Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol) Reduces Wrinkles in Women
If you wish there were a magic remedy that would eliminate all your wrinkles and fight the signs of aging, you're not alone. Although no such remedy has been found, a new study does show that pine bark extract (Pycnogenol®) may reduce skin wrinkles and increase skin smoothness, along with other skin benefits.
How to fight wrinkles from the inside out
As people age, the skin experiences a natural breakdown of elastin, a protein in the skin that provides elasticity; and collagen, which works in sync with elastin to provide strength and firmness to the skin.
In this new study, 20 healthy women aged 55 to 68 years were given 75 mg of Pycnogenol to take daily for 12 weeks. Pycnogenol is a trademark name for a supplement derived from the pine bark of the Pinus pinaster tree.
Pine bark extract has been credited with boosting brain function and aiding in the management of hay fever, poor circulation, pain, diabetes, and menopausal symptoms, benefits that may be attributed to the presence of phytonutrients that include procyanidins, bioflavonoids,and organic acids.
In this study, Pycnogenol’s anti-wrinkle potential was explored. The authors evaluated and noted skin hydration, skin elasticity, and skin fatigue at baseline and after six and 12 weeks of the study. They also collected biopsy samples at baseline and after 12 weeks of taking Pycnogenol to evaluate the expression of the genes HAS-1 (involved with tissue health), COL1A1 and COL1A2 (genes that provide instructions for making collagen 1 and 2).
After taking Pycnogenol for 12 weeks, the authors noted the following results:
- A 3% reduction in skin wrinkles and a 6% increase in skin smoothness
- COL1A1 was elevated by 29% and COL1A2 by 41%, which helps support skin integrity
- A 44% increase in production of hyaluronic acid, a substance that provides continuous moisture (hydration) to the skin, which is responsible for the improvement in skin smoothness
- Reduction in skin fatigue
Wrinkles, especially those on the face, betray people’s age, and are caused by a multitude of factors. Along with aging, other causes of wrinkles include
- Exposure to ultraviolet rays
- Repeated facial expressions (e.g., laugh lines)
- Poor nutrition
- Gender (women typically get more wrinkles around the mouth because they have fewer sweat and sebaceous glands in that area, as well as fewer blood vessels)
The study’s lead researcher, Dr. Jean Krutmann from the Leibniz Research Institute in Dusseldorf, Germany, noted that the team was “encouraged by the molecular evidence confirmed in this study that shows nutritional supplementation with Pycnogenol benefits human skin.”
Although use of pine bark extract did not produce a dramatic reduction in wrinkles in women, there was improvement, and the study also showed that “To date, Pycnogenol is the only natural supplement that stimulates hyaluronic acid production in human skin,” noted Krutmann.
Marini A, Grether-Beck S, Jaenicke T, Weber M, Burki C, Formann P, Brenden H, Schonlau F, Krutmann J. 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 2012; 25:86-92
Image: Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons