- PYCNOGENOL: Nutrition for the skin
PYCNOGENOL: Nutrition for the skin
Native Americans have known the secret of pine bark's powerful antioxidant benefits for centuries. But only in the last ten years has the value of this remarkable nutrient been recognized by Western science.
In the 16th and 17th centuries, scurvy was the bane of the European explorers who searched the Northern reaches of North America for the fabled Northwest Passage. French explorer Jacques Cartier discovered the Gulf of St. Lawrence in the bitter autumn of 1534. As the winter wore on, the explorers were stricken with scurvy. Many died.
Cartier, however, befriended a Quebec Indian who showed him how to make a tea from the bark and needles of the Ammeda Pine. Within weeks, the explorers were cured.
Now, over 400 years later, research on an extract of the bark of the Maritime Pine tree is revealing the true antioxidant power of this nutrient. Sold under the brand name Pycnogenol, pine bark extract exhibits 20 times the free radical gobbling power of Vitamin C. Studies also show that when applied topically, Pycnogenol can fight wrinkles and give people younger looking skin.
HOW THE SKIN AGES
Skin consists of the epidermis (the outer layer) and the dermis (inner layer). Millions of cells from the dermis are pushed up into the epidermis every day. As we age, our skin becomes thinner, we lose subcutaneous fat so the skin sags, and the skin becomes less elastic because collagen fibers lose their resiliency.
COLLAGEN: THE KEY TO YOUNGER LOOKING SKIN
Collagen, a protein, is the primary component of the dermis. An interlacing of collagen fibers gives the skin its elasticity and smoothness.
Since there is no blood supply to the epidermis, cell nourishment depends on:
- diffusion from the dermis.
- topical application of nutrients.
The combination of bioflavonoids in Pycnogenol reactivates damaged collagen and protects it from damage from free radicals.
In laboratory tests, Pycnogenol was proven to strengthen collagen fibers. Studies at Baylor College of Medicine also demonstrated that Pycnogenol protected collagen from damage from enzymes.
PYCNOGENOL -- ULTRAVIOLET PROTECTION
Hats, shade and external sunblocks are the first line of defense against ultraviolet radiation from the sun. However, studies at the University of Jyvaskyla in Finland showed that Pycnogenol protects the skin against UV damage. UV exposure which killed 50% of unprotected skin cells, only killed 15% of the cells when Pycnogenol was added.
Since damage from ultraviolet-induced free radicals is one of the leading causes of premature wrinkles, Pycnognol creams can benefit those who spend time out in the sun. Some dermatologists also recommend creams that contain other antioxidants, such as Vitamin E and Superoxide Dismutase. But because Pycnogenol molecules are smaller than those of most other antioxidants, they are more easily absorbed into the dermis.
Research that suggests that antioxidant supplements may protect against degenerative diseases is now well known. New research on the topical application of Pycnogenol and other antioxidants is now making headlines as well. Well-nourished, healthy skin is radiant and youthful. And Pycnogenol used as a supplement and applied topically can be an important part of an optimal skin care program.