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What is Pine Bark Extract?
Pine bark extract is derived from the bark of the French Maritime pine tree, Pinus pinaster. However, you may also hear it commonly referred to by its trademark name, Pycnogenol. The active ingredients in pine bark extract may also be found in witch hazel bark, grape seed, and peanut skin.
How is Pine Bark Extract Used?
Pine bark extract can be either taken as a supplement or applied topically. Although pine bark extract is suggested to have the ability to improve symptoms of certain health conditions, more research still needs to be done. However, due to its negative drug interactions, you should definitely check with a health professional before taking it as a supplement.
In terms of skincare, pine bark extract is best known for anti-aging benefits. With more studies suggesting pine bark extract may have positive effects on the skin, we’re seeing more skincare products including pine bark extract as an active ingredient in their formulations.
In short, here are some the main skin benefits associated with using pine bark extract:
- Powerful antioxidant
- Moisturizes dry skin
- Anti-aging – repairs skin and reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles
- Boosts collagen and elasticity
- Calms redness and inflammation
- Reduces age spots
- Improves hyperpigmentation and evens out skin tone
Properties of Pine Bark Extract
Pine bark extract is a potent antioxidant. In addition to reducing the risk of developing many serious illnesses, antioxidants come with a number of benefits for the body and skin.
Most importantly, antioxidants play a critical role in helping us maintain great health (and skin) by neutralizing free radicals, reducing oxidative stress, and repairing damaged cells.
Phenolic acids and catechins are some of the polyphenol nutrients that can be found in pine bark extract. These compounds are naturally-occurring micronutrients in plant-based foods and they contain strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Polyphenol nutrients are beneficial for both the body and skin — from helping cells manage oxidative stress and preventing the spread of free radicals to reversing visible signs of aging.
Boosts Hyaluronic Acid in Skin
Pine bark extract has the potential to enhance the production of hyaluronic acid in skin. Hyaluronic acid is a naturally-occurring substance in skin that holds water (increases moisture content) while making skin appear more plump.
Benefits of Pine Bark Extract for the Skin
For skincare, much of the popularity surrounding pine bark extract is deeply rooted in its ability to nourish, repair, and protect skin. Hence, those with concerns about aging skin may benefit the most from investing in skincare products formulated with this active ingredient.
Here are the benefits of pine bark extract for the skin:
Pine bark extract has a strong reputation for its anti-aging benefits on skin. At the cellular level, pine bark extract can selectively bind to elastin and collagen to protect these proteins from damage. It also contains a powerful combination of bioflavonoids, procyanidins, and organic acids, which help restore elasticity and hydration to skin.
Because pine bark extract has the ability to recycle and restore activity in vitamin C, it can facilitate the synthesis of collagen and elastin in skin. Overall, its hydrating and reparative qualities work together to boost collagen production, repair sun damage, and improve fine lines and wrinkles to give skin a youthful appearance.
Helps Skin Retain its Moisture
As mentioned, pine bark extract can stimulate hyaluronic acid production in skin to help skin retain its moisture. According to this study, there was a remarkable improvement observed in skin hydration and elasticity for women who took pine bark extract as a supplement for 12 weeks.
When it comes to giving skin a boost of hydration, pine bark extract has been found to be most effective on dry skin. But of course, hydration is beneficial for all skin types. Adequately hydrated skin is less vulnerable to common skin problems and facilitates better absorption of the active ingredients in skincare.
Pine bark extract has natural anti-inflammatory properties, which can speed up cell regeneration and promote healing in skin. For this reason, pine bark extract may be effective for reducing redness or inflammation in skin. Overall, pine bark extract is considered suitable for most skin types — even those with sensitive skin or rosacea.
Reduces Age Spots and Hyperpigmentation
Pine bark extract contains both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which may help improve uneven skin tone and reduce age spots. According to this study, pine bark extract may provide photoprotection to skin while improving skin barrier function and reducing hyperpigmentation.
Repairs and Protects Skin from the Negative Effects of Sun Exposure
Pine bark extract not only helps to repair damaged skin, but also to prevent further damage caused by ultraviolet radiation. In addition to shielding skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, it’s also suggested pine bark extract may effectively reduce signs of photoaging on skin, including the pigmentation of age spots.
As mentioned, pine bark extract has some negative drug interactions, so it’s a good idea to consult with a health professional before taking it as a supplement. Most importantly, you should definitely avoid pine bark extract if you’re diabetic or taking other medications, such as an immunosuppressant or blood thinner.
Before incorporating pine bark extract into your skincare routine, be sure to do a patch test to see how your skin will react.
Youthful, radiant skin is at the top of everyone’s wish list. But instead of spending a fortune on the latest and greatest anti-aging products, pine bark extract may be a much easier (and cost-effective) way to rejuvenate your skin at home. With the ability to improve hydration and elasticity in skin, pine bark extract might be worth a try if aging skin is your biggest concern.
If you are looking for an excellent skincare product containing pine bark extract, check out Kahina Giving Beauty’s Brightening Serum.
Have you used pine bark extract before? We’d love to hear all about it! Let us know in the comments below about your personal experience with pine bark extract — and of course, if you have any tips or suggestions for us.