Red wine has a complicated history when it comes to beauty. On the one hand, the ingredients in a fine glass of pinot noir have been championed for their anti-aging capabilities. But wine is still alcohol, which is notoriously rough on our complexions. We’ve been sipping the fermented elixir — unsure of whether or not it’s actually good for our skin — since our 21st birthdays (or since our cool aunt slipped us a nip during a particularly contentious family dinner) without really considering the potential consequences.
So what’s the truth? Like most things, the answer to whether or not wine is actually bueno for your skin is not exactly black-and-white. It’s gray. Or, red. “The ingredients that are beneficial for skin in red wine are polyphenols, specifically resveratrol,” says Regine Berthelot, the spa director for Caudalie, a line that focuses on the skin-care effects of grape seed. “Resveratrol protects against free radicals, which are a big contributor to fine lines and wrinkles.”