Is Pycnogenol the new wonder skincare supplement?
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Beauty supplements are big news at the moment, if it’s not a soft drink that promises to get rid of your wrinkles then it’s a herbal tea that helps you to lose weight or a supplement tablet that promises younger looking skin. But what’s the truth about this type of ‘get beautiful quick’ supplement and do they really work?
I’ve been taking part in the Pycnogenol trial which involves taking a herbal supplement every day for a month and using Clarins Double Serum* on my skin alongside the supplement so that I’m treating my skin from both within and on the outside too.
You’d be forgiven if you’ve not heard of Pycnogenol before, it’s a herbal supplement derived from pine bark that can be used in the treatment of many ailments including allergies, circulation problems, asthma and high blood pressure. But it has also been found to have positive effects on the skin, some of its benefits include:
- a potent antioxidant it can reduce and slow the effects of ageing
- an effective protection against the effects of the sun** and decreases the symptoms of sunburn
- an anti-inflammatory that lowers scar formation and can improve acne
- an inhibitor of pigmentation intensity, preventing dark skin spots
I started the Pycnogenol trial around 5 weeks ago, want to know how I got on?
I took one Holland and Barrett Pycnogenol* 60mg capsule every morning with my breakfast. They’re just a regular plastic capsule type of supplement, personally I find this type a bit difficult to swallow and prefer solid tablets. It was fairly easy to remember to take the supplement as I got the bottle out the night before so I would see it as soon as I got up and prepared breakfast.
However after around 2 weeks, once I had been reading up about all of the benefits of Pycnogenol and the effects that it can have on the body, I decided to stop taking the supplement. It hadn’t had any negative effects – quite the opposite – but I just thought that taking something that can affect so many parts of the body including the circulation and blood pressure made me feel a bit nervous.
My skin was feeling quite good after these first 2 weeks though, whether it was down to the Pycnogenol or not I can’t be sure, but I’ve definitely had less blemishes and spots recently!
Pycnogenol is also an ingredient in the cult skincare treatment that is Clarins Double Serum. I’d never tried this product before although I’ve read some rave reviews of it so I was looking forward to seeing what it would do for me. It’s also won lots of awards including ‘Best Anti Ageing Serum’ in the Women Beauty Awards 2014.
Clarins Double Serum is a 2-phase product, the bottle contains two liquids – one water based and one oil based – and when you press the pump it mixes a little of the two serums together and dispenses them. The ingredients include 20 plant extracts one of which is Pycnogenol and it aims to minimise pores and wrinkles and smooth the skin.
The serum should be applied to skin in between cleansing and moisturising, I found that two pumps is enough to cover the whole face. It feels slightly oily to the touch when it is applied but it soon sinks into the skin.
I’ve been applying Double Serum at bedtime for over a month now and the results have been positive. My skin has been fairly clear of blemishes and it feels radiant and healthy. I had a few days last week of applying sunscreen to my face too which can sometimes clog my pores but I haven’t had any problems. I’m not really sure that the serum reduces pores, and I haven’t been using it long enough to see if it has any effect on wrinkles, but my skin has definitely been feeling happier!
Of course I don’t know if the improvement in my skin has been down to the Pycnogenol supplements or the Clarins Double Serum – or something else entirely – but I think there’s probably a good chance that the combination of products has had a positive effect on my skin.
You should always think carefully before taking a supplement as they can be potent and alter the natural balance of your body. It’s definitely worth speaking to an expert before you try something like this, but in the right doses they can work well.
I’ll definitely be continuing to use the Clarins Double Serum, it really agrees with my skin and all the awards it’s won are very deserved. As for the Pycnogenol supplement, I don’t think it’s something that I’ll use again but that’s just my personal preference, I’m very wary of health supplements although I think plant-based ones do have their place when managed carefully.
Pycnogenol Capsules 60mg are priced at £29.99 for 30, available from Holland and Barrett.
Clarins Double Serum is priced at £56 for 30ml, available from Clarins.
** always wear sunscreen even whilst taking supplements that promise to help protect skin from the effects of the sun
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