The skincare industry is a few ingredients away from making prolific use of the pantry. Some of them, like turmeric or neem, may already be part of your everyday routine, while others, sound too alien for you to try. Now, one such ingredient that’s taking over skincare is red wine. We have been sipping this fermented elixir on Friday nights, at brunches, and adding it to food for flavour, for years. But apparently, it’s great when applied on the skin, too. “Red wine has predominantly come into the skincare domain due to two main ingredients: resveratrol and proanthocyanidins. The health benefits of red wine are quite well known, and recent studies have shown that the antioxidant properties of resveratrol make it a promising ingredient for skincare. It has been shown to have anti- ageing, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. This makes it a potent ingredient to treat photo-ageing, fine lines, psoriasis, atopic dermatitis, and hyperpigmentation. It helps restore collagen, scavenges free oxygen radicals, and prevents cell damage. The other ingredient, proanthocyanidins, also has anti-ageing properties, owing to its ability to improve skin hydration and elasticity,” explains Dr Suvina Attavar, dermatologist at YCDC clinic, Bengaluru.

Skincare brands such as Pilgrim, Innisfree, Neogen, and Tony Moly, among many others, have introduced red wine-infused products such as serums, peeling pads, and sheet masks, targeting various skin issues. Anurag Kedia, founder of Pilgrim, explains why the brand has curated a wine-based skincare line. “Red vine extract from grapevine leaves has ancient secrets. It is used in Pilgrim’s Secrets of Vinotherapie range and is sourced from the enchanting vineyards housed in the chateaus of Bordeaux, a famed wine-growing region in the South West of France. The extract helps counter ageing, and revitalises skin with a youthful glow.”

If you’re wondering how to include red wine in your skincare routine, Dr Soma Sarkar, celebrity cosmetic dermatologist suggests, “Specifically when you have a red, it is good for the skin, but it has its limitations. If you want to use red wine on your face, I wouldn’t recommend using it directly, but with other ingredients. For example, you can use a drop of it into your face mask and moisturisers, or in your night-time routine. Wine-infused products are available in the market that have tannin and resveratrol components, which help your skin look good and healthy.”

Dr Janet Castelino, founder at DermaZeal Skin Clinic, says, “Grape skin is high in tannins, which protect the skin from free radical damage. Tannins have anti-inflammatory properties that help calm the skin. They are high in flavonoids, which are plant polyphenols that prevent collagen from breakdown and help the skin maintain its strength and elasticity. Tartaric acid, an alpha hydroxy acid found in chemical peels and skin-lightening creams, is found in grapes and helps to reduce skin hyperpigmentation. Wine is manufactured by fermenting grapes, so it naturally contains high levels of these powerful antioxidants and tannins.”

“Even though wine-based skincare is catching up, with facials and spas using the alcoholic beverage becoming more popular, wine as such cannot be included as a part of your daily skincare routine as it contains 7-15% ethanol, and daily use of this on the skin can be detrimental, leading to rashes and skin irritation. The downside of this is also that application of red wine directly on the face may not reap the full benefits of the active ingredients due to poor skin penetration. These ingredients are better off when extracted from wine and used with specific carriers in cosmetics or creams sans the ethanol. Whether wine finds traction as a skincare ingredient, only more clinical studies will tell. However, sufficient scientific proof for the benefits of wine in skincare is lacking,” opines Dr Attavar. A glass of Pinot Noir might not keep a dermat away, but it surely has a few benefits.