Witch hazel, grapeseed oil, pomegranate seed oil— these natural oils have had their time in the skincare spotlight over the years, with natural beauty lovers and conventional cosmetic companies both touting their benefits from their anti aging properties to their hydrating help.
But there’s another, lesser known oil called pine bark extract that’s just as potent and may replace your natural remedies and expensive concoctions as your new favorite anti-aging skincare product.
What is Pine Bark Extract and Where Does it Come From?
The extract comes from the inner bark of the Pinus pinaster tree which is most commonly found in Europe. The most popular form of the oil is the French maritime pine bark extract which grows exclusively along the coast of southwest France (ooh la la!).
The earliest record of humans using pine bark extract to cure health related concerns dates back to 1534 when French explorer Jaques Cartier and his crew received pine bark extract tea from Quebec natives to fend off scurvy after their ship was stranded nearby.
Then, in 1934, French researcher Jacques Masquelier found that the extract helped the body absorb Vitamin C with better efficiency, making it helpful, again, to fend off scurvy (among other common skin and health ailments).
Benefits of Pine Bark for Skin
Luckily for those of us living in the modern era, where scurvy isn’t a particularly pressing concern, pine bark for skin is also a radically effective method for maintaining a healthy, young looking appearance.
Reduces UV radiation effects. Pine bark extract contains Pycnogenol (you’ll often see the extract go by this name) which is a powerful antioxidant that offers the skin protection from the sun’s UV rays.
Antioxidant rich. Oligomeric procyanidins (or OCPs) contain two major anti-aging benefits: they’re antioxidants and anti-inflammatory. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which are “bad” cells that attack “good” cells, increasing your risk for cancer and a whole host of other health issues. Antioxidants help your skin turn over healthy cells more quickly and new cells = young looking skin.
Additionally, pine bark extract is a natural anti inflammatory agent. Inflammation can make your skin look puffy, red and dry which are all major culprits in making your skin look and feel older than it actually is.
Reduces hyper pigmentation. Recent scientific studies have shown that pine bark extract decreases age spots and uneven pigmentation. Again, the Pycnogenol works to increase your skin’s cell turnover so you’re left with even, healthy skin.
Reverses signs of aging. Not only does pine bark extract help delay and slow down the aging process, it also can repair existing skin damage, a claim not many natural or conventional anti-aging skin care products can make. In one study, women who used pine bark extract noticed a marked difference in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles after a 12 week period.
Increases skin elasticity. Collagen is a major player in making your skin look young and firm. As we age, our collagen production naturally slows down, making our skin look less tight and elastic. Pine bark extract has been shown to increase production of the collagen genes so that your skin continues to have that youthful, elastic appearance.
- Hydrating. Hyaluronic acid can hold 1,000 times its weight in water, making it an essential component in keeping our skin hydrated and healthy. Pine bark extract has been proven to increase hyaluronic acid production, thus increasing your skin’s natural hydration levels.
Invest in a Facelift— the Natural Way
Pine bark extract is a safe, effective way to reduce visible signs of aging like age spots, wrinkles, sun damage and fine lines.
The recent research pine bark skincare is an incredible advancement for those of us who are interested in maintaining healthy, young looking skin for as long as possible without the assistant of lasers, knives or scalpels. Plus, a bottle of pine bark extract oil is less than $10, making it an infinitely less expensive option than traditional anti-aging techniques and products.