Ingredient Lab: Resveratrol (Women's Health)

The next time you raise a glass of resveratrol-rich red, toast to your health—and to your skin.

Of course, drinking wine in moderation can benefit your well-being. Just ask the French: Their traditional diet is high in artery-clogging fat and washed down by wine, yet yields a suspiciously low incidence of heart disease.

Need an even better reason to uncork and clink? The virtues of vino extend well beyond keeping your ticker in tip-top shape. (Hint: I’m not talking about the buzz!) Wine contains resveratrol, a potent antioxidant found in the skin of red wine grapes, which is now making a name for itself as a skin care ingredient with a five-fold approach to anti-aging:

1. Protects skin from damage: Our skin is constantly being attacked by free radicals, highly reactive molecules that are both produced by our bodies and circulating in the air around us thanks to smoke and other air pollutants. Antioxidants such as resveratrol, vitamin E, and vitamin C, neutralize existing free radicals so they don’t damage your skin, and they prevent these harmful molecules from forming in the first place. Resveratrol trumps vitamins E and C in effectiveness.

2. Soothes the skin: Toxins, sun exposure, and other irritants can damage your skin’s collagen and elastin to accelerate aging, wrinkles, and saggy skin. But resveratol’s anti-inflammatory properties calm and heal the skin to curb chronic damage.

3. Firms your face: Collagen is the key structural protein in our skin that provides healthful elasticity. As we age, our estrogen levels shift, thus producing less collagen, and resulting in crow’s feet, plus droopy, thin skin and lackluster lips. Resveratrol functions like estrogen to maintain collagen levels and moisture for firm, perky skin and a juicy complexion.

4. Provides sun-protection: There’s no question that sun exposure is a major culprit for skin damage and aging; it contributes to the classic signs of photoaging, which include uneven pigmentation, broken blood vessels, loss of collagen and elastin, and wrinkly, sagging skin. While studies show that drinking red wine can help protect your skin from sun damage, thanks to the skin-saving ingredient resveratrol, a more prudent, potent way to summon the benefits of this powerful antioxidant is to slather it directly on your face and body. Applied topically, resveratrol protects skin and inhibits damage from a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB rays.

5. Maintains healthy skin cells: Young-looking skin is evidence of young, healthy skin cells. Our old skin cells are replaced by new ones at remarkable rate: it only takes about a month for skin cell turnover. However, the older we get, the slower the rate. Visible signs of aging, such as dull skin, begin when old cells outnumber new. While there’s no way to entirely stop skin cells from aging, resveratrol encourages your body to expend energy maintaining healthy tissue, which extends the lifespan of cells and keeps your skin glowing.

Try these resveratrol-rich products to protect, nourish, and serve your skin:

Caudalie Vinexpert Night Infusion Cream (1 oz., $68) is a firming, anti-wrinkle cream loaded with a patented resveratrol blend and skin-quenching olive squalane and hyaluronic acid for nourishing revitalization.

DeVine Lip Shimmers ($4.50) delivers concentrated levels of resveratrol for beautifully kissable lips. Made with all natural ingredients and inspired by wine varietals such as Merlot, Rosé, Bordeaux, and Champagne.

La Prairie Anti-Aging Day Cream SPF 30 (1.7 oz., $215) is an über-deluxe formula with resveratrol and a signature Cellular Complex to repair and rehabilitate skin and stimulate collagen production.

Love Life Skin Moisture Reservoir Hand Cream (3 oz., $65) harnesses antioxidant resveratrol and coffeeberry in this luscious blend designed to hydrate and restore damaged skin on the hands.

Suki Spa Facial Lift Ultimate Firming Cream (1 oz., $164) combines resveratrol with other high-performance antioxidants including 85% polyphenols from white grape seeds, peptides, and time-release vitamin C glucoside for ultra-enhanced results.

100% Pure Red Wine Resveratrol Antioxidant Serum (1 oz., $32) is packed full of protective compounds and antioxidants to nourish delicate skin, guard elasticity, and hydrate deeply with 100% natural ingredients.

Eppa SuperFruit Red Sangria (750ml, 3 bottles for $45) serves a drinkable dose of resveratrol in a blend of organic Mendocino Cabernet and Syrah wine with organic, antioxidant-rich pomegranates, blueberries, and acai berries for the perfect summer refreshment over ice.