The Many Benefits of Wine Facials

It’s time to cheers to wine facials. You don’t need us to tell you about the benefits of drinking wine. Sipping on a glass of that, red, red wine can relax you like the best massage ever, and it has health benefits, to boot. In addition to delighting our taste buds, wine can also do wonders for our complexions. That’s why the delicious ingredient has been appearing in more beauty products and treatments like wine facials.

The Basics

That’s right, people, wine facials are an actual thing. Red wine facials are the most popular, but a rosé facial was recently launched, too. It might be tempting to call wine facials a gimmick, but polyphenol-rich wine has many properties that actually do benefit skin.

Grapes are recognized as a skin-nourishing ingredient thanks to their antioxidant properties. (Caudalie’s entire product range is based on the amazing power of grapes. And they even have Vinothérapie Spas which utilize the power of the good stuff.) Therefore, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that wine facials are the next evolution in this. After all, wine is still grapes—just a much more delicious, fermented version.

The simple thought of having wine applied to faces is probably enough to delight wine lovers alone, but there actually are other benefits to wine facials. Plastic surgeon and skin care specialist Dr. George Sun explains that red wine contains resveratrol, a very potent antioxidant. The hero ingredient can help brighten skin, fight wrinkles and minimize inflammation. Board certified dermatologist Dr. Karyn Grossman adds that resveratrol also has the power to protect skin cells’ DNA from damage from pollution and UV rays. Bet you didn’t think that your bottle of wine held the secrets to all of that!

The Technique

Professional wine facials will vary slightly at each location. In general, the wine is combined with other skin-perfecting ingredients so it can be applied to the skin without dripping off. Dr. Sun adds that wine is best used in combination with other water and lipid-soluble antioxidants, vitamins, bioactive peptides, growth factors, and stem cell products, so it’s likely the facial will incorporate those. The resulting mixture is usually applied with a brush or cotton pad and allowed to set for a few minutes. From there, it is often followed up with a nourishing cleaner and/or serum. At the end, you’re left with brighter, clearer skin without smelling like stale wine. We’ll cheers to that.

Did we mention that some spas allow you to take full advantage of the wine experience by offering you a glass of vino before or after treatment?

Get It At Home

If you’re looking to enjoy wine facials at home, you can pick up different DIY kits like the Astaberry Big Wine Facial Kit ($30) or the Naturence Herbals Wine Facial Kit Instant Natural Glowing & Beautiful Skin ($25.79). Talk about a good gift idea for your friend who is always sending you Snapchats of herself chillin’ at home on a Friday night with her extra-large glass of vino.

You can also take a DIY approach and mix a tablespoon of plain yogurt, two tablespoons raw honey and a tablespoon of whatever red wine you have open. Combine everything together and apply the paste to your face. Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing it off.

If you just want to dip a toe, erm, a nose, in the wine facials trend, you can try other wine skincare products. The TonyMoly I’m Real Red Wine Mask Sheet ($3.75) or the Miss Spa Red Wine Healing Facial Sheet Mask ($7.99) are brilliant options.

No matter what wine facial option you go with, make sure you have a bottle of vino handy. You’re definitely going to want a glass after smelling that grape-y goodness throughout your treatment.

Red Wine’s Benefits, Hold the Wine

You’ve all heard how red wine, in moderation, is good for your health. Soon, though, you may be able to get the benefits of red wine even while teetotaling.

Chemists at Columbia University have figured out how to synthesize the polyphenols, or chemical compounds, derived from resveratrol, the molecule found in the skin of grapes that scientists think is the agent behind red wine’s heart-protecting abilities (for reasons no one is sure of, white wine just doesn’t have the same benefits). Researchers say the synthetic polyphenols could lead to developing medications that mimic the effects of resveratrol without the red wine (while I can’t imagine who has trouble consuming red wine, I hear this is a problem for some).

Resveratrol’s potential health benefits have been suggested as the reason behind the ‘French Paradox’ – the French population’s low incidence of heart disease despite a diet high in saturated fat. And recent studies at the University of Florida have found reservatrol to have “anti-aging, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.”

“The main potential reason is that resveratrol is a super-powered anti-oxidant and it seems to kind of attack those free radicals, and free radicals are present in most diseases and aging,” said Heather Hausenblas, a University of Florida exercise researcher. “If we’re taking a look at where are you going to get it most in your diet, it’s found in the largest quantities in red wine. You can also find it in other things; obviously it’s going to come from the grapes because that’s from what red wine or any type of wine is made.”

The Florida study was conducted with humans; much of the resveratrol research so far has been conducted on animals. One thing about reservatrol I found particularly interesting was this 2008 study which found giving middle-aged mice small amounts of resveratrol in their diets could “mimic the heart-healthy effects of what is known as caloric restriction, diets with 20 to 30 percent fewer calories than a typical diet. (This) suggests that resveratrol and caloric restriction … may govern the same master genetic pathways related to aging.”

“Caloric restriction is highly effective in extending life in many species. If you provide species with less food, the regulated cellular stress response of this healthy habit actually makes them live longer,” said study author Christiaan Leeuwenburgh. “In this study, the effects of low doses of resveratrol (on genes) were comparable to caloric restriction, the hallmark for life extension.”

Man—cut calories by 20 to 30 percent or add a glass of red wine per day? I’ll take the wine, thank you. Or, maybe soon, the reservatrol supplement.

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