With resveratrol being used more often in cosmetic and dermatologic products, researchers conducted a review to gain a better understanding of its skincare properties.

Resveratrol is a natural phenol produced by plants in response to stress and fungal infections. It can also be found in red grapes, red wine, blueberries and strawberries, peanuts, and Japanese knotweed root. Industrially, resveratrol can be made by chemical or biotechnological synthesis from certain yeasts. It is commonly used these days in cosmetic products due to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Researchers decided to look at the current evidence behind this wonder compound by reviewing all research work conducted to date. Their results were published in The Journal of Cosmetic and Laser Therapy. A review of the current research highlighted that resveratrol has demonstrated effectiveness against numerous skin conditions.

Aging, inflammation, and oxidation of the skin

In recent animal studies, resveratrol was shown to protect the skin of mice when they were exposed to ultraviolet B (UVB) by reducing skin oedema, hydrogen peroxide production, and by inhibiting many pathways involved in the skin aging process.

Studies have also demonstrated that resveratrol has 17 times higher antioxidant activity than coenzyme Q10-idobenone and a 95% higher antioxidant activity than vitamin E.  In addition to this, resveratrol has shown to reduce the expression of certain compounds in the body which leads to the decrease of inflammation.


Due to the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of resveratrol, studies have found that resveratrol has the ability to limit acne vulgaris and reduce the production of sebum. Resveratrol application has also been found to reduce acne by 53.75%.

Herpes simplex virus 1 and 2

Studies have also found resveratrol to be effective in controlling the herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 (HSV-1 and HSV-2). This is a promising discovery as the herpes simplex 1 virus has recently become resistant to the current treatment available, Aciclovir.

Despite the extensive and promising results from this review of current literature, much of the research to date has been conducted in vitro (in a test tube or culture dish) or in animals, not in humans. Therefore, future research is much needed to assess the effects of resveratrol-containing cosmetic products in human-specific studies.

Written by Jade Marie Evans, MPharm, Medical Writer

Reference: Ratz-lyco et al , A. 2018. Resveratrol as an active ingredient for cosmetic and dermatological applications: a review. [Online]. [10 June 2018]. Available from:

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