We are all looking for the holy grail of younger looking skin. But could it really come in the form of a pill? According to new research, the nutritional supplement Pycnogenol, may just be the answer to slowing down visible sign of aging.
In a clinical trial published in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, women who took pycnogenol, 25mg three times a day, improved their beauty and enjoyed a more glowing complexion after 12 weeks with improved skin hydration and elasticity.
Pycnolgenol is an antioxidant plant extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree that grows along the coast of France whose main ingredient is procyandin. It is said that French explorer Jacques Cartier use it in 1532 to combat the spread of scurvy amongst his crew. Procyanidin is also found in food like grapes, berries, red wines and various nuts.
Certainly you are familiar with the antioxidants vitamin C and vitamin E, and pycnogenol is among the most powerful free-radical anti-inflammatories with studies showing it's antioxidant capabilities 20 times more powerful than vitamin C and 50 times more potent than vitamin E.
New to North America, but not to Europe, this natural supplement is considered safe and effective in various diseases because of its potent antioxidant ability to protect against damaging effects of free-radicals, maybe even slowing down the natural process of aging.
The lead researcher in this recent study from Germany says that "No other natural product has been shown to stimulate hyaluronic acid in the skin." and added that they are encouraged by the molecular evidence that showed supplementation with pycnogenol as beneficial.
And while the study was small, 20 healthy women aged 55-68 years old, they found that pycnogenol enhanced skin elasticity by 25% and skin hydration by 8% with women who had dry skin from the beginning gaining an increase of 21%.
We must always remember that our skin often mirrors our overall nutritional health and is often our body's first line of defense showing signs of aging due to the breakdown of collagen and elastin especially from cumulative sun exposure, so to rebuild lost collagen start incorporating into your daily life these practices:
- Apply sunscreen to your face daily. Most collagen loss can be attributed to UV sun damage.
- Eat foods that contain amino acids lysine and proline, found in lean meats, fish, egg whites and wheat germ. And take Vitamin C each day because vitamin C is what is required to transform these to hydroxylysine and hydroxypoline which is the form of amino acids necessary to rebuild collagen. Make sure you keep your Vitamin C sealed in a dark container because Vitamin C becomes inactive very quickly when exposed to sunlight, heat and air.
- Derivatives of vitamin A, retinoids stimulate collagen production and increase cell turnover rates which will help reveal smoother skin. You may want to talk to your doctor about prescribing a retinoid product, but several quality retinol products are available at drug and beauty stores.
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