Does bathing in red wine do anything besides waste good booze?

Two guys with a kiddie pool, a backyard and a lot of red wine give NBA all-star Amar'e Stoudemire's beauty treatment a try while explaining the chemistry behind it.

Danny Gallagher
CNET freelancer Danny Gallagher has contributed to Cracked.com, Mental Floss, Maxim, Break.com, Mandatory, Jackbox Games, Geeks Who Drink and many, many other publications in his never-ending quest to bring the world's productivity to a screeching halt. He lives and works in Dallas. Email Danny.
Danny Gallagher
2 min read

Former New York Knicks center Amar'e Stoudemire snapped a selfie of his wine bath for his Instagram followers. amareisreal/Instagram

A lot of high-end spas around the world offer some weird health and beauty treatments that involve bathing in liquids that you usually don't see coming out of faucets, unless you can afford to install such plumbing or have a really bad plumber.

A spa in New York called Aire Ancient Baths gives its customers a bath in red wine imported from Spain. The nation learned about this booze bath from Miami Heat star Amar'e Stoudemire. Back in October when Stoudemire was still with the New York Knicks, he posted a selfie on his Instagram page that he took while enjoying his $500 red-wine bath.

The spa claims on its website that the "antioxidant properties of wine" and the toning grape seed body exfoliant that follows the bath can "eliminate impurities and dead cells from the skin and leave it nourished, hydrated, luminous and soft." They left out the part about how it can cure depression by allowing you to let people know how rich and powerful you are by showing off photos of yourself bathing in an expensive beverage.

Technically, anyone can take the same kind of bath, even though most of us wouldn't be able to get a stockpile of imported Spanish wine and would probably have to settle for the boxed stuff. The folks over at Chemical & Engineering News' online series "Speaking of Chemistry" decided to give it a try and determine if the chemical properties of red wine make for good bathwater.

Here's a bit of a spoiler. You're better off just drinking it. It's true that red wine has plenty of antioxidants, but host Matt Davenport explains that these phenolic compounds can't penetrate human skin very well. Drinking the wine is a more effective (and frankly, more fun) way of getting those antioxidants into your body. A 2014 study from the University of California, Los Angeles, published in the journal Dermatology and Therapy found that the antioxidant resveratrol found in grapes and wines could control the spread of the bacteria that causes acne, but only when it enters the body through more traditional methods, according to a UCLA statement.

So this video isn't good news if you're hoping to give this a try in your own tub or pool, or if you're Amar'e Stoudemire. I apologize in advance for your impending disappointment.