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Procyanidin B-2 (Apple Extract) For Hair/Beard Growth

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Procyanidin B-2, extracted from Apples, might suggest hair/beard growth according to some studies. 

In this lengthy, painstakingly meticulous blog post, all written by yours truly, I have taken into account not just the clinical human trials performed, but have also observed the pharmacokinetics, mitogen-activated proteins involved, the subcutaneous absorption rates, the potential toxicity, and even at the sources of which polyphenols are at its highest concentration.

Of course the science suggests and supports this claim, and it’s not a 100% guarantee that this ingredient will work for you. It’s the same with Minoxidil, it’s the same with dermarolling, the same with much of the knowledge we know out there. The knowledge and studies point us in the direction of eliminating falsities, rather than directing us in absolute truth. I cannot say with confidence that it will result in significant hair growth effects, nor have I had experience with this ingredient.

Disclaimer: Needless to say, I am no medical consultant nor an expert in this field. This article is my gathering of information and studies available on this subject of Procyanidin B-2. It is not conclusive that this ingredient will work for you, nor is it conclusive that this ingredient will deliver the effects that the studies suggest. It's very unlikely for any serious, or even mild, side effects to occur from this ingredient, as it is 100% natural (and found in the skin of green apples). However, please do your own research before experimentation. 


PROCYANIDIN B-2 (extracted from apples)

What is that?

Procyanidin B-2, is a subclass of flavonoids that are known to exert powerful antioxidant, therapeutic, and anti-inflammatory effects.

These polyphenol compounds, commonly found in apples, barley, and grape seeds, have been suggested to produce hair growth stimulating effects by promoting hair epithelial cell growth and inducing the active anagen growth phase in in vivo murine models and in 6 month & 12 month clinical trials.

Preventative actions against catagen development, cellular DNA destruction (apoptosis), and hair loss:

This study examined Procyanidin b-2’s relationship to the TGF-beta signal pathways, which are known to induce the catagen phase (which is the degenerative hair stage), and the mitogen-activated protein kinase cascade (PKC), which is linked to cell proliferation. This study added TGF-beta(1) and (2) to the hair epithelial cell cultures and noted that these pathways dose-dependently decreased cell growth and induced apoptosis (apoptosis is the death of cells that occurs as a normal and controlled part of an organism's growth or development). However, the addition of procyanidin B-2 to the hair cell culture neutralized these growth-inhibiting effects and protected the hair cells from apoptosis.

PKCα (alpha) and PKC-δ (delta) and their relation to hair growth/loss:

Protein kinase Cascade (PKC) is a family of protein kinase enzymes which have been implicated in the regulation of neurotransmitter release, ion channels, growth and differentiation, and nueral plasticity as well as the phosphorylation of cellular proteins.

In more relevant terms, PKC alpha and PKC delta have inverse relationships in terms of hair growth. This studyand study evaluated the induction of hair growth by stim irritants and its relation to protein kinase C (PKC). After having examined the effects on shaven mice, the results postulated that PKC alpha may be responsible for enhancement of hair growth while PKC delta may inhibit hair growth to keep the hair growth in balance.

This studyand study further supported this claim by noting that procyanidin b-2 (along with other procyanidins), intensively promote hair epithelial cell proliferation in vitro and stimulate anagen induction in vivo. It is speculated that the hair growing effects of procyanidins are related to their selective PKC delta inhibiting activity.

On the same note, this studyexamined the effects of grape seed procyanidins on the expression of protein kinase C and proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA). [PCNA is a protein involved in DNA replication and repair, cellular proliferation, and has been linked as a key mechanism for the induction of anagen phase study, study, study]. Returning back to this studyon grape seed procyanidins, grape seed extracts are a major source of procyanidins b1 and b2. They found that mice given oral doses of these procyanidins had expression rates of 47.62% and 82.76% for PKC and PCNA, respectively. The negative control groups showed only expression rates of 6.42% and 32.62%, respectively. These findings support the claim that PKC protein expression can improve hair epithelial cellular activity.

Over 1,000 natural extracts were examined...

The proanthocyanidins (including procyanidin b-2) from grape seed extract was credited as a significant natural extract for hair growth, after scientists examined over 1,000 different kinds of plant extracts. They discovered that these proanthocyanidins proliferated hair follicle cells in mice by about 230% relative to controls (100%) and possessed a "remarkable hair-cycle-converting activity from the telogen phase to the anagen phase...". So out of 1,000 analysis on plant extracts, grape seeds topped them all. The contents in grape seed extracts and their reason for success in hair growth are mediated through its various phenolic compounds, antioxidant power, improved blood circulation, promotion of collagen and other benefits. (study). Grape seed extracts constitute a variety of oligomeric proanthocyanidins with only about 3.1% PB-2. We want more PB-2 content, so grape seed extracts are not of interest for beard growth (however they may be for hair growth). (study)

Hair Epithelial Cell Growth Effects

To conclude on the mechanism of growth promoting activities of these procyanidins, this studydemonstrated that procyanidin b-2 displayed the maximum growth-promoting effects for hair epithelial cell growth. This finding reports that procyanidin b-2 possesses growth-promoting activity in murine hair epithelial cells at the maximum highest rate of 300% relative to controls in a 5 day culture, and have also demonstrated that procyanidin oligomers stimulate anagen induction in the in vivo murine model at almost the same intensity as minoxidil 2%. Procyanidin b-2 stood out as the maximum growth-promoting polyphenol, in comparison with PB-3 and PC-1 (which is why grape seed extract won't be the best source for beard growth).

It's interesting to note that this study only examined the topical application of these procyanidin oligomers with a mere 1% concentration. This study only compared its 1% concentration with minoxidil 2%. It may be stipulated that a higher concentration (like 5%) of procyanidin b-2 may compare favorably with that of Minoxidil 5%.

This study demonstrates the promising potential for procyanidin b2 to be used as a natural hair growth inducer.

Human Clinical Trials

This clinical trial investigated the effects of just 1% procyanidin b2 on human hair growth after use for 6 months. A double-blind clinical test involving a total of 29 subjects was performed. 19 men in the procyanidin B-2 group and 10 men in the placebo control group were subjected to analyses. No adverse side effects were observed in either group.


The increase in number of total hairs in the designated scalp area (0.5 cm square = 0.25 cm2 area) of procyanidin B-2 group subjects after the 6-month trial was significantly greater than that of the placebo control group subjects (procyanidin B-2, 6.68 +/- 5.53 (mean +/- SD)/0.25 cm2; placebo, 0.08 +/- 4.56 (mean +/- SD)/0.25 cm2; P < 0.005, two-sample t test). The increase in number of terminal hairs, which are defined as hairs more than 60 microm in diameter, in the designated area (0.5 cm square = 0.25 cm2 area) of the procyanidin B-2 group subjects after the 6-month trial was significantly greater than that of the placebo control group subjects (procyanidin B-2, 1.99 +/- 2.58 (mean +/- SD)/0.25 cm2; placebo, -0.82 +/- 3.40 (mean +/- SD)/0.25 cm2; P < 0.02, two-sample t test). It is calculated that the increased number of terminal hairs in the designated area of the procyanidin B-2 group subjects after the 6 month trial was significantly greater than that seen in the placebo control group subjects (P < 0.02, two-sample t test.)

These results reveal that men who used PB2 had a significant increase in total hairs grown, number of terminal hairs, and no reported side effects.

When the researchers compared their results with those of currently available medications, they found that procyanidin B-2 caused slightly less hair growth than minoxidil (at 2%, not 5%), but a greater increase in total hairs than finasteride (Proscar). Unlike these prescription drugs, procyanidin B-2 produced no side effects. Procyanidin B-2 therapy shows potential as a safe and promising cure for male pattern baldness.

Another clinical study, that lasted for 12 months, investigated the efffectiveness of 0.7% apple procyanidin oligomers (again, quite a low concentration yet the results were still significant).

A double-blind clinical test involving a total of 43 subjects was performed. 21 men in the procyanidin group and 22 men in the placebo control group were subjected to analysis. In the first 6 months, we compared the procyanidin and the placebo groups to assess the medicinal effects of procyanidin oligomers. The application time of the procyanidin group was subsequently extended to 12 months, and the time course of its remedial value was examined.

The increase in total number of hairs in a designated scalp area of the procyanidin group subjects after the 6-month trial was significantly greater than that of the placebo control group subjects (procyanidin, 3.3 +/- 13.0 (mean +/- SD)/0.50 cm(2); placebo, -3.6 +/- 8.1/0.50 cm(2); P < 0.001, two-sample t-test). Time course-dependent improvement in hair density was observed in the procyanidin subjects. No adverse side effects were observed in any of the subjects. Procyanidin therapy thus shows potential hair-growing activity.


The Pharmacology & Pharmacokinetics of Procyanidin B-2

Pharmacology is the branch of medicine concerned with the uses, effects, and modes of action of drugs. (Google)

Pharmacokinetics is the branch of pharmacology concerned with the movement of drugs within the body. (Google)

It's not only important to observe and analyze the mechanisms of action for PB-2, it's important to observe how this ingredient can be absorbed, penetrated, and available biologically when applied topically.

This studyobserved the percutaneous penetration of PB2 in a lotion with only 0.0663mg. The results showed that despite low concentration in the lotion, the substance proved useful in regard to pharmacokinetics.

A theoretical 4-5% concentration of PB2 should render and penetrate effectively, but the cosmetic chemist I hired will confirm for me if this is possible.

Is this non-toxic and safe for use?

To evaluate the safety of topical procyanidin B-2 as a hair growing agent, this studyexamined the mutagenicity, acute subcutaneous injection, primary irritation, skin sensitization, and eye irritation of this compound. The results showed this compound to have no mutagenic effects, no structural aberrations, the legal dose being greater than 2000mg (subcutaneous injection), no primary irritation among tests on rabbits, and slight irritation when inserted into rabbit's eyes. 

The previous clinical trials on humans also showed no adverse side effects reported. The previous mentioned studies on murine models showed no adverse side effects either.

These results suggest that topical procyanidin b-2 is safe and acceptable for use.

Will Procyanidin B-2 Have Any Effects on Testosterone or Dihydrotestosterone?

To date there doesn't exist any scientific study that answers this question specifically.

I am not going to propose any statement on this. You can read this following study and suggest a proposition yourself if you'd like:


There are big and small companies out there that use this polyphenol in their hair growth/loss solutions so I am not claiming to have found something unique and revolutionary. This ingredient is included in many hair growth treatments on the market.

When I called one of these particular companies, the representative said beard growth would be very likely and even laughed at the idea that men are seeking to grow their beards rather than shave their beards. Many posters on hair loss and beard focused forums discuss their positive results (as well as neutral) results with procyanidin b2 in relation to hair and beard growth.


Of course this science suggests and supports the claim that PB2 is an outstanding natural source for hair growth, but like I said there exists room for error in this scientific discussion.

Still, I have high hopes that this ingredient will be very effective.

Thank you for taking the time to read my commentary and explanation about this research as it pertains to hair/beard growth.