RESVERATROL: WHAT IT IS, WHERE TO FIND AND HOW TO USE IT
Carla Valois Lobo
Chemically, resveratrol is a polyphenol. Keeping it simple though, you might say it is a natural antioxidant that helps to prevent degenerative and cardiovascular diseases. It also slows down cellular damage by neutralising free radicals, as well as sporting anti-inflammatory properties. Furthermore, it is worth mentioning that resveratrol is sourced from cocoa and grapes, which means it is found in dark chocolate and red wine, too. Clearly, it seems perfect as an anti-ageing ingredient, right?
According to several studies, all on mice, resveratrol produces health benefits that might explain why the incidence of heart attack is so low in the French, whose traditional diet is rich in saturated fat. Still, although those studies have shown that resveratrol is effective when ingested, research about its external use is limited. Having said that, before analysing how it works, it is pretty helpful to understand where it comes from.
Resveratrol is produced by plants, such as cocoa, grapes and berries, to protect them from UV light, diseases, pests and climatic changes. It exquisitely acts as a shield, which is why it is plentiful in the skin, but not on their inside. In fact, that is also why red wine contains higher levels of resveratrol when compared to white wine: the latter is fermented with the grapes peeled, whereas the first is fermented with grapes au naturel.
Yet, even though it sounds tempting to go right now pouring yourself a glass of red wine, it is important to know that resveratrol provides high bioactivity, but it has low bioavailability. It appears complicated, but that only means it is an unstable compound, and its absorption by the body is reduced if taken orally. When stabilised, however, resveratrol boosts cellular proteins, known as sirtuins; protects the collagen fibers, prevents damage to blood vessels and reduces cholesterol.
As previously mentioned, the studies involving resveratrol when applied topically are limited, but the ones already published show that it soothes, firms and protects the skin. Again, resveratrol offsets existing free radicals, preventing them to damage your complexion. Interestingly, conforming to the latest researches, resveratrol appears to be more effective as an antioxidant than vitamins C and E. In addition, it maintains cells healthy and helps to keep collagen levels, which naturally decreases with age as estrogen production drops.
Brands such as Caudalie, DHC, SkinCeuticals and Sukí are leading the way, and using resveratrol as an active ingredient in their anti-ageing products. Caudalie recently introduced a new skincare range called Resveratrol [Lift], which was developed in partnership with Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School. DHC launched the Resveratrol line in July, whereas SkinCeuticals has a high quality product called Resveratrol B E. Sukí carries the Facial Lift Ultimate Firming Cream Resveratrol + Hyaluronic Acid, and Bio-C 10% Formula Face Serum in its exquisitely blended Spa range.
Finally, we should add that resveratrol-based products are suitable for all skin types and ages. We have been testing Caudalie, DHC, SkinCeuticals and Sukí products for over a month; below we break down each of them, from the list of ingredients to the texture and scent.