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Pycnoge…qué??? It’s Pycnogenol, and here’s why you might want to try it

During these past holidays, a family friend brought over one of the best tasting coquitos I have ever tried.  She voluntarily mentioned that she made it with brandy, so I figured she’d gladly give me the recipe when I texted her about it a few days later.  To my surprise, she texted back “Sorry, I don’t share the recipe.”  What?? Are you planning on marketing it?  No.  So why are you so intent on taking the recipe to the grave with you?  It’s just coquito for crying out loud!!

Some women like to keep good secrets or tips from other women, especially when it comes to recipes, fashion, and beauty products.  These are the women who will say they don’t remember where they purchased the shoes or dress you just complimented them about – sí, claro – or dish out what skin care products or makeup they are using to make their skin look so flawless.

I don’t like this type of behavior at all, so I’ve decided to do something about it.  Whenever I discover something awesome that everyone can possibly benefit from, I will share it here on Being Latino.

For the last year or so, my once slightly oily complexion has been looking as dry as the Sahara desert at times.  I have invested in all types of moisturizers, balms, and serums and nada.  I also increased my intake of water and foods that are supposed to aid in skin hydration and was still getting zero results.  That all changed after I discovered a supplement I had never heard about before.  It’s called Pycnogenol and I think I’m in love.

Pycnogenol (pic-noj-en-all) is the extract from the bark of the French maritime pine tree. Pycnogenol helps with skin hydration and elasticity by increasing the body’s production of hyaluronic acid, a component of the connective tissue of skin which helps keep it hydrated.  As we age, our body’s production of hyaluronic acid begins to diminish.  A recent study revealed that Pycnogenol naturally increases our levels of the enzyme that generates hyaluronic acid by 44%.  Pycnogenol also has strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and helps protect against the enzymatic degradation of both collagen and elastin – structural proteins that help our skin retain elasticity and firmness.

Other studies have shown that Pyecogenol can also improve melasma, a skin condition that mostly affects women and is caused by hormones or sun damage.  Melasma manifests as areas of hyperpigmentation on the cheeks, nose, upper lip, and forehead.  Dark-skinned Latinas are susceptible to melasma because they have larger concentrations of melanin, the pigment that gives skin its color.

I have been taking Pycnogenol for almost three weeks and the hydration of my skin has improved drastically, even though experts say it takes approximately 12 weeks to see significant results.  As I did more research on this supplement, I discovered that it is beneficial for many other conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, venous insufficiency, diabetes, arthritis, hemorrhoids, PMS, and asthma, among others.  The recommended daily dose of Pycnogenol is 20 mg for every 20 lbs of body weight.

Remember to do your own research and consult with your doctor before taking any supplements.  And if anyone out there has a good coquito recipe, please share!

About Adriana Villavicencio

Dr. Adriana Villavicencio is the youngest child of Ecuadorian immigrants. She has moved 29 times in her life, taking her on a journey from California to Bangalore, India, and New York City, where she recently earned a Ph.D. in Education Leadership and works as a Research Associate at New York University. An avid traveler, Adriana has collected experiences in four different continents and 16 different countries. But as a former high school English teacher, some of her fondest memories are those of her brilliant and brilliantly funny students in Brooklyn and Oakland. Adriana has contributed to several publications including the Daily News and, and is a managing editor for the Journal of Equity in Education. She earned a B.A. in English and an M.A. in English Education at Columbia University, and currently serves on the board of Columbia’s Latino Alumni Association (LAACU). She enjoys scary movies with red vines, Sauvignon Blanc, and her Maltese dog, Napoleon.

To learn more about Adriana’s education consulting company, please visit

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.

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