Washington: Natural supplement Pycnogenol, an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree, has been found to reduce visible signs of aging in a new study.
Human skin is the body’s first line of defense and often mirrors the health, nutritional status and age of a person.
Over time, skin shows signs of aging due to the gradual breakdown of collagen and elastin. However, skin can be rebuilt and made healthier no matter one’s age.
In a clinical trial conducted at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) in Dusseldorf, Germany, Pycnogenol was found to improve skin hydration and elasticity in women.
Participants (20 healthy women, aged 55 – 68 years) were given 75 mg of Pycnogenol per day, over a period of 12 weeks.
Skin hydration, skin elasticity and skin fatigue were assessed by non-invasive biophysical methods at trial start and after six and 12 weeks.
In addition, at the beginning and again after 12 weeks of Pycnogenol supplementation, each time, a biopsy was obtained to assess gene expression of HAS-1 and COL1A1 and COL1A2.
The study found that Pycnogenol elevated COL1A1 by 29 percent and COL1A2 by 41 percent and increased hyaluronic acid production in skin by 44 percent.
Hyaluronic acid binds large quantities of water in the skin and in other tissues, such as cartilage. An increased amount of hyaluronic acid explains the increased skin hydration, higher elasticity and overall smoother skin appearance found in women taking Pycnogenol.
It enhanced skin elasticity by 25 percent, in addition to skin hydration by eight percent, and was especially noticeable in women who had dry skin from the start, with an increase of 21 percent.
Pycnogenol also decreased skin fatigue considerably and reduced skin wrinkles by three percent and increased skin smoothness by six percent.
“To date, Pycnogenol is the only natural supplement that stimulates hyaluronic acid production in human skin. And, we are encouraged by the molecular evidence confirmed in this study that shows nutritional supplementation with Pycnogenol benefits human skin,” explained Dr. Jean Krutmann, the lead researcher from the Leibniz Research Institute in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The finding was published this month in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology.