How Astaxanthin Supports & Preserves Your Collagen Layer*
In skin care there are a few goals we hold above all else: strengthen the skin barrier function, reduce exposure to stressors (looking at you, pollution and UV rays), and preserve your natural reserves of collagen. And to achieve these goals, we enlist a trove of ingredients, both topical and supplemental. For the barrier, for example, look for ingredients that feed the skin's moisture layer and the skin microbiome, such as biotic ingredients, botanical oils, fatty acids, and lipids. For reducing exposure to stressors, SPFs take the lead. And for preserving the collagen layer, we adore collagen-promoting actives and collagen-defending antioxidants.*
On that later point, one antioxidant is particularly useful: Astaxanthin. Here, how this red-hued wonder ingredient supports your collagen from the inside out.*
How this antioxidant supplement preserves your collagen layer.
So first up, you should ensure you're feeding your body all the nutrients it needs to support your natural supply of collagen. Collagen supplements are made with collagen peptides, which are able to support skin elasticity and dermal collagen density1.* How? Well hydrolyzed collagen peptides have been shown to help promote your body's natural production of collagen2 and other molecules that make up the skin, like elastin and fibrillin.*
But production is all for naught if you're not taking active steps at preservation. That's where this antioxidant comes in. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid phytonutrient and potent antioxidant clinically shown to protect skin cells and help preserve the collagen layer3, as it has stellar photoprotective and anti-inflammatory properties.* All you need to know about astaxanthin's antioxidant properties are in the numbers: It's five times more potent than beta-carotene and a whopping 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C.*
Although, we must note a very important caveat that's often misunderstood: Even if these other antioxidants don't have as much free-radical-fighting power—they're hugely beneficial for other reasons. For example, vitamin C is directly involved in the collagen synthesis process—so it's a necessary part of any skin care routine and diet.
But back to the carotenoid and its role in collagen preservation. Studies show it delays UV-exposure-induced4 signs of aging, which means more stable collagen and fewer wrinkles later.* Additionally, in a 16-week clinical trial5 of AstaReal®, a specific brand of premium algal astaxanthin, participants who supplemented with astaxanthin saw improvements in skin elasticity, while those who did not supplement saw worsening wrinkles.* Pretty impressive, huh?
Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.