Pycnogenol and Acne

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Because acne can be embarrassing and damaging to the self-esteem, it is important to find ways to remedy it. Pycnogenol, an herbal supplement sold online and in stores, claims to improve the skin’s appearance and texture, which may be beneficial to acne sufferers. However, you should understand exactly what pycnogenol is and what benefits and risks it may pose before trying it.

Understanding Acne

According to, acne can develop in many forms, including blackheads, whiteheads, papules, nodules, pustules and cysts. Acne develops when the oil glands produce an excess amount of oil that cannot completely escape the hair follicles. This can happen due to hormone fluctuations that occur during the teenage years and menstruation. This excess oil, along with shedding skin cells, dirt and bacteria, form a plug that results in an inflamed pimple.

What is Pycnogenol

Pycnogenol is an herbal supplement sold both in the United States and Europe. It comes in an oral tablet form and can be found in some facial creams and lotions. It contains pine bark extracts from forests located in southwestern France. This bark contains concentrations of bioflavanoids, which are powerful antioxidants that are typically found in vegetables and fruits. Other active ingredients may include extracts from grape seed, hazel bark and peanut skin.


Manufacturers of pycnogenol claim that their products help keep skin healthy by fighting off unbalanced cells called free radicals. These free radicals can allegedly bring on a variety of symptoms, including signs of aging and acne. Makers of pycnogenol also claim that it helps improve circulation and reduces inflammation, which can reduce the appearance of acne. However, MedlinePlus notes that there is insufficient evidence to support these claims.

How to Take It

The Pycnogenol website explains that pycnogenol is available in 20 to 100 mg strengths. The recommended dosage is typically 1 mg for every kilogram of body weight. Check the package label and follow all directions carefully. The website also recommends taking the supplement for at least one month to allow it to improve the appearance of the skin. It may need time to adjust to your body. Always get a doctor’s recommendation prior to starting any herbal supplement.

Warnings warns that caution must be used if you are taking pycnogenol while pregnant or breastfeeding. This is because there is no sufficient evidence that points to its safety. Pycnogenol can have an astringent-like taste, which can cause stomach discomfort and nausea in some people. Other side effects can include gastro-intestinal discomfort and dizziness. Consider taking this supplement after or alongside a meal to help minimize these side effects.