Pine bark extract (Pinus massoniana from Asia) is one of the most common formulations used while Pycnogenol® (Pinus pinaster ssp. Atlantica is from Europe) is a patented blend of this powerful nutrient.

Pycnogenol (Pine bark extract) is an antioxidant that stimulates collagen production. Collagen gives skin its elasticity and is produced less as a person ages. This collagen-producing property has led manufacturers of skincare products to include pycnogenol in many anti-aging products.

While many skincare products contain harsh chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin, pycnogenol is gentle and all-natural. In its natural form, pycnogenol is derived from the bark of the French Maritime pine tree. 

Pycnogenol’s Benefits Are Backed by Research

Multiple peer-reviewed studies have shown that pycnogenol may be effective as a skincare supplement or topical treatment. Specifically, it has been shown that pycnogenol may help increase skin elasticity and improve the appearance of smooth skin.1  Additionally, pycnogenol has been shown in various studies to improve hydration levels in the skin of middle-aged women, who commonly cite dryness as one of their skincare challenges.1 Few other skincare ingredients can be as backed up by peer-reviewed scientific studies as pycnogenol is when it comes to helping retain moisture and elasticity.1,2

Why Antioxidants Are So Good for Skin

Pycnogenol, like many effective natural skincare ingredients, is an antioxidant. But why are antioxidants so sought after in skincare? 

Antioxidants fight off chemicals called free radicals. Free radicals are known to cause signs of aging both internally and externally. This is why pycnogenol can help slow the effects of aging and why it has additional health benefits just as other antioxidants do.

Pycnogenol May Increase Skin Elasticity

Although wrinkles and fine lines are an inevitable part of life, anti-aging skincare products often aim to at least slow the loss of elasticity in skin. Those who are interested in using pycnogenol products for anti-aging purposes will be happy to hear that it may help improve the elasticity of skin due to its collagen and elastin stimulating properties. 

Collagen is the main protein in your body that keeps skin looking supple and able to stretch and snap back into place. UV radiation can cause collagen to break down more quickly than the process of aging, so providing the skin with rich nutrients like pycnogenol can help counteract this process.

Hydrate Dry Skin With Pycnogenol

One of the most remarkable potential benefits of pycnogenol may be its role in boosting skin hydration. People of all ages struggle with dry skin. Dry skin can contribute to signs of aging and can even lead to flakiness and rashes. A study in 2012 showed that pycnogenol supplementation increased skin hydration by 8% in those with normal skin types and by 21% in those with dry skin after just 6 weeks.1

Pycnogenol Can Help Fight Inflammation

Perhaps the least known but most important benefit of pycnogenol may be its potential to fight inflammation. Inflammation can be caused by a wide variety of different skin conditions from acne to rosacea and can lead to hyperpigmentation. This is one application where topical pycnogenol products may be the most useful, as these products allow users to target an area of inflammation on their skin. After a couple of applications, pycnogenol users may notice an improvement in discoloration and irritation of that area of their skin.

Pycnogenol Is OK for Sensitive Skin

Many of the most effective skincare ingredients are too harsh for sensitive skin. However, this is not the case with pycnogenol. It is known to be gentle on sensitive skin. 

Pycnogenol Can Be Applied Topically or Taken Orally

Pycnogenol (Pine bark extractwas a traditional supplement consumed as a tea by the inhabitants of France for many years. Professionally prepared products are available as both topical products and as oral supplements. Each of these types of products has its benefits. Topical products will target problem areas on the skin. As an antioxidant, oral pycnogenol may help with other free-radical-fighting processes within the body. 

Other Health Benefits of Pycnogenol

Using pycnogenol may be able to improve skin quality as well as provide a number of other health benefits. Studies have shown that pycnogenol has had beneficial effects on heart health, diabetes, memory, and arthritis. It specifically may be helpful for arthritis due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Pycnogenol has the potential to help with heart health because it is a potent antioxidant and has shown to help stimulate blood flow. There is limited research on pycnogenol benefiting those with diabetes and memory disorders, however, initial results are promising. 

Introduce Pycnogenol Into a Well-Rounded Skincare Routine

There are quite a few different pycnogenol products on the market as it has become a well-known skincare ingredient in recent years. Mild By Nature makes a soothing pycnogenol cream that contains a patented form of Pine Bark Extract that research has shown to help smooth out skin irregularities and improve texture and elasticity.

Whether it is applied to delicate skin on the face or used as a supplement to nourish the body, pycnogenol’s free radical-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties show promise in helping boost health inside and out.