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Natural Beauty

4 Skin Benefits of Pycnogenol

This patented extract of French maritime pine bark is celebrated for its anti-aging and skin-saving benefits.

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A patented extract of a French maritime pine bark, Pycnogenol boasts numerous skin-saving benefits. It can help prevent and reduce wrinkles, sags, and dryness to keep skin youthfully plump, supple, and firm. Studies have found that it works in several ways to protect against the effects of aging and environmental damage, and to rejuvenate skin from within.

Fred Pescatore, MD, a pioneer in integrative medicine and author of The A-List Diet and other health books, explains the benefits of Pycnogenol:

1. Moisturizing from Within

Hyaluronic acid has gained popularity as a facial filler because it retains moisture in the skin, producing a full, youthful appearance. Levels naturally decline as we get older, but they can be boosted without needles.

“Pycnogenol has been shown to increase hyaluronic acid production,” says Pescatore—by as much as 44 percent, according to one study.

2. Preserving Skin Structure

Collagen and elastin give skin structure and elasticity, keeping it smooth and firm. The breakdown of these essential building blocks leads to a saggy, crinkly appearance.

“Pycnogenol makes skin stronger, more resilient,” says Pescatore. It binds with collagen and elastin and protects them from harmful enzymes that break them down.

3. Boosting Oxygen Levels

Collagen and elastin also strengthen the walls of blood vessels, which helps them to stay strong and dilated, increasing circulation.

“The smallest blood vessels are in our skin,” says Pescatore. “Pycnogenol brings more oxygen to the skin, and that’s another way that it prevents it from aging.”

4. Protecting Against Environmental Damage

Temperature and humidity changes can cause skin problems. However, a recent study found that supplementing with Pycnogenol reduced the adverse effects of shifts between rainy and dry periods of the year.

“Our skin’s moisture needs don’t change,” says Pescatore. “The moisture in which we find ourselves changes throughout the year.”

How to Benefit from Pycnogenol

For healthier, younger-looking skin, take 100 mg of Pycnogenol daily. If you’re outdoors a lot, exposed to sun or pollutants, or are battling skin issues, take 100 mg twice daily. To avoid stomach upset, take Pycnogenol with or right after a meal.

Healthy Skin Tips

  • Stay hydrated: Drink enough water every day—half your body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 120 pounds, drink 60 ounces of water. If you drink caffeine, match it with extra water: an extra 8 ounces of water for every 8-ounce caffeinated drink. And for every 45 minutes of intense exercise that makes you sweat, drink an extra 30 ounces.
  • Get enough sleep: It really is beauty sleep because it allows every cell in your body to repair and regenerate.
  • Reduce stress: Practice yoga, tai chi, or other types of exercise, or meditate—whatever works for you. Less stress enhances the health of your skin.