The study, carried out by the Dusseldorf-based IUF, Leibniz Research Institute for Environmental Medicine, was published in Skin Pharmacology, and looked at existing research and introduces new data to reveal exactly how the antioxidant is effective for beauty and skin care.
At present, the extract is either used in oral supplements or in topical creams such as Clarins Double Serum and Collagen Bomb.
The new data on the extract, commercially referred to as Pycnogenol, shows that it inhibits UVA induced upregulation of pigmentation markers by a 50-75% decrease, which scientists say further supports its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation.
The extract was also found to increase gene expression of loricrin, a protein which plays a role in improving skin barrier function, which sustains skin hydration.
Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract derived from the French maritime pine tree and is a concentrated source containing proanthocyanidins, organic acids and other biologically active components.
The authors conclude the new data builds on previous research showing that Pycnogenol supplementation stimulates hyaluronic acid and new collagen production in human skin.
There have been many studies on nutritional strategies to benefit skin health; many of which involve nutritional supplements containing antioxidants which were initially designed to protect human skin against ultraviolet radiation-induced damage.
Within recent years, a growing number of studies suggest that the beneficial effects of these products clearly extend beyond photoprotection, and the researchers say this formed the basis of this research given that Pycnogenol supplementation is a good example for a nutritional supplement which has the potential to exert a variety of beneficial effects on human skin.
The authors say that they would like to see additional studies being done which take into account recent evidence that skin damage in general, and skin hyperpigmentation/ skin ageing in particular, can also be caused by other environmental factors such as in the infrared and ambient air pollution.