Posted by Dr. Ian Bier on Jan 27, 2022 5:59:26 PM
Whether you’re hoping to improve dry skin or signs of aging, recent science has found remarkable improvements with a patented pine bark extract called Pycnogenol®.*
Increasingly recommended by doctors and functional medicine professionals for skin health and menopausal relief, Pycnogenol is making a splash in the world of integrative medicine and supplementation.*
Because it is uniquely able to support skin elasticity and hydration—and has been shown to counteract clinical signs of aging—it is especially effective for women suffering from dry skin.* This plant extract is accessible in a range of forms, and while it is most commonly taken orally as a capsule, it can also be used topically. No matter how you use it, the benefits and uses of Pycnogenol make it an essential product for any medicine cabinet.
Pycnogenol is a patented French maritime bark extract. When it was first discovered, it was the only proanthocyanidin (PCOs) and one of the first bioflavonoid antioxidants of its kind. It has since been very well researched for its support of anxiousness, stress, joint discomfort, brain function, ability to focus, circulation, immune function, and vascular integrity.*
It’s important to note that Pycnogenol (pronounced phonetically pick-gnaw-gen-all) with an upper case “P” is the most effective form of this extract and the most commonly recommended by professionals, as it is standardized to contain 70% procyanidins, a group of flavonoid molecules.
Pycnogenol’s benefits are linked to its potent combination of bioflavonoids, including catechin, taxifolin, epicatechin, procyanidins, and phenolic fruit acids like caffeic acid and ferulic acid.1 These water-soluble, low-molecular-weight plant substances have known antioxidant properties and work to inhibit the activity of specific enzymes that cause pro-inflammatory reactions.* PCOs are unique, as they are highly bioavailable to the body.
This nutraceutical has been especially highlighted for its ability to provide a clearer skin tone via hydration and increased elasticity.*
While Pycnogenol is used to support a wide array of health issues, women suffering from dry skin seem to reap huge benefits from supplementing with this extract.* Studies on post-menopausal women concluded that pine bark extract increased collagen and hyaluronic acid production, both compounds commonly included in healthy aging oral and topical supplements.2 Another animal study found that Pycnogenol helped in skin regeneration by reducing the size of scars.*3
Wrinkles, sagging skin, and loss of elasticity are often related to free radical damage to the skin’s outer layers, leading to accelerated signs of aging similar to what can happen with smoking or excessive sun exposure. The natural aging process also contributes to the decreased renewal of new cells and fewer natural oils, sometimes causing dryer skin with age.
The most comprehensive review on pine bark extract and skin health found that this plant extract helps with wrinkles and redness, minimized skin thickness and roughness, improved skin tone and combats discoloration.* Furthermore, Pycnogenol shows promise in helping with photoaging and sun damage.*4
Men can also benefit from pine bark extract. Still, it’s increasingly recommended by integrative medicine practitioners for women with dry skin, as it’s also shown to support uncomfortable menopausal issues.*
Many women who begin taking Pycnogenol for menopausal relief find that skin improvement is an unexpected and welcome side effect.*
Studies show that consistent pine bark supplementation results in a significant overall decrease in menopausal discomforts, such as hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, decreased sex drive, and vaginal dryness.* While not as common, some participants also experienced menopause-related fatigue, dizziness, sadness, sleep troubles, concentration, focus, and memory improvements.*5
While it’s always important to discuss safe dosage with your provider, benefits for both skin health and menopausal support typically result from between 60-200mg daily of Pycnogenol.*
One of the best researched bioflavonoids, Pycnogenol is proven to help improve skin elasticity by increasing hydration and combating signs of accelerated aging.* This plant extract is also commonly used to support unpleasant menopausal discomforts, which is why so many women are pleasantly surprised to find what a difference it makes in their skin health.*
Discuss any changes to your supplement plan with your integrative provider, and inquire as to whether or not Pycnogenol could be a beneficial addition to your regimen. You might also discuss its potential use for children and adults who find it difficult to concentrate or anyone struggling with joint discomfort or respiratory concerns.
 “Pycnogenol.” Pycnogenol - an Overview | ScienceDirect Topics, https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/pharmacology-toxicology-and-pharmaceutical-science/pycnogenol.
 Marini, A., et al. “Pycnogenol® Effects on Skin Elasticity and Hydration Coincide with Increased Gene Expressions of Collagen Type I and Hyaluronic Acid Synthase in Women.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, Karger Publishers, 21 Jan. 2012, https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/335261.
 Blazsó, G., et al. “Pycnogenol® Accelerates Wound Healing and Reduces Scar Formation.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 3 Aug. 2004, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/ptr.1477.
 Chowdhury, Wahida Khan, et al. “Pycnogenol: A Miracle Component in Reducing Ageing and Skin...” Journal of Clinical & Experimental Dermatology Research, Longdom Publishing S.L, 30 Nov. -1, https://www.longdom.org/open-access/pycnogenol-a-miracle-component-in-reducing-ageing-and-skin-...-16008.html.
 Errichi S, Bottari A, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Hosoi M, Cornelli U, Dugall M, Ledda A, Feragalli B. Supplementation with Pycnogenol® improves signs and symptoms of menopausal transition. Panminerva Med. 2011 Sep;53(3 Suppl 1):65-70. PMID: 22108479.
Subscribe to get email notifications about the latest Davinci blog posts