Monday, March 14, 2011

Cosmeceuticals: Resveratrol

Resveratrol is a "polyphenolic phytoalexin" that certain plants use as a defence against bacteria and fungi. The main way we see this in our bath and body products without being a pure version of it is in grapeseed extract. It is claimed to be a good anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger, but might also offer skin lightening, skin brightening (not sure how to define this), anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and skin damage repair properties to our products.

Resveratrol is a very good anti-oxidant and free radical scavenger. It is a great anti-inflammatory, and it can inhibit cell growth. It is advertised as reducing the signs of aging, and it does this by ameliorating the effects of UVB caused skin damage.

Resveratrol was applied to the bodies of hairless mice prior to UVB radiation and it was shown to reduce the damage caused to the skin from acute UVB exposure. We can't always extrapolate from animal studies, but other studies are so promising that cosmetic companies are already including this in a lot of post-sun products. It is showing promise as a wound healer, anti-fungal, and anti-viral - but don't go using this in place of preservatives!

There are quite a lot of studies about this ingredient happening right now. Click here for the study on skin cancer and inflammation, click here for a study on the effects of resveratrol on herpes viruses in mice,

If you're using grapeseed extract in your products, you can use up to 0.5% in the cool down phase. It's soluble in water, so you can use a titch of warm water to dissolve it. The down side in using grapeseed extract is the colour. When I first added it to this facial cleanser, it was a deep red with a titch of brown, which made it look like blood. As it cooled, it turned more of this browny colour, but the red is still there. This makes it a very difficult ingredient to use in a leave on product like a lotion, but fine for a rinse off product like a cleanser or a product in which the colour is irrelevant, like a toner.

If you're using resveratrol extract in your products, I'm not sure how much to use as I haven't been able to find any suggested amounts. It's soluble in alcohol, so you'll have to dissolve it in denatured alcohol or another form of ethanol before adding it to your cool down phase. It comes in a white powdered form if you get this version of the extract.

Be careful using resveratrol or grapeseed extract with other exfoliating extracts, like papaya, white willow bark, honeysuckle, and others and with things like AHAs because you don't want to use too many of these ingredients at one time as it might make your skin very sensitive!

The only place I've been able to find the resveratrol extract is at Bulk Actives, where it's $8.45 for 5 grams. I use grapeseed extract in my products, which I buy from Voyageur Soap & Candle at $3.70 for 10 grams. (Feel free to add information about other suppliers in the comments...but no ads!)

Disclaimer: I've never ordered from Bulk Actives, so I can't speak to the quality of their products or service. I buy most of my ingredients at Voyageur, and I love them. They offer me huge discounts and freebies for my youth programs, so I'm a huge fan of this supplier! 

Join me tomorrow for more fun formulating with cosmeceuticals!


Tara said...

I usually purchase small amounts from

Although their pricing seems quite high, their shipping is a flat rate of $6 to Canada for (supposedly)unlimited items.

However their forum moderator is not to be messed with, lol.

melian1 said...

is this the same resveratrol that you take as a supplement (vitamin)?

Katherine said...

Lotioncrafter has a product called Metabiotics Resveratol.

I'm not sure if it's the same product. It's a liquid & soluble in water.

INCI: Pichia/Resveratrol Ferment Extract

Anonymous said...

hey everyone,

below is a post for an ingredient that i have never heard of or used. just thought someone would like to know about it.

Anonymous said...

Resveratrol dissolves easily in glycerin or propylene glycol.

Thomas Struss said...

I use 0.01 percent in 3% Dimethyl Isosorbide added at the end. It turns SLIGHTLY yellow, but it seems to work great for inhibiting cell growth, which I have way too much of. BTW, I got the 0.01% number from one patent online and the Resveratrol ECT study.

Anonymous said...

Ingredients To Die For
has Resveratrol.

Anna said...

Hi Susan,

Resveratrol can also be purchased through the UK supplier Active Formulas

I don't know if they deliver worldwide; I've not looked into their delivery policy as it's a UK company and I'm in the UK also!

This company sells a lot of the hard or harder-to-find cosmeceuticals that you have covered, so this may be a useful website for your loyal UK and EU contingent to know about! :)