Derived from Japanese knotweed, a plant from East Asia commonly used in traditional Chinese and Japanese medicine, resveratrol is a polyphenol with recognised antioxidant properties. Let’s take a closer look at this active ingredient which is used more and more in skincare products.
Resveratrol: an overview
Resveratrol, also known by the chemical name 3,5,4’-stilbenetriol, is a polyphenol found in several plants (vines, blueberries, Scots Pine, eucalyptus…). In skincare, resveratrol is extracted from Polygonum cuspidatum, or Japanese knotweed. This plant belonds to the Polygonaceae family native to East Asia. In China, its medicinal benefits have been recognised for many years. In fact, people have traditionally consumed its rhizome (stalks) to treat conditions such as bronchitis, intestinal discomfort, hypertension, and even snake bites. Naturalised in Europe and America at the beginning of the 19th century, it has become an invasive species listed as one of the 100 worst invasive species as identified by the IUCN.
Within skincare products, resveratrol is listed under different INCI denominations, the most frequent being "Polygonum Cuspidatum Root Extract". Its concentration varies between 0.005% and 5%. Resveratrol is one of the compounds which generates the most scientific publications in the cosmetics sector, thanks to its exceptional antioxidant properties which fight against skin ageing
The benefits of resveratrol for your skin.
Resveratrol is a multi-functional active ingredient:
It fights against skin ageing caused by free radicals thanks to its double antioxidant action.
Resveratrol acts in two ways to combat oxidative stress: it protects skin cells from free radicals and encourages the cells to produce their own antioxidants. As a reminder, free radicals are unstable oxygen molecules that are made from the body’s own production. However, when cells are under stress, they make too many. Stress can come from many factors, most notably from exposure to UVA rays, pollution, smoking, or a diet which is too heavy in fat or sugar. Free radicals are particularly unstable thanks to their unpaired electron. They tend to react with other molecules to create an electron pair, so can cause damage to cells, DNA, and to proteins in the body, speeding up cell ageing and causing wrinkles to appear on the skin’s surface. Resveratrol is a polyphenol that captures free radicals and prevents them from harming skin cells and accelerating the natural ageing process. The antioxidant effect of resveratrol is due to the 4'-hydroxyl group but also to the meta configuration of the two hydroxyl groups of the first benzene molecular group.
It reduces acne and regulates sebum production.
Acne vulgaris is a common chronic dermatological issue. It’s characterised by the appearance of lesions (comedons) and inflammations (papules, pustules) in seborrheic areas. The three primary causes of acne are an increase in sebum production, hyperkeratosis of the hair follicles, and overgrowth of the bacteria Propionibacterium acnes. Thanks to its antibacterial and sebum-regulating properties, resveratrol helps to reduce the appearance of acne.
It soothes and reduces skin inflammation.
Studies carried out on epithelial cells have demonstrated the action of resveratrol on the COX-2 enzyme responsible for the production of prostaglandins, which are lipid mediators of inflammation derived from arachidonic acid.
Resveratrol helps to reduce the appearance of pigmentation marks.
Brown pigmentation marks happen for several reasons: natural ageing of the skin, exposure to external irritants such as pollution and UV rays, certain medications, and hormonal fluctuations. As a reminder, hyperpigmentation is defined as disruption in the pigmentation process: melanin, the pigment responsible for natural colouration of the skin, is overproduced in certain areas, leading to brown, red, or sometimes pink marks, any of which can sometimes be unsightly. Studies have shown that resveratrol is able to modify the behaviour of tyrosinase, an enzyme responsible for converting the amino acid tyrosine into melanin.
Which skincare products contain resveratrol?
Resveratrol has a wide range of benefits and is well-tolerated by the skin, so is found in many skincare products, for all skin types. It’s often present in serums and creams designed for mature skin, which help to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and/or pigmentation marks. It’s also found in products for combination and oily skin types, which may be prone to blemishes and imperfections. Thanks to its soothing properties, it’s also found in certain healing body creams…
Our antioxidant face serum with 3% ferulic acid and 3% resveratrol helps to neutralise free radicals caused by UV rays and pollution, slowing down premature skin ageing and improving skin radiance, leaving a glowing, even complexion.
AHMAD N. & al. The grape antioxidant resveratrol for skin disorders: promise, prospects, and challenges. Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics (2011).
SIANO M. & al. Resveratrol-containing gel for the treatment of acne vulgaris: a single-blind, vehicle-controlled, pilot study. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology (2011).
ARCT J. & al. Resveratrol as an active ingredient for cosmetic and dermatological applications: a review. Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy (2018).