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French Pine Bark Extract May Help Protect Skin Against Environmental Stress

There are three main environmental factors that contribute to premature skin aging: pollution, blue light, and UV exposure. A new study has found that supplementation with French pine bark extract (Pycnogenol) may help improve skin health in people habitually exposed to environmental stress.

Participants included 76 adults who spend long hours working outdoors. They were given 100 mg of Pycnogenol or a placebo daily for 12 weeks. After a one-week washout period, they switched interventions. The first intervention took place during the rainy season and the second took place during the dry season. Researchers evaluated skin elasticity, skin firmness, skin moisture, and trans epidermal water loss at baseline and at the end of each intervention period.

While taking Pycnogenol during the rainy season, participants saw a 7% improvement in skin elasticity, compared to a 0.1% improvement in the placebo group. They also saw a 7% improvement in skin firmness, compared to a 0.3% decrease in the placebo group.

During the dry season, skin moisture during Pycnogenol supplementation decreased by 3.3%, compared to a 14% decrease in the placebo group. Trans epidermal water loss decreased by 14% compared to a 4.5% increase in the placebo group. This indicates a significant improvement in skin barrier function. In addition, participants in the Pycnogenol group saw a 13% improvement in skin elasticity and skin firmness, compared to increases of 0.7% and 0.3% respectively in the placebo group.

The study was conducted by researchers from Beijing Technology and Business University. It was published online ahead of print March 31, 2021 in the journal Skin Pharmacology and Physiology.

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