Your Skin does matter
How Astaxanthin fits in
Our body created ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species) - also known as free radicals, as a result of physiological processes.
During sunlight exposure, the number of free radicals increases as a byproduct from exposure to UV radiation. This can damage skin cells and cause wrinkles and loss of skin elasticity.
Astaxanthin helps reduce stress on the cell and scavenging free radicals. It allows proper physiological processes to occur and keep flexible healthy and moisturized skin.
Research have shown that Astaxanthin is also an effective absorber of specific ultraviolet sunlight radiation that can contribute to skin aging and cancer.
Sun exposure is responsible for most of the visible aging of the skin—far more than all other factors combined. UV rays from the sun are the primary cause of wrinkles, pigmentation, sun spots, reduced skin elasticity, the degradation of skin texture, and many other signs of skin aging. In fact, many scientific estimates have shown that up to 80-90% of how young or old you look for your age is due to how much sun exposure you’ve sustained. And this has been shown repeatedly, in different parts of the world, over many years and in many different clinical studies.
The results of the studies suggest that long-term Astaxanthin supplementation may “inhibit age-related skin deterioration and maintain skin conditions associated with environmentally induced damage via its anti-inflammatory effect.”
In 2002, a study was done in Japan. The women (median age of 40 years old) consumed 2mg of Astaxanthin and 40mg of Vitamin E per day for 4 weeks.
Both groups were inspected by dermatologists who didn't know which capsule their patients had received.
Women were measured objectively by standardized methods including dermatologist inspection, magnified skin surface inspection, skin moisture, sebum content, and a questionnaire.
After only 2 weeks of oral supplementation the women who consumed Astaxanthin showed improvement in almost every skin attribute measured. After 4 weeks there was even further improvement. Furthermore, the placebo group did not show improvement and actually tended to show decreases in skin measurements.
It is a powerful antioxidant that has a whole range of benefits - from helping defend your skin from the aging effects of the sun, to being a strong anti-inflammatory, to being protective for your eyes and healthy for your skin and body in general.
Positive Effects of Astaxanthin on Skin Health
Introduction to Astaxanthin:
Antioxidants categorize into specific families of carotenoids, polyphenols, flavonoids, and much more. Carotenoids are responsible for letting the food products have a bright hue or red or orange color. Moreover, carotenoids have a significant link with improved vision, cardiovascular system, and several other body systems. However, another marine-based carotene known as Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant found in salmon, crayfish, and shrimp abundantly. Astaxanthin (also known as carotenoid king) is likely to be five times stronger than the other beta carotene and carotenoids (1).
In the case of certain carotenoids, their high concentration can make them pro-oxidative, which makes them act against their protection from free radicals or oxygen species. It is not the case with Astaxanthin. High concentrations of Astaxanthin do not act as a pro-oxidative agent to protect the cells from damage.
Astaxanthin has several uses in different industries such as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, cosmetics, food, and agriculture. In the cosmetic industry, Astaxanthin is gaining recognition due to its exceptional benefits. The primary biosynthesis of Astaxanthin is from the phytoplankton, microalgae present in crustaceans, and zooplankton (2).
Astaxanthin’s mechanism of action for skin protection:
In human skin aging and cellular damage, oxidative stress has a significant role. The extrinsic and intrinsic factors for skin aging may include (3):
Chronological aging (physiological)
Exposure to UV (ultraviolet) rays coming from the sun
The generation of ROS (reactive oxygen species) is the most significant factor for aging in the formation of reactive oxygen species.
Oxidation of skin cells includes:
Increase inflammatory response
Less synthesis of anti-oxidants
Production of MMPs (matrix metalloproteinase) may degrade the elastin and collagen existing in the dermal layers of skin cells.
Mechanisms of skin aging are classified into photo aging and physiological changes. Skin aging causes skin elasticity degradation, age spots, and wrinkling. On the other hand, physiological changes result from a decrease in cellular metabolism (4).
Astaxanthin is a potent antioxidant with a unique biochemical and molecular messenger activity with important implications in preventing several skin diseases. According to the research studies, Astaxanthin is the highest-ranking antioxidant which has more capacity than β-carotene and canthaxanthin in the dermal fibroblasts of humans.
Benefits of Astaxanthin:
Protection against UV rays:
A tropical or oral consumption of Astaxanthin can act as a natural protectant against UV rays. Astaxanthin produces anti-oxidative activity in the dermis and epidermis of the skin to protect from the stimuli of UV rays. The primary outcome of Astaxanthin is protection, TEWL (transepidermal water loss), and the reduction in skin irritation.
Astaxanthin is the internal sunscreen for the body. A 4mg supplementation of Astaxanthin for 3-weeks can reduce the skin burn time due to sun exposure.
A dosage of 2mg can also show a significant improvement in the protective mechanism of Astaxanthin (5).
Protection against the UV rays gives two benefits in turn. At first, it protects against UV rays and then prevents DNA damage resulting from UV rays exposure. According to the study, Astaxanthin improves the repair of DNA in cells due to exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Moreover, it slows down the growth of cancer cells in the skin. DNA repair and cells regeneration can improve fine lines, skin elasticity, less appearance of freckles, and smoother skin surface (5,6).
Astaxanthin increases the concentration of immunoglobulin in body which can help in improving the immune system. Immunoglobulin can fight against several viruses, bacteria, and melanomas which protect the skin from damage (5,6).
Neutralization of ROS:
Particularly, Astaxanthin inhibits ROS formation (reactive oxygen species) and modulates the HO-1 (heme oxygenase) expression, an enzyme for oxidative stress response and marker of oxidative stress and damage. One vital way to reduce the concentration of ROS in the cells is with the help of tropical treatment. Several types of research show that (natural source of Astaxanthin) can penetrate deep into the skin cells and protect these layers from the damage of oxygen species (6).
Reactive oxygen species cause the lipid peroxidation of the skin’s top layer (stratum corneum), reducing skin barrier function. Astaxanthin holds the concentration of ROS in the layer of skin, reducing the loss of moisture. Natural Astaxanthin helps in reducing inflammation due to UVB through the NF-kB kinase-dependent pathway. Less stress on the skin is better for its health. By minimizing the ROS effects, astaxanthin assists in skin cells renewal. Too much concentration of ROS can break down the skin matrix and collagen, leading to elasticity loss and wrinkles formation. All these properties of Astaxanthin calm other skin conditions as eczema, wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Hypersensitivity, skin redness, tenderness, and skin inflammation are also preventable with Astaxanthin (6).
The vital benefits of Astaxanthin are the prevention of premature aging, wrinkling, and damage of skin cells due to its potent properties. Skin elasticity and collagen production also enhance as a response to the natural properties of Astaxanthin. Moreover, it intensely moisturizes for refreshingly hydrated skin. Astaxanthin is a unique antiaging supplement that smoothens and evens the skin tone for a renewed complexion.
The effective dosage of Astaxanthin:
The recommended topical dose of Astaxanthin for improved skin health is 0.035 to 0.047 mg per gram of the cream. If you take these supplementations orally, the dosages that can be beneficial are from 2-12 mg of Astaxanthin per day. According to one study, 6mg of Astaxanthin per day for 16 weeks can help in preventing seasonal changes and damages. However, a dosage of 12 mg per day can help reduce the inflammation markers present in the body as IL-1 alpha (interleukin one alpha) at the skin's surface (7).
Astaxanthin is 6000 times more powerful than vitamin E and vitamin C for neutralizing the effect of free radicals. Some of the significant antioxidants cannot reach the deep cell membranes of the body. Astaxanthin is a lipid that is a soluble nutrient (for both the water and lipids) and a perfect match for the membranes of the skin cells due to its unique structure (8).
Astaxanthin is a natural and potent carotenoid that has thousands of times more efficacy than other antioxidants. Astaxanthin is a water and fat-soluble compound that can reach all the targeted cells and the structures which other compounds can’t. Astaxanthin is available in cosmetic products as topical creams or oral forms as supplements crucial for skin health.
Huatian GE. Introduction of Astaxanthin [J]. Chemical Education. 2007;3.
Lambertsen G, Braekkan OR. Method of analysis of Astaxanthin and its occurrence in some marine products. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 1971 Feb;22(2):99-101.
Ekpe L, Inaku K, Ekpe V. Antioxidant effects of Astaxanthin in various diseases??? a review. Journal of Molecular Pathophysiology. 2018 Sep 26;7(1):1-6.
Kindlund PJ. Astaxanthin. Nutrafoods. 2011 Jan;10(1):27-31.
Singh KN, Patil S, Barkate H. Protective effects of Astaxanthin on skin: Recent scientific evidence, possible mechanisms, and potential indications. Journal of cosmetic dermatology. 2020 Jan;19(1):22-7.
Davinelli S, Nielsen ME, Scapagnini G. Astaxanthin in skin health, repair, and disease: A comprehensive review. Nutrients. 2018 Apr;10(4):522.
Ito N, Seki S, Ueda F. The protective role of Astaxanthin for UV-induced skin deterioration in healthy people—a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Nutrients. 2018 Jul;10(7):817.
Gürsoy K, Teymur H, Koca G, Isikçi ÖT, Demircan FB, Kankaya Y, Koçer U. The effect of astaxanthin on random pattern skin flaps. Annals of plastic surgery. 2020 Feb 1;84(2):208-15.