveratrol targets transforming growth factor-β2 signaling to block UV-induced tumor progression. J Invest Dermatol. 131:195, 2011.
78. Hao YQ, Huang WX, Feng HX, et al. Study of apoptosis related factors regulatory mechanism of resveratrol to human skin squamous cell carcinoma A431 xenograft in nude mice. Zhonghua Yi Xue Za Zhi. 93:464, 2013.
79. Ash K, Lord J, Zukowski M, et al. Comparison of topical therapy for striae alba (20% glycolic acid/0.05% tretinoin versus 20% glycolic acid/10% L-ascorbic acid). Dermatol Surg. 24:849, 1998.
80. Reagan-Shaw S, Afaq F, Aziz MH, et al. Modulations of critical cell cycle regulatory events during chemoprevention of ultraviolet B-mediated responses by resveratrol in SKH-1 hairless mouse skin. Oncogene. 23:5151, 2004.
81. Shi X, Ye J, Leonard S, et al. Antioxidant properties of (-)-epicatechin-3-gallate and its inhibition of Cr(VI)-induced DNA damage and Cr(IV)- or TPA-stimulated NF-kappaB activation. Mol Cell Biochem. 206:125, 2000.
82. Wei H, Zhang X, Zhao JF, et al. Scavenging of hydrogen peroxide and inhibition of ultraviolet light-induced oxidative DNA damage by aqueous extracts from green and black teas. Free Radic Biol Med. 26:1427, 1999.
83. Nichols JA, Katiyar SK. Skin photoprotection by natural polyphenols: anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and DNA repair mechanisms. Arch Dermatol Res. 302:71, 2010.
84. Afaq F, Adhami VM, Ahmad N, et al. Botanical antioxidants for chemoprevention of photocarcinogenesis. Front Biosci. 7:d784, 2002.
85. McDaniel DH, Neudecker BA, DiNardo JC, et al. Idebenone: a new antioxidant – Part I. Relative assessment of oxidative stress protection capacity compared to commonly known antioxidants. J Cosmet Dermatol. 4:10, 2005.
86. Giardina S, Michelotti A, Zavattini G, et al. Efficacy study in vitro: assessment of the properties of resveratrol and resveratrol + N-acetyl-cysteine on proliferation and inhibition of collagen activity. Minerva Ginecol. 62:195, 2010.
87. Zillich OV, Schweiggert-Weisz U, Hasenkopf K, et al. Release and in vitro skin permeation of polyphenols from cosmetic emulsions. Int J Cosmet Sci. 35:491, 2013.
88. Brito P, Almeida LM, Dinis TC. The interaction of resveratrol with ferrylmyoglobin and peroxynitrite; protection against LDL oxidation. Free Radic Res. 36:621, 2002.
90. Docherty JJ, Smith JS, Fu MM, et al. Effect of topically applied resveratrol on cutaneous herpes simplex virus infections in hairless mice. Antiviral Res. 61:19, 2004.
91. Csiszar, A., Labinskyy, N., Pinto, J. T., Ballabh, P., Zhang, H., Losonczy, G., ... & Ungvari, Z. (2009). Resveratrol induces mitochondrial biogenesis in endothelial cells. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, 297(1), H13-H20.
92. Fiume, M. M., Bergfeld, W. F., Belsito, D. V., Hill, R. A., Klaassen, C. D., Liebler, D. C., ... & Andersen, F. A. (2014). Safety assessment of Vitis vinifera (Grape)-derived ingredients as used in cosmetics. International Journal of Toxicology, 33(3_suppl), 48S-83S.