An oil-loving, red-orange colored pigment that is becoming more and more well-known as a potent antioxidant.
If being an orange-colored pigment reminds you of beta-carotene from carrots, that is no coincidence: astaxanthin also belongs to the chemical group called carotenoids known for giving yellow, orange, or red color to plants. Our guy comes mostly from microalgae, a well-known and often used source is Haematococcus Pluvialis.
So Astaxanthin's main thing is being an antioxidant. You can take it as a supplement or slather it on your skin, it works both ways. A mouse skin study from 2012 found that a liposomal Astaxanthin formula prevented UV‐induced skin damage in multiple ways: UV-induced skin thickening, collagen reduction, and melanin formation were all hindered or prevented when the skin was pretreated with the Astaxanthin formula.
Another study from 2012 examined the cosmetic benefits of Astaxanthin and found that combining oral supplementation (6mg/day) and topical application for 8 weeks in 30 volunteers showed improvements in skin wrinkle (crow’s feet), age spot size (cheek), elasticity (crow’s feet), skin texture (cheek) and moisture content of the skin (cheek). If that would not be enough, a 2017 mouse study found our carotenoid molecule to be effective in speeding up wound healing.
Overall, Astaxanthin is an up and coming antioxidant nice to spot on any ingredient list.
Show me some proof
- Hama, Susumu, et al. "Protective effects of topical application of a poorly soluble antioxidant astaxanthin liposomal formulation on ultraviolet‐induced skin damage." Journal of pharmaceutical sciences 101.8 (2012): 2909-2916.
- Tominaga, Kumi, et al. "Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans subjects." Acta Biochimica Polonica 59.1 (2012).
- Meephansan, Jitlada, et al. "Effect of astaxanthin on cutaneous wound healing." Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology 10 (2017): 259.
- Suganuma, Kaoru, et al. "Astaxanthin attenuates the UVA-induced up-regulation of matrix-metalloproteinase-1 and skin fibroblast elastase in human dermal fibroblasts." Journal of dermatological science 58.2 (2010): 136-142.