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The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% Review | Weirdskin

Updated: Jan 9

I am a die-hard fan of The Ordinary and to be honest it's not only their price friendliness that keeps me hooked. The Ordinary has a series of effective products that focus on getting healthy skin which is my philosophy of what skincare should be about.

The Ordinary Pycnogel 5% serum with dropper open on a table wit vogue magazines in the background
Image from Tea Cups and Tulips

The brand has an extensive range of antioxidant serums that target multiple skin issues all at once and this is what guided my choice when I purchased the Pycnogenol 5% serum. In today’s article, I will be reviewing one of the most underrated but effective The Ordinary serums, and trust me you will want to try this after hearing all about the results I got.

My Experience with The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% Serum

My Skin Problem

I have a dry skin type which means my skin is prone to flakiness, itches, redness, dullness, and lack of moisture used this Pycnogenol serum for over 5 months, right down to the last drop and this says a lot already. For context, my main goals were; to improve my skin’s barrier, protect my skin from aggressions, and fade my hyperpigmentation.

My Results

Barrier Repair and Overall Skin Health

I noticed positive improvements as soon as two weeks of usage. My skin seemed to stay more hydrated during the winter and my skin’s texture was becoming smoother. This serum leaves a subtle glow upon application that I like. Through the winter, my skin was prone to redness and inflammation more often than usual. I found that using this serum helped keep the inflammation at bay since my skin could retain moisture for longer periods.


With regards to hyperpigmentation, I will say on its own it will probably take more than 5 months to reach very significant results. However, once I paired it with the Naturium Azelaic Topical Acid 5%, which also contains vitamin C, I noticed skin became brighter by month 3. This comes as no surprise as pine bark extract can boost the efficacy of vitamin C.

What is The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% Serum?


This serum is made up of a potent natural plant extract called pine bark extract patented as Pycnogenol. It claims to protect the skin from oxidative damage and fade pigmentation. I had never heard of this plant extract before trying this product, and once I was done researching what exactly pine bark extract was all about, there was little doubt left in my mind that I had to try this serum.

Pine bark extract is known to contain high levels of antioxidants called procyanidin. When absorbed by the skin it binds amino acids which are essential for the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. This results in younger, firmer, and more radiant skin.

Pycnogenol can boost the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin which is ideal for dry skin. Using this, therefore, will help increase the skin’s moisture levels and moisture retention capacity. This activity helps limit UV damage and reduces pigmentation in the skin resulting in a more even skin tone. It is soothing and anti-inflammatory.


This product is an oil-based, and non-greasy serum that absorbs quickly into the skin. Because of its high anti-oxidant active it has a reddish hue and is packaged in an amber bottle to prevent oxidization.

Benefits of The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5%

Anti-ageing Powerhouse

Pycnogenol is used in skincare for its high concentration of antioxidants that help slow down and prevent signs of aging. Adding The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% serum to your routine can help you with improving your fine lines and wrinkles. this active stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the skin resulting over time in more smooth and plump skin.

Fades Hyperpigmentation

In a study carried out on 30 women, intake of Pycnogenol supplements for 30 days resulted in an improvement of melisma on the skin. This proves pycnogenol’s capacity to fade discoloration on the skin by preventing UV damage. While this study was carried out with supplements, pycnogenol has a good absorption rate when applied to the skin. This suggests similar benefits can be obtained when used topically.

Improves Skin Hydration and Texture

The Ordinary Pycnogel serum helps increase the skin’s hydration and skin barrier function by boosting the production of hyaluronic acid in the skin. Recent studies have ascertained the fact that pycnogenol can promote collagen and hyaluronic acid within the skin by up to 44%. This results in improved skin texture and elasticity.


When exposed to UV rays and free radicals the skin experiences what is called erythema which is just a scientific term for inflammation. The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% helps soothe and reduce inflammations in the skin. This is ideal if you are prone to inflammatory skin conditions such as moderate acne, rosacea, psoriasis, or eczema.

Boosts the Effectiveness of Other Actives

Based on this study, Pycnogenol can even be a better antioxidant than Vitamin C and E. Pycnogenol can recycle vitamin C in the skin thereby prolonging and boosting its effect. It also regenerates vitamin E in the skin and stimulates the skin to produce more antioxidant enzymes which in turn will protect the skin better from free radicals, UV exposure, and dehydration. As such, pairing The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% with your favorite vitamin C serum can go a long way to improve your skin’s brightness.

Drawbacks of the Ordinary Pycnogenol 5%

The main drawback with The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% is its color which may be off-putting to some and can be staining. However, it easily washes out (at least it did in my case cause yes I did stain myself multiple times 😁)

How to Use the Ordinary Pycnogenol 5%

The Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% serum can be used daily after all water-based serums in your routine and before your moisturizer. I used it twice a day i.e. morning and night. This product is quite potent as such no need to apply a lot. 3 drops for your face and another 3 for your neck and chest area is more than enough.

When applying your serum be careful not to drop it on your clothes as it can leave a stain (which can be washed out). However, it absorbed pretty quickly so no worries about staining your sheets at night. Pycnogenol is rather very well tolerated by the skin but in case of an adverse reaction, you should discontinue use and seek medical attention.

The Ordinary Pycnogenol Conflicts and Complements

One of the things I always look for when building a skincare routine is finding products with actives that work well together. In the case of Pycnogenol, this active pairs well with all other skin actives causing actives such as Vitamin C and E to function better.

Final Thoughts

This serum is currently still in my routine and 5 months after my skin significantly looks healthier, well-hydrated, plump, and radiant.

As a bonus, I used the Pycnogenol serum as a primer as it helps set my foundation in place. As a dry skin girlie, my foundation tends to flake and crease around my mouth and forehead. Applying this serum before my foundation made it adhere more and eliminated all creases. The orange hue of the product has also contributed to making my foundation pop as my skin has an orange undertone that blends perfectly with my foundation. If this doesn’t convince you to try this serum then nothing else will.

As you already know, I am a huge fan of The Ordinary's products. Below are a few others I have used and provided my honest feedback on.

You can check them out and let me know in the comment section what are your thoughts. Thank you!


Who Should Use the Ordinary Pycnogenol 5% Serum?

The Ordinary's Pycnogenol can benefit all skin types by improving skin barrier function and preventing signs of aging. However, it can be more beneficial to dry, dull, and/or dehydrated skin. If you have acne and are dealing with hyperpigmentation this serum will also be a great addition to your routine.

Can I Use Pycnogenol and Niacinamide Together?

Yes, Pycnogenol can be paired with niacinamide. These two actives have similar benefits like anti-inflammatory, increased skin hydration, even skin tone, and improved skin texture.

Is Pycnogenol Good for Wrinkles and Fine Lines?

Yes, Pycnogenol is a potent natural antioxidant that has been scientifically proven to reduce and prevent fine lines and wrinkles.

Is Pycnogenol Stronger than Vitamin C?

According to recent studies, Pycnogenol is said to be a stronger antioxidant than vitamin C. It equally helps recycle vitamin C in the skin thus prolonging its action and efficacy.

What to Mix with Pycnogenol?

Pycnogenol can be paired with most actives safely. It works particularly well with Vitamin C and Vitamin E.

What does Pycnogenol do for the skin?

Pycnogenol is an antioxidant that protects and heals the skin from free radical damage and sun exposure. It also contributes to skin hydration by boosting collagen and hyaluronic acid production and helps fade hyperpigmentation.


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