The extract comes from the inner bark of the Pinus pinaster tree which is most commonly found in Europe. The most popular form of the oil in the French maritime extract which grows exclusively along the coast of southwest France (ooh la la!).
The earliest record of humans using this natural extract to cure health-related concerns dates back to 1534 when French explorer Jaques Cartier and his crew received Pycnogenol tea from Quebec natives to fend off scurvy after their ship was stranded nearby.
Then, in 1934, French researcher Jacques Masquelier found that the extract helped the body absorb Vitamin C with better efficiency, making it helpful, again, to fend off scurvy (among other common skin and health ailments).
Pine Bark Extract Benefits for Skin
Luckily for those of us living in the modern era, where scurvy isn’t a particularly pressing concern, pine bark for skin is also a radically effective method for maintaining a healthy, young-looking appearance.
- Reduces UV radiation effects. The extract contains Pycnogenol which is a powerful antioxidant that offers the skin protection from the sun’s UV rays.
- Antioxidant-rich. Oligomeric procyanidins (or OCPs) contain two major anti-aging pine bark benefits: they’re antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are “bad” cells that attack “good” cells, increasing your risk for cancer and a whole host of other health issues. Antioxidants help your skin turn over healthy cells more quickly and new cells = young-looking skin.
- Additionally, Pycnogenol is a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Inflammation can make your skin look puffy, red and dry which are all major culprits in making your skin look and feel older than it actually is.
- Reduces hyperpigmentation. Recent scientific studies have shown that pine bark extract decreases age spots and uneven pigmentation. Again, the Pycnogenol works to increase your skin’s cell turnover so you’re left with even, healthy skin.
- Reverses signs of aging. Not only does this organic extract help delay and slow down the aging process, but it also can repair existing skin damage, a claim not many natural or conventional anti-aging skincare products can make. In one study, women who used this organic extract noticed a marked difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after a 12 week period.
- Increases skin elasticity. Collagen is a major player in making your skin look young and firm. As we age, our collagen production naturally slows down, making our skin look less tight and elastic. Pine bark extract has been shown to increase health-related production of the collagen genes so that your skin continues to have that youthful, elastic appearance.
- Hydrating. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an essential component in keeping our skin hydrated and healthy. Pycnogenol has been proven to increase hyaluronic acid production, thus increasing your skin’s natural hydration levels.