The most popular concern when talking about anti-aging skin care is almost always fine lines and wrinkle treatment, because nothing screams old age than dull, uneven skin. Young and healthy skin gives way to wrinkles over time, partly because the levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid in our body gradually decrease.
Collagen is a protein found in connective tissue underneath the skin’s surface. There are various types, but collectively, this protein is the most common one found in the body. Collagen has a big part to play in the continuous renewal of skin cells, which is what keeps skin healthy, strong, and firm. As you get older, your body stops producing as much of the protein—the older you get, the slower production gets. This change in the collagen level is what helps lay the foundation for sagging skin and wrinkles not just on your face, but over the whole body.
Hyaluronic acid is also a major culprit in the formation of wrinkles. The fluid is found naturally in the body and works to keep joints and connective tissue lubricated. Because of its ability to attract water, hyaluronic acid is what helps to keep skin looking full and hydrated. Like collagen, the production of hyaluronic acid slows with age, which makes skin less resilient, and more dried out—the perfect breeding ground for wrinkles. Long story short: less collagen and hyaluronic acid equals more wrinkles.
Both collagen and hyaluronic acid are often sold to consumers as ingredients in a miracle wrinkle treatment. But it turns out there’s a way that you can boost your own collagen and hyaluronic production at any age without relying on a synthetic wrinkle treatment. The anti-aging skin care superstar is called Pycnogenol, a patented natural supplement made from the bark of a pine tree found in western Mediterranean regions. The supplement works as a wrinkle treatment because it mimics antioxidants in the way that it improves the elasticity and moisture of women’s skin, therefore making skin less susceptible to wrinkles.
To test the effectiveness of the pine bark extract as an anti-aging skin care wrinkle treatment, researchers provided 20 healthy female participants between the ages of 55 and 68 with a Pycnogenol supplement for 12 weeks. They evaluated the women’s skin’s elasticity at three intervals in the study: before, halfway through, and at the end.
Pycnogenol proved to be successful anti-aging supplements because they increased two types of collagen in the body—one by 29%, and the other by 41%—as well as a 44% increase in hyaluronic acid. Overall, the participants’ skin after taking the anti-aging supplements was noticeably healthier, with a 25% improvement in elasticity and an eight percent improvement in skin hydration. The results were especially positive for women who had dry skin at the start of the study—they saw a 21% improvement in hydration.
Although the anti-aging supplements improved actual wrinkles by only three percent, Pycnogenol still makes for an ideal wrinkle treatment because it targets the root of the problem. Since low collagen and hyaluronic acid levels are what lead to wrinkles, the best natural solution is to increase those levels.
So while Pycnogenol might not be the best tool for fixing wrinkles that have already surfaced, it could be very useful for preventing new ones from developing by maintaining the physiological characteristics of healthy, youthful skin. This pine bark extract could very well be that miracle wrinkle treatment you’ve been looking for.