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Pycnogenol for Better Skin in Menopause

By | Fact Checked By Andrea Donsky |

Pycnogenol for Better Skin in Menopause

As your body experiences hormonal changes in perimenopause and menopause, your skin changes as well. A natural remedy called Pycnogenol may help curb any unwanted “modifications.”

What happens to skin in menopause?

Once women enter menopause and hormone levels have dropped dramatically, the face looking back at you in the mirror may become unfamiliar. Skin becomes dry (or drier) as it loses the ability to hold water like it used to. You may notice your skin is thinner and bruises more easily. 

Levels of collagen, the prominent protein in skin, decline quickly at first, and then more slowly. During the first five years of menopause, women lose about 30 percent of the collagen in their skin. Thereafter, the loss is about 2 percent annually for the next two decades. Loss of collagen results in sagging skin and permanent lines from the nose to the corners of the mouth. Wrinkles become more prominent and pouches appear under the eyes.

Read about collagen: vital for skin care, joint and bone health

You may notice more skin irritation from clothing, skin products, detergents, shampoos, and cosmetics. Age spots (dark spots), skin tags, and growth of hair on the chin may also appear. How much of this sounds familiar? So what can you do about it?

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What is Pycnogenol?

Pycnogenol is the registered trademark brand name for what is also referred to as French maritime pine bark (Pinus pinaster). This natural supplement contains many high-powered antioxidants, including proanthocyanidins, which can be found in apples, grapes, cocoa, tea, berries, and wine. 

Pycnogenol is used for a number of health problems ranging from inflammation to diabetes, tinnitus, circulatory problems, and high blood pressure. It’s also helpful in assisting with menopausal skin issues. For example, it can:

  • Attach to existing skin proteins (collagen and elastin) and stimulate the growth of new collagen
  • Protect the skin against harm from certain enzymes
  • Assist in rebuilding skin elasticity
  • Reduce hyperpigmentation

What do the studies show?

In a study of postmenopausal women in 2012, investigators discovered for the first time molecular evidence that Pycnogenol supplements can increase skin hydration and skin elasticity in humans. The authors noted that these benefits were probably associated with the ability of the supplement to increase the production of collagen and hyaluronic acid. At that time, they stated that “Pycnogenol supplementation may thus be useful to counteract the clinical signs of skin aging.”

In subsequent work, researchers have shown that the use of 100 mg Pycnogenol for three months among outdoor workers can result in a 13 percent improvement in skin elasticity and firmness. It also prevented skin dehydration and the development of skin darkening. Other research has also demonstrated that Pycnogenol protects the skin against aging from environmental exposure (including the sun) and reduces hyperpigmentation. 

Read about what your skin says about your health

Other skin-saving tips

Pycnogenol supplementation can be beneficial for menopausal skin, but you can take other precautions as well.

  • Avoid exposure to the sun: wear sunscreen year-round and long sleeves and hats when appropriate
  • Take shorter and cooler showers or baths. Hot water dries out the skin
  • Apply moisturizer after bathing. Choose natural products that contain hyaluronic acid or glycerin
  • Use a mild cleanser instead of soap

Bottom line

Menopause arrives with many physical changes, and your skin is on the list. To help ward off or reduce the impact of hormone fluctuations on your skin, Pycnogenol supplementation can help.

  • Grether-Beck S et al. French maritime pine bark extract (Pycnogenol®) effects on human skin: Clinical and molecular evidence. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 2016; 29(1):13-17
  • Marini A et al. Pycnogenol® effects on skin elasticity and hydration coincide with increased gene expressions of collagen type I and hyaluronic acid synthase in women. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 2012; 25(2):86-92.
  • Zhao H et al. Oral Pycnogenol® intake benefits the skin in urban Chinese outdoor workers: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, and crossover intervention study. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 2021; 34(3):135-45.
Andrea is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist (RHN) & Menopause Expert. Andrea is in menopause & has been researching for the last 5 years science-based ingredients and methods to help women manage their symptoms. She’s the Founder of NaturallySavvy.com—a multiple award-winning website. Andrea co-authored the book “Unjunk Your Junk Food” published by Simon and Schuster, as well as “Label Lessons: Your Guide to a Healthy Shopping Cart,” and “Label Lessons: Unjunk Your Kid’s Lunch Box.” Andrea co-hosts the Morphus for Menopause podcast and appears as a Healthy Living Expert on TV across North America. Andrea has more than 20 years of experience in the health & wellness space and is a multiple award-winning Influencer.