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French Pine Bark May Give You Younger, Healthier Looking Skin

Many skin care products on the market base their claims on weak science and may not actually provide much benefit. A new study has found scientific evidence that an extract from French maritime pine bark may be able to improve both the appearance and quality of your skin.

French maritime pine bark and skin health was the subject of a study published on January 21, 2012, in Skin Pharmacology and Physiology.

The researchers, who are based at Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine in Dusseldorf, Germany and Horphag Research, recruited 20 women between the ages of 55 and 68. The participants consumed 75 mg of Pycnogenol® (a branded form of French maritime bark) daily for 12 weeks.

At the end of the 12 weeks, the researchers observed:

1. 25% increase in skin elasticity

2. 8% increase in skin hydration (especially in the women with dry skin)

3. Increased production of collagen

4. 44% increase in hyaluronic acid production

5. 3% reduction in wrinkles

Hyaluronic acid is secreted by cells and serves as part of the structural element in tissues. Levels start to decrease after the age of 30, and this is thought to play a role in the aging process and the formation of wrinkles.

Pycnogenol® can do more than help you look younger. It has been shown to help with allergies, asthma, ringing in the ears, high blood pressure, muscle soreness, osteoarthritis, diabetes, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder, endometriosis, menopausal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, and retinopathy.

Pycnogenol® is water soluble, meaning it can be added to the production of many common foods. It is currently included in dietary supplements, cosmetic products, and a variety of foods and drinks. In terms of dietary sources, the active ingredients in Pycnogenol® can also be found in peanut skin, grape seed, and witch hazel bark.

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