Many woman are familiar with the term "pregnancy mask", the dark skin discoloration over the face that can accompany pregnancy. However, melasma is also linked with the use of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy -- both synthetic and bio-identical.
Chinese researchers discovered that taking pycnogenol, a standardized antioxidant extracted from the bark of the maritime pine tree, is an effective remedy for significantly reducing melasma. The study had 30 woman with the condition taking 25 milligrams of pycnogenol three times a day for a month. The extract was found to have an 80 percent effective rate, helping to even out skin tone and lessen the intensity of the discoloration.
Additionally, study participants experienced no negative side effects from pycnogenol. As a bonus, they did find that it helped reduce fatigue, constipation, anxiety and various body pains.