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Is Red Wine Good for Your Skin?

wine glass with red wine

In the quest for radiant skin, you might have come across the intriguing suggestion that red wine — a beloved beverage for many — might also harbor properties that improve your complexion. But is there any substance to the claim that red wine is good for skin, or is it just a good excuse to finish the bottle you opened with your pasta dinner?

In this guide, we’ll explore the potential benefits and downsides of incorporating red wine into your skincare routine. However, please remember to drink responsibly, as alcohol can be risky for some people, even in healthier forms such as wine.

The Science Behind the Claim

To truly grasp whether red wine is good for skin health, it’s essential to understand the science behind the claim. Red wine is rich in certain antioxidants like flavonoids and resveratrol, known for their potential health benefits. Let’s break down how these components can affect your skin:

  • Resveratrol: This antioxidant is found in the skin of red grapes and is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-aging properties. It can help protect the skin from damage caused by UV radiation and free radicals. Although a bit technical, resveratrol works by activating the SIRT1 gene, one of the sirtuin genes normally activated by fasting and other forms of hardship. It’s thought to be partly responsible for the skin benefits of calorie restriction, exercise, and many other activities that have known anti-aging effects.
  • Flavonoids: These compounds can help maintain the health of your skin by fighting off free radicals, which are molecules that can cause premature aging and other skin issues. In fact, free radicals generated by UV exposure are one of the major reasons why excessive sunlight is so effective at inducing premature aging because the free radicals harm collagen and impair skin renewal.

Topical Application vs. Ingestion

When considering the question, “Is red wine good for skin?” it’s vital to differentiate between topical application and ingestion. Here, we explore both avenues:

Topical Application

  • Facial Masks: Some people create facial masks using red wine mixed with other ingredients like yogurt or honey, aiming to leverage the antioxidant properties of red wine for skin rejuvenation. However, it’s essential to be aware that the alcohol in the red wine may be harsh on dry or acne-prone skin.
  • Toners: Red wine can also be used as a base for DIY toners, which might help tighten pores and give your skin a fresher look. Tannins, natural compounds found in red wine responsible for that mouth-puckering sensation, are found in witch hazel — one of the best toners for temporarily shrinking your pores.


  • Moderate Consumption: Drinking red wine in moderation can offer some skin benefits due to the beverage’s antioxidants and other beneficial compounds. However, moderation is critical, as excessive consumption can lead to adverse effects, including negative effects on your complexion. Ultimately, alcohol is never exactly a good thing for your skin. The takeaway is more that if you do want to drink from time to time, red wine may be better for your skin than beer or hard spirits, as long as you don’t overdo it.
  • Supplements: Supplements are available that contain resveratrol extracted from red wine, aiming to offer the benefits without alcohol consumption. Without the alcohol, these supplements may have a purer and stronger effect. However, pure resveratrol may not truly recreate all benefits because it’s missing the many other antioxidants and other compounds found in wine. In any case, supplements do allow you to reach higher blood levels of resveratrol than is possible through wine consumption. Alternatively, alcohol-removed red wine may offer the best of both worlds if you don’t drink alcohol but like the taste of wine.
Resveratrol, responsible for red wine’s potential skin health benefits and anti-aging effects, is found in also found in small amounts in cocoa/chocolate and many types of berries.

Which Red Wine is Best for Skin?

Before you plan your next home spa day, you may be wondering which is the best red wine for skin. While there’s no definitive answer, as more research needs to be done, Pinot Noir tends to rank the highest in terms of resveratrol content, which may also indicate high overall antioxidant levels. Additionally, it’s consistently high in resveratrol across many growing regions, whereas other wines rich in the nutrient, such as cabernet sauvignon, vary considerably in resveratrol concentration.

The Potential Drawbacks

While some aspects can make red wine good for skin health, it has potential drawbacks. Excessive consumption of red wine can lead to dehydration, which is detrimental to skin health. Moreover, alcohol can dilate the blood vessels in your skin, leading to a flushed appearance and potentially exacerbating conditions like rosacea. Excessive drinking also places stress on your liver, which removes toxins that harm your skin and general health.

A Balanced Approach

Although red wine is good for skin in some circumstances, it’s important not to start drinking just for these benefits, as there are ways to consume the powerful antioxidants found in wine without the alcohol. However, red wine goes exceptionally well with food. So, if you like a glass with dinner, it may help to know it’s likely a better form of alcohol for your complexion, as long as you’re not knocking back several bottles weekly.

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