A glass of red wine a day - on your face?

February 20, 2013

A glass of red wine a day, for your face?
A glass of red wine a day, for your face?

You've probably read your fair share of articles about the anti-aging benefits of a glass of red wine. The beverage contains a natural antioxidant known as resveratrol, which can slow the some of the aging processes, including the formation of wrinkles on the face. Some marketers and spas are attempting to sell resveratrol in various skincare products that can be rubbed onto the face. Does applying the ingredient directly to the skin offer the same benefits as ingesting it? CBS News recently did some digging to find out.

How does resveratrol work?
There have been many studies that investigate the properties of resveratrol, including some that look specifically into red wine as a method of consuming the ingredient. Dr. Joseph Maroon, author of "The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Life," explains that the agent is one of 600 antimicrobial compounds known as phytoalexin. These compounds are produced by plants and can help ward off the harmful effects of ultraviolet light, infections and changes in climate.

While many studies have looked into the benefits of ingesting resveratrol, the news outlet reports that research looking into the antioxidant's effects when applied externally is harder to come by. A study from the National Institutes of Health in 2005, however, did investigate the matter by applying the compound to the skin of laboratory animals, and then exposing the animals to high ultraviolet radiations.

"It was a very good sunblock," Dr. Maroon told the news source. "It might be the ultimate sunblock for both plants and animals. In animals, it was shown to help prevent the development of skin cancer."

But does this mean it will have the same effect on humans? Maybe, according to a 2011 study from the American Journal of Clinical Dermatology. In this instance, participants rubbed a gel containing resveratrol on their skin once a day for 30 days, reports CBS News. At the conclusion of the study, individuals who used the gel were found to have a 54 percent reduction in acne.

However, it's important to note that this study looked at regular use of resveratrol, which should make one think twice about signing up for a spa treatment that involves a one-time (and pricey) "red wine bath."

Other options are available
Those who are skeptical about applying red wine or other antioxidant agents to their skin may want to opt instead for tried and true methods of improving one's complexion, such as microdermabrasion. According to the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, this procedure can give the skin a "fresh, healthy-looking glow" and carries virtually no side effects. Microdermabrasion can be used on individuals of all skin colors and types, and it has no recovery time, meaning normal activities can be resumed immediately following the session. However, it is important to note that patients must typically undergo multiple sessions before seeing results.


The mission of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) includes medical education, public education and patient advocacy. Plastic Surgery News Briefs are summaries of current stories found through various news and magazine outlets that relate to or mention plastic surgery and cosmetic procedures. The views expressed in these news articles do not necessarily reflect the opinions of ASAPS, but are merely published as an educational service to our members and the general public. For additional information on these subjects and other plastic surgery related topics, please go to www.surgery.org

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About ASAPS
The American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS), is recognized as the world’s leading organization devoted entirely to aesthetic plastic surgery and cosmetic medicine of the face and body.  ASAPS is comprised of over 2,600 Plastic Surgeons; active members are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery (USA) or by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and have extensive training in the complete spectrum of surgical and non-surgical aesthetic procedures. International active members are certified by equivalent boards of their respective countries. All members worldwide adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and must meet stringent membership requirements.

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