Drinking enough water, good nutrition and exercise can help fight aging of the skin.
But can a supplement give you younger looking skin?
According to a clinical trial published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, the supplement pycnogenol improved skin hydration and elasticity in women.
Pycnogenol is an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree that grows along the coast of southwest France and is found to contain a unique combination of procyanidins, bioflavonoids and organic acids.
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. The study was conducted at the Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine (IUF) in Dusseldorf, Germany and examined 20 healthy women, aged 55 – 68 years.
Participants 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.
The study found that pycnogenol:
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
decreased skin fatigue considerably
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,” explains Dr. Jean Krutmann, the lead researcher from the Leibniz Research Institute in Dusseldorf, Germany.
Study results confirmed pycnogenol improved skin at a physiological and molecular level. pycnogenol increased hyaluronic acid in women by 44 percent after 12 weeks of supplementation.
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.
Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 2012 Jan 21;25(2):86-92. [Epub ahead of print] “Pycnogenol Effects on Skin Elasticity and Hydration Coincide with Increased Gene Expressions of Collagen Type I and Hyaluronic Acid Synthase in Women.” Marini A, Grether-Beck S, Jaenicke T, Weber M, Burki C, Formann P, Brenden H, Schönlau F, Krutmann J. IUF – Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, Düsseldorf, Germany.