Pycnogenol description

Antioxidant derived from the bark of the French Maritime pine tree, also known as _Pinus pinaster_ bark extract. The term pycnogenol was previously used generically but is now a trademarked ingredient. Pycnogenol contains antioxidant-rich compounds (including procyanidins belonging to the flavonoid family of ingredients) capable of complementing the benefits of daily sunscreen use. Studies support the claim that pycnogenol is a potent antioxidant that can help neutralise oxidative stress. There is also a great deal of research backing pycnogenol as an oral supplement for its anti-inflammatory properties, antioxidant benefits, and regeneration of skin’s elasticity.

Pycnogenol references

  • Nutrients, March 2018, ePublication
  • Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, 2016, pages 13-17
  • Die Pharmazie, January 2013, pages 75-80
  • Research in Pharmaceutical Sciences, January-June 2011, pages 1-11
  • Photochemistry and Photobiology, February 2004, pages 193-198

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.