Is Pycnogenol An Effective Treatment For Melasma?


I often write about treatments for melasma. I’ve been asked if taking pycnogenol shows any promise in treating this condition or at least in making it look somewhat better. By no means am I an expert on this topic but because of my own issues, I have researched it and experimented with different treatments. I will take a look at this treatment in the following article.

What Is Pycnogenol And How Is It Used?: This substance comes from the bark of maritime trees which are mostly found in France. This substance is considered an antioxidant and many consider it to be much more powerful than other antioxidants like vitamins C and E. However, lately this substance has begun to get attention due to it’s believed ability to protect the skin from sun damage, which can be very important to people with melasma or hyperpigmentation. There are even products containing this substance which are called “sunscreen pills” which people sometimes take (in addition to sunscreen) when they know they’re going to be out in the sun.

Sun exposure is thought to be a major contributing factor to melasma and dark spots, so this substance is often thought of as both a preventative measure, and as a treatment, since antioxidants are also thought to improve discoloration.

Have There Been Any Clinical Studies That Look At Pycnogenol And Melasma?: There is a 2002 Chinese study which looked at this issue. However, it was a very small and short term study. Basically, it only looked at 30 women over a month’s time frame. At the end of the study, the participant’s darker areas were said to be lessened by about 25%. And the darkness of the areas was said to be reduced by about 47%. In other words, the areas of hyperpigmentation were smaller and less dark for some of the participants.

My Take On This: This is only my opinion, but I have tried pycnogenol and it is an addition to my regimen that I like and will keep. However, my concern about this is that I’ve heard people say that they use this in place of sunscreen. Because sun protection is so very important with this condition, I think it’s vital to try this on top of and in addition to a very good sunscreen. And, in my experience, the most successful regimen involves both internal and external treatments. And of course, you should use any product only as directed and consult your doctor with any concerns.

I believe that supplements and vitamins can help to improve the condition of your skin. But I also believe, at least from my own experience, that a combination of both external and internal treatments work best for melasma. I also think most people find their best success with trial and error of a combination of a few different treatments meant to take a multi faceted approach.