Everything About the Amazing Astaxanthin Skin Benefits
Two questions often come up about astaxanthin. The first is usually, “What is astaxanthin?” The second is, “What can it do for my skin?”
Answering the first question is simple. Astaxanthin is one of nature’s most powerful antioxidant pigments. It is chemically similar to several better-known carotenoid pigments: beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein and zeaxanthin. It is the new kid on the block among carotenoids. The chemical structure of astaxanthin wasn’t proven until 1975.
Since its discovery astaxanthin has been found in microalgae, wild salmon, red trout, krill, shrimp, crabs, lobsters, and flamingos. It appears as a pink to red-orange hue.
Numerous astaxanthin health benefits have now been published in the scientific literature. Studies have shown it to impart positive impacts on brain, heart, eye and skin health. It also boosts male fertility and eases inflammation. Its ability to fight free radicals is 6,000 times greater than that of vitamin C, 550 times higher than vitamin E and 40 times higher than beta-carotene (2007).
Astaxanthin has clearly earned its growing reputation as the “King of Carotenoids.”
Now let’s take a deeper peek into what it can do for your skin.
Astaxanthin Skin Benefits
Maintaining youthful-looking skin depends on reversing oxidative damage from aging. A leading cause of skin aging is UV light. This is where the potent antioxidant properties of astaxanthin shine. A recent scientific review of its activities documented how it can suppress the UV-induced production of inflammatory hormones in skin cells (2017).
Clinically, these activities slow down skin deterioriation and halt the dryness that leads to wrinkling. Effects can be observed in all skin layers. Outward results include improvements in skin wrinkling, age spot size, elasticity, and skin texture. These results show that astaxanthin works in men as well as in women (2012).
Building Strong Skin
The most abundant component of skin is a protein called collagen. It forms the underlying framework that holds skin together. The structural integrity of collagen determines how skin looks.
The versatility that astaxanthin has shown for restoring youthful skin has recently inspired researchers to explore its impact on collagen synthesis. What they found in trial experiments is that astaxanthin inhibits the expression of certain genes that undermine collagen synthesis (2016). At the same time, it promotes the expression of a particular gene that also inhibits those same anti-collagen genes.
If all this seems a bit complicated, just understand what this means for healthy skin structure. It means that astaxanthin boosts collagen concentration. In other words, this particular carotenoid enhances the accumulation of the raw materials that you need for making healthy collagen and, thus, healthy skin.
Topical vs Oral Use
Studies on astaxanthin skin benefits include experiments using topical products applied directly to the skin as well as tablets for oral use. Both types of use have merits and provide excellent results.
The key for topical products is that astaxanthin is fat-soluble. This property enables the skin to absorb it directly, unlike water-soluble ingredients. Choosing a lotion or tablet is, therefore, a personal choice.
One bonus from topical use is that astaxanthin-containing creams not only reduce wrinkles. They also increase moisture levels in the skin. Radiant skin health depends on both the smoothing and the moisturizing effects of astaxanthin applied directly to the skin.