Resveratrol exhibits a remarkable range of biological activities, including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-viral, cardioprotective, neuroprotective and anti-aging properties.

According to a recent study found that found Resveratrol effective at treating moderately photo-damaged skin:

“Resveratrol is an effective anti-aging molecule with diverse biologic activity. It functions as a dual antioxidant that can neutralize free radicals and increase intrinsic antioxidant capacity.” 2

Its broad-spectrum properties (antimicrobial, antiproliferative, anti-inflammatory, anti-angiogenic, anti-oxidant and antiaging) make it a very interesting compound for cosmetic and dermatological applications.

Scientific studies suggest that topically applied Resveratrol protects against UVB-induced photodamage, pigmentation and collagen degradation. In other words, resveratrol may help brighten skin and prevent fine lines. 4

“Because many of the skin conditions stem from ultraviolet radiation and oxidative stress, this antioxidant appears to have promise and prospects against a wide range of cutaneous disorders.” 5


Rich, natural sources of resveratrol are red grapes, red wine, berries (i.e., cranberry, blueberry, black currant, strawberry, raspberry), peanuts and Japanese knotweed root.

Its popularity in cosmetology and dermatology is primarily associated with proven ability to penetrate the skin barrier and antiaging activity.

It has been shown in multiple studies that formulations with resveratrol can stimulate the proliferation of fibroblasts and contributing to the increase in the concentration of collagen III. 3


A recent study by Trotta et al. assessed:

“In both “in vitro” and “in vivo,” the permeation of topical application of resveratrol penetrates into the skin in a gradient fashion and after its penetration is able to maintain its antioxidant efficiency.” 6


Extrinsic skin aging caused by environmental factors, such as solar radiation and pollutants, involves changes in the composition of the dermal extracellular matrix.

“Resveratrol slows skin aging. As the cells get older, their genetic material is damaged. This affects proper operation of sirtuins, enzyme proteins discovered at the beginning of the 21st century.” 7


The compound has been shown to have moisturizing and tightening properties, improving the overall condition of the skin.

“During a 12-week clinical trial of 55 women aged 40–60 years, it was observed that the use of night cream containing resveratrol could improve the skin condition, by limiting the changes caused by the photoaging process.

Clinical evaluation showed significant improvement in skin firmness and elasticity, smoothing fine wrinkles and reducing discoloration after 12 weeks of use. Ultrasonic measurements showed an improvement in skin thickness by 18.9%.”

The study also showed that resveratrol protects cells against the cytotoxic effect of free radicals and reactive oxygen species and stabilized the cell oxidative potential. 3


In the last five years, several researchers have reported that resveratrol is a potent activator of sirtuin enzymatic activity.

Resveratrol increases the activity of human sirtuin 1 (SIRT1) in vitro, an NAD-dependent deacetylase that acts as a regulator of the rate of aging and protects cells from apoptosis. 9

“Resveratrol is one of the best sirtuin activators. It affects skin repair processes, prolongs the life of skin cells and protects against adverse effects of external factors such as UV radiation.” 7

As a potent modulator of SIRT1, resveratrol can also regulate multiple signaling pathways associated with inflammation and premature aging.


In vitro studies using the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) test showed that resveratrol has 17 times higher antioxidant activity than vitamin E. The study also demonstrated its antioxidant activity nearly 3x higher than vitamin C (37%). 8


Various internal and external factors can cause oxidative stress by increasing the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Resveratrol has been shown to be active in neutralizing and inhibiting the formation of ROS. 10

“Resveratrol can attenuate daily oxidative stress by scavenging ROS and enhancing cellular antioxidant capacity. In this way, resveratrol can reduce oxidative damage, premature skin aging, abnormal pigmentation and other age-related skin disorders.” 11

Stojanovic et al.14 found resveratrol to be an extremely efficient free radical scavenger. Resveratrol easily donates one electron to compounds with higher redox potentials, thus being classified as ROS scavengers.


Resveratrol has a positive effect on bursting blood vessels, reduces swelling and redness.

It also accelerates the wound healing process and has soothing properties.

Studies have demonstrated that resveratrol effectively downregulates plays a key role in preserving dermal collagen and reducing skin inflammation. 12


Topical application increases human epidermal hydration, skin elasticity and skin thickness as well as reduces skin wrinkles and augmenting the content and quality of collagen and the level of vascularization.

In a recent study from 2018,

The emulsions containing resveratrol significantly influenced the hydration level of the epidermis. In the subsequent two weeks, an increase in hydration by 20% was observed in the test subjects.

The measurements taken in the fourth week showed an increase in hydration by 201%.”  7


A study of tumorigenesis in a mouse skin disease model showed that topical application of resveratrol reduced the number of skin tumors per mouse by up 98% and lowered drastically the percentage of mice with tumors.

“Our data demonstrated that the topical application of skin with resveratrol resulted in a highly significant inhibition in tumor incidence.” 13

Another in vitro study demonstrated that resveratrol was able to induce apoptosis in two human melanoma cell lines. 14


Resveratrol also exerts protective effects against ultraviolet radiation, mediating oxidative stress and cutaneous skin damage.

Exposure to solar ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a very important factor in the pathogenesis of many skin disorders.

UV light can directly cause DNA damage, as well as start a cascade of oxidative stress and related signaling leading to mutation and irreparable damages to the cells.

“Resveratrol imparts chemopreventive effects against both UVA and UVB exposure-mediated damages.

For this reason, “prospects are very bright for the possible use of resveratrol in skin diseases such as UV light mediated skin aging, use of nanoparticle-mediated delivery.” 5

Interestingly, the post-treatment of resveratrol was found to impart equal protection than the pre-treatment; suggesting that resveratrol-mediated responses may not be sunscreen effects.


  • Resveratrol is now being increasingly used in cosmetology and dermatology. This polyphenolic present in large amounts in red grapes and berries has a number of scientifically proven health-promoting properties. 15
  • The anti‐inflammatory and collagen stimulating properties of resveratrol play a role in its protective effects against UVA radiation in human keratinocytes. 16
  • Resveratrol exerts protective effects against ultraviolet radiation, mediating oxidative stress and cutaneous skin damage 17
  • The mechanism of protective activity of resveratrol is related to its ability to counteract the formation of free radicals and reactive oxygen species. 18
  • The role of resveratrol in the future of skin aging prevention and treatment is promising since oxidative damage that skin cells come under frequently well responds to resveratrol treatment.



  1. Resveratrol and Related Stilbenes:  Their Anti-aging and Anti-angiogenic Properties
  2. Evaluation of Efficacy and Tolerance of a Nighttime Topical Antioxidant Containing Resveratrol
  3. Resveratrol as an Active Ingredient for Cosmetic and Dermatological Applications
  4. Resveratrol from Diet to Topical Usage
  5. The Grape Antioxidant Resveratrol for Skin Disorders
  6. Enhancement of In Vivo Human Skin Penetration of Resveratrol
  7. In Vivo Studies of Resveratrol Contained in Cosmetic Emulsions
  8. Health Effects of Resveratrol: Results from Human Intervention Trials
  9. A Molecular Mechanism for Direct Sirtuin Activation by Resveratrol
  10. Beneficial Role of Phytochemicals on Oxidative Stress and Age-Related Diseases
  11. Role of Resveratrol in Regulation of Cellular Defense Systems Against Oxidative Stress
  12. Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Resveratrol: Mechanistic Insights
  13. Chemoprevention of Skin  by Grape Constituent Resveratrol
  14. Resveratrol Induces Apoptosis in Human Melanoma Cell
  15. Novel Nanocarriers for Targeted Topical Skin Delivery of the Antioxidant Resveratrol
  16. Grape Peel Extract and Resveratrol Inhibit Wrinkle Formation in Mice Model
  17. Anti-aging Properties of Resveratrol: Review and Report of a Potent New Antioxidant Skin Care Formulation
  18. Implications of Grape Extract and its Nanoformulated Bioactive Agent Resveratrol Against Skin Disorders