The study examined the effects of oral Pycnogenol® intake on hair density and scalp microcirculation, & a variety of skin physiological parameters in Chinese menopausal women in Shanghai.

FPHL (female pattern hair loss) varies among population groups and usually increases with age. It is characterized by general diffuse hair thinning over the central scalp. Due to a lack of unifying criteria, FPHL is very likely to be a frequent disorder. Unfortunately, no robust epidemiological data are available.

They found that 23% of middle-aged women between 40 and 49 suffered from mild hair loss, a percentage that increased with age. A common cause of thinning hair in women is menopause, according to Williams et al.

Hormonal changes in menopause affect growth rate, anagen percentage, diameter, and hair distribution. In contrast, scalp hair density decreases with age, causing an overall perception of less scalp coverage.

In addition to reducing the signs of aging, pine bark extract provides other benefits to the skin. According to a 2012 study on postmenopausal women, pine bark extract improved hydration and elasticity.

It was found to be most effective in women who had dry skin and they took pine bark extract as a supplement. In addition, research suggests pine bark extract can boost the production of hyaluronic acid and collagen, both found in many anti-aging products.

This natural supplement, known as Pycnogenol, is derived from French maritime pine bark and is used for various conditions, including dry skin and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Besides peanut skin, grape seed, and witch hazel bark, pine bark extract also contains active ingredients.

The main ingredient in Pycnogenol® is procyanidins, condensed monomers of catechin and epicatechin. Oral consumption of Pycnogenol® is best known for its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Also, Pycnogenol® intake has been shown to improve microcirculation in diabetic ulcers and diabetic microangiopathy patients suffering from venous insufficiency.

Results of the Study

Seventy-six (76) women took Pycnogenol® (3 × 50 mg/day for a total of 6 months) & digital photographs were taken to determine hair density, and Trichoscan software was used to assess it after 2 and 6 months. A humidity sensor measured transepidermal water loss in a closed chamber on the skin surface. By using reflection photoplethysmography, changes in microcirculation were detected as resting flux on the scalp.

Taking Pycnogenol® for 2 and 6 months resulted in a 30% and 23% increase in hair density, respectively, as demonstrated by Trichoscan® analysis of digital photographs. In addition, photoplethysmography showed that this beneficial effect was accompanied by a decrease in the resting flux of the scalp skin, suggesting improved microcirculation.

In this study, we report that daily intake of Pycnogenol® over 2 and 6 months significantly improved hair density in postmenopausal Han Chinese women. In contrast, the placebo had no effect. A trend of increased hair density within the placebo group may be explained by the seasonality of hair growth, showing a maximal proportion of telogen hair in July. As the study started at the end of August, an increased loss of hairs might have affected the hair density at the time of study start, when it might have been lower than in other seasons,” the researchers concluded.

Written by