The benefits of Pycnogenol for skin are actually quite substantial to the point where I’m surprised that I hadn’t heard of this product sooner. Pycnogenol is a dietary supplement that is used to help a whole host of health needs but as a side effect, it was discovered that it also had some pretty powerful anti-aging qualities too.
For the most part, Pycnogenol (pronounced “pick-nodge-en-all” in case you’re trying to say it) is sold for its health benefits but more and more people are now starting to talk about its skin benefits particularly its ability to reduce the signs of aging and improve overall skin condition.
How I Came Across It
This was another one of my accidental discoveries because up until recently, I had never even heard of this stuff. I was actually doing some research into something else entirely and I was reading through some of my husband’s training material when I came across it.
My husband used to work for a large health store chain and as part of his job he had to complete some serious training which had to be renewed every year. By serious training, I’m talking almost pharmaceutical level here and a lot of it, it was insane but as a benefit, he has training material coming out of his ears and there’s a good amount of it that refers to skincare which is perfect for me.
Anyway, I was researching something else relating to anti-aging and at the bottom of the article there was a section about “what works well with this”, and there it was, Pycnogenol and I kept seeing it referred to again and again. Sometime later while reading through an anti-aging article on a plastic surgeon site, a plastic surgeon mentioned it as a supplement he took to help with anti-aging. This was then repeated in the comments by several other plastic surgeons as a must have for anti-aging. Well, that’s all I needed to know so I went straight back to my husband’s books to find out what exactly this stuff was.
What Is Pycnogenol
Pycnogenol is actually the patented name of the plant extract originating from the bark of the French maritime pine tree that contains a mixture of different plant chemical including phenolic acids, antioxidants and high concentrations of a type of flavonoid called oligomeric proanthocyanidin compounds (OPCs) which all offer a whole host of natural health benefits.
The OPCs present are considered to be powerful cell protectors that have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-aging, antiviral, anticarcinogenic and anti-allergic properties. Pycnogenol is actually such a major antioxidant that is said to be more powerful than both vitamin C and vitamin E and with more than 40 years of research behind it, it has become a popular treatment for a number of different ailments. It is most widely available as a dietary supplement although it can also be found in a topical form.
What Is It Good For
Pycnogenol is actually used to help with a whole host of health issues and may help conditions such as circulation problems, asthma, diabetes, allergies, muscle soreness, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction, male infertility, menopausal symptoms, osteoarthritis, endometriosis, painful menstrual cycles, ADHD, tinnitus (ringing in the ears) and improve physical endurance.
It is often referred to as the anti-aging supplement because it is believed to slow down the aging process both inside and out and as such is said to reduce the risks of age-related diseases such as stroke, heart disease, varicose veins and mental function and memory decline. It may also help to stimulate the immune system and reduce inflammation caused by free radicals with its antioxidant properties which may help prevent diseases.
One last thing that it may help with is the prevention of hearing loss and balance problems. This was of particular interest to me because I’ve been suffering from a vestibular condition for the last year which you can read all about here. Some studies have been done that have suggested that Pycnogenol may not only help in preventing these issues but may also help to improve the symptoms of vertigo.
It’s Anti-Aging Qualities For Skin
One of the biggest skin benefits of Pycnogenol is its ability to improve the skin barrier by protecting the skin from harmful ultraviolet rays which are the leading cause of premature aging in skin. Studies have found it acts as a somewhat internal sunblock by neutralising the free radicals and protecting the skin from photoaging as well as boosting vitamin C absorption.
It is also said to not only protect collagen and elastin from free radical damage and degradation but to also stimulate new collagen, rebuild skin elasticity and improve hyaluronic acid levels in the skin which all contribute to the appearance of smoother, younger looking skin. Another benefit is that it is said to increases blood flow and oxygen to the skin and decrease carbon dioxide which is imperative to the function of carrying essential vitamin and nutrients to the skin.
It is also said to be effective at promoting a natural glow while reducing and preventing the appearance of hyperpigmentation (brown spot) which helps to maintain an even and clearer complexion. As an added benefit, it is also said to help prevent the formation of scars and although most of the research is based on its oral use, it can actually be found in the form of skin care creams and serums but their availability is somewhat limited.
Those that have used it for skincare purposes have reported a significant improvement in their overall skin appearance particularly from a moisture point of view. They have also reported a brighter and clearer complexion as well as a reduction in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. Also noted is that their elasticity seems to improve with reports of plumper and firmer skin and there are actually a large number of people who use it for skin lightening purposes who report that it is pretty effective.
Precautions And Side Effects
The only downside is that there are some precautions and possible side effects of taking Pycnogenol especially if you suffer from certain ailments or take certain medications. Side effects are said to be uncommon especially with the more common lower doses but in higher doses, it may cause fatigue, headache, gut problems, irritability, dizziness or mouth ulcers although these side effects are considered rare for the most part.
Pycnogenol isn’t really suitable for those with autoimmune diseases (might make the immune system more active), people taking blood thinners or people with bleeding conditions. Even those with diabetes should be cautious because high doses could decrease blood sugar too much.
It should be avoided by pregnant or breastfeeding mothers and it also shouldn’t be taken if you’re undergoing surgery as it may slow blood clotting. It may also affect other medications too so all in all, it’s probably best to check with your doctor first before taking it in case you have any medical conditions or take any medication that Pycnogenol may affect in a negative manner.
I’m still pretty surprised that I’d never heard of this stuff before now but there’s certainly no question that it has a lot to offer from an anti-aging perspective both internally and externally. Those who do take it swear by it and as such it’s something I’ve now added to my daily routine which I will write about in more depth after a few months of use particularly if I notice any significant changes. I did, however, speak to my doctor first to get her opinion and also got her advice about dosage just to be safe and I would definitely recommend anyone thinking of taking this or any other dietary supplement for that matter to do exactly the same.
Have you ever used Pycnogenol and if so what was your experience and what effects did it have on you. I’d love to hear all about it so please feel free to leave your stories in the comments section below.