After decades of going nowhere—and being held in slightly ill repute—the science of anti-aging has begun turning out masterstrokes. I'm talking about resveratrol, an antioxidant substance found in grape skins (and a few other places), that has been shown to block the effects of aging. Antioxidants are essentially precious molecules that stop free radicals in their tracks before they can chew up collagen. The old adage, "a drop of what you fancy is good" is one of my favorite mantras. But would forgoing the actual glass of wine and using the extracts found in grape skins as part of your beauty ritual be savvier?
In 2010, researchers in the US announced that proteins activated by resveratrol appear to suppress Alzheimer’s disease in mice (studies on humans found no benefits). Regarding skin care, though, there’s been hardly any studies. The craze for resveratrol is fairly recent, so it makes sense that there isn’t much research out there yet. But in the interim, what's exciting is an emerging piece of the puzzle—a research study showing that certain botanical antioxidants and our aforementioned resveratrol, may supercharge our usual wrinkle-fighters when worn together at night.
Dr. Joseph Maroon, a resveratrol expert who wrote the book, The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Life, and Professor and Vice Chairman of The Department of Neurological Surgery at The University of Pittsburgh, has said that to understand how resveratrol works, you have to understand where it comes from. "Resveratrol is a polyphenols antioxidant and one of 600 antimicrobial compounds known as a phytoalexin, which is produced by plants to protect them from adverse conditions including excessive ultraviolet light, infections and climactic changes," he says. "The big difference is instead of taking supplements or drinking your way to youth, these resveratrol treatments supposedly work by soaking in through your skin."
Bordeaux-based brand, Caudalie, known for its epic wine-based treatments and products, based on Mathilde Thomas family vineyard in Bordeaux, France, was one of the first niche (now mainstream) brands to harness the potent power of the grape. Now, brands as diverse as 100% Pure, Josie Maran, and Apivita are jumping on the grape bandwagon. If you don't fancy passing up a glass of red wine (and why should you), double-up, and use it on your face. Here are a few vine-ripened options I’m digging right now.
- A mask that softens, hydrates and reduces the appearance of wrinkles sounds too good to be true, but the Apivita face mask with grape does all of the above. Apivita Express Beauty Mask with Grape ($34.60)
- Formulated specifically to protect against signs of environmental damage and loss of elasticity, this yummy smelling scrub is packed full of protective and nourishing antioxidants. 100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Scrub + Mask, Luminous Primer ($35)
- The grape seeds in this oil will cleanse the surface of your skin and help renew your complexion, while leaving your skin nourished and moisturized. Josie Maran Cleansing Oil ($32)
- Your hands will LOVE L'Occitane's non-sticky, intensely moisturizing hand cream with grapeseed and shea butter. L'Occitane Hand Cream ($12)
- Rich in resveratrol antioxidants to help promote beautiful skin, layer this gem under foundation, tinted moisturizer, or use alone for dewy loveliness. Juice Beauty Green Apple Age Defy Serum ($55)