Does Drinking Wine Really Help Prevent A Sunburn?

For all the excuses we can find for drinking wine (it's good for the heart, it promotes longevity, it reduces stress, it complements food, it exists!), perhaps the oddest justification we've heard is the drink's ability to prevent sunburn. A preposterous fantasy? Actually, no. There is some truth to this tale.

A Spanish study published in The Journal of Agricultural Food and Chemistry found that the antioxidants in wine, especially red wine, called flavonoids, can stop the chemical process that kills skin cells and causes sunburn when skin is exposed to the radiation of the sun (via Medical News Today). UV rays set off this chemical reaction in the human body, and while physically protecting the skin by blocking the rays with clothing or sunscreen is one way to go, another method of protecting your skin from this damage is to work from the inside (via New York Daily News).

How wine helps protect your skin

"These encouraging in vitro results support further research and should be taken into consideration into the clinical pharmacology of plant-derived polyphenolic extracts as novel agents for skin photoprotection," wrote University of Barcelona researcher Marta Cascante (via New York Daily News). "Several studies have demonstrated that human skin can be protected against UV radiation by using plant-derived antioxidants."

But what if you're not much of a wine person or aren't a drinker? Not to worry! There are plenty of foods that boast high levels of the same type of plant-based antioxidants that offer this protection, according to WebMD. Specifically, berries, red cabbage, onions, kale, parsley, tea, pomegranates, dark chocolate, citrus fruit, and soybeans are all known to contain similar types of flavonoids to grapes (it's the flavonoids in the skin of the grapes that make wine so beneficial). And these antioxidants aren't only good for your skin; they may prevent cancer, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. So next time you're deciding between a margarita and a glass of wine on a sunny beach day, consider reaching for the pinot noir!