Spotlight On Resveratrol

We’ve all heard of resveratrol, the powerful antioxidant found in red wine that’s said to be good for our hearts. But did you know that resveratrol can be found in skincare products too? A potent polyphenolic compound naturally occurring in the skin and seeds of grapes, berries, and peanuts, resveratrol can help boost sun protection.

A powerful antioxidant

According to a 2008 study, resveratrol can, when applied topically, prevent UVB-induced damaged. How? Nikki of Future Derm explained it in such a simple way that I doubt I could do a better job at it: “resveratrol inhibited the inflammatory NFkB pathway and decreased the skin cells’ production of hydrogen peroxide. With reduced levels of inflammation, less damage accrued in the cells.” The scientists concluded that “resveratrol may be useful for the prevention of UVB-mediated cutaneous damages including skin cancer.” But of course, it should always be used together with sunscreen. Resveratrol is not a substitute for it. Nothing is.

Resveratrol also has anti-inflammatory properties.

In a 2002 study, resveratrol was found to be effective against bacteria that cause skin infections such as Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The same study discovered it also inhibits the growth of bacteria and fungi, such as Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Trichophyton tonsurans, Trichophyton rubrum, Epidermophyton floccosum, and Microsporum gypseum.

resveratrol structure

Can you use resveratrol when pregnant?

According to the latest research, you shouldn’t. A 2014 study has found that, when taken orally during pregnancy, resvetrol has a number of benefits, including “30% maternal weight loss and improved glucose tolerance, increased uterine artery volume blood flow, and decreased placental inflammation and liver triglyceride deposition.” But, and this is an important but, it also has some nasty side effects. The researchers discovered “an unexplained and concerning alteration in fetal pancreatic development, which strongly cautions against the use of resveratrol by pregnant women.”

Now, it’s true that the study was performed on pregnant nonhuman primates that were fed “a WSD (36% fat) supplemented with 0.37% resveratrol throughout pregnancy”. This doesn’t apply to the way humans use cosmetics. In creams and lotions resveratrol is present in minuscule amounts, and it’s unlikely that it will be able to penetrate into the bloodstream, but, in the absence of further studies on humans, it’s best to err on the side of caution and not use this antioxidant when pregnant.

Products with resveratrol

Some of the best products with resveratrol on the market now are BeautiControl Defend & Restore Moisture Lotion SPF 20 ($23.99), Cellex-C Advanced-C Serum ($115.00, but you can currently find it on amazon at 40% off!), Paula’s Choice RESIST Super-Light Wrinkle Defense SPF 30 and Topix Replenix Sheer Physical Sunscreen SPF 50.

The Bottom Line

Resveratrol is a powerful antioxidant that can, when used with sunscreen, help boost sun protection. Plus, it has antimicrobial properties. However, it shouldn’t be used by pregnant women.

Do you use products with resveratrol?

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