Astaxanthin’s free-radical fighting power guards against skin aging
Given the rising number of cases of skin cancer, many of us are worried about skin health.
Skin is generally ground zero when it comes to interaction with free radicals, due to the frontline exposure to UV light-generated free radicals. UV light reddens skin into a sunburn, is responsible for wrinkled, worn out, and “aged-looking” skin, and even sets the stage for skin cancer.
But skin is not without its defenses, with antioxidants leading the charge. Upping intake of key antioxidant nutrients fortifies skin’s defenses against the sun. The more time spent in the sun, the more important this becomes because the skin’s supply of antioxidants is depleted during sun exposure.
Carotenoids, including astaxanthin, protect skin from photo-oxidative damage. In fact, astaxanthin can be more effective than beta-carotene and lutein at guarding against UV-light photo-oxidation of skin lipids. Astaxanthin has been shown to protect the skin from UV damage that would otherwise damage skin DNA.1
Research using human skin cells confirms that astaxanthin is more readily accumulated in the skin than the carotenoids beta-carotene or canthaxanthin.2 Furthermore, of the three carotenoids mentioned, astaxanthin also demonstrated superior photo-oxidative protection of human skin cells, which essentially counteracts UV-light damage.
Lyons NM, et al. Modulatory effects of an algal extract containing astaxanthin on UVA-irradiated cells in culture. J Derm Sci 2002;30(1):73-84.
Camera E, et al. Astaxanthin, canthaxanthin and beta-carotene differently affect UVA-induced oxidative damage and expression of oxidative stress-responsive enzymes. Exp Dermatol 2009;18(3):222-31.