Why Astaxanthin Is The Antioxidant To Help You Get Glowing, Young Skin*
We tend to talk about antioxidants as if they are a monolith. And sure, they are grouped together because these nutrients provide a similar function—that being neutralizing free radicals and therefore protecting your body from all the havoc those things cause—but the various antioxidants also provide additional benefits, and those come in a wide range.
So one way you can be smarter about supplements and your skin? Find the antioxidants that provide the most benefits specific to skin health. One astonishingly potent option: astaxanthin.* Here, we dive into why it's the antioxidant you should try for your skin care routine.*
Why astaxanthin & your skin are a perfect pair.
Astaxanthin is a carotenoid that helps protect your skin from damage, wrinkles, and other signs of aging when taken via supplementation.* It works so well for the skin for three very important reasons.
The first is that it's better suited to deal with UV damage. As any derm or skin care expert will tell you: Unprotected, prolonged sun exposure does a number on your skin. (Did you know 90% of visible skin damage1 can be attributed to sun exposure?) So one of the most effective ways to keep your skin looking young and healthy is to protect it from UV damage and manage the negative effects.
In fact, astaxanthin acts as almost an internal sunscreen (don't use this as an excuse to stop wearing actual sunscreen), blocking UVB ray damage and managing the resulting inflammatory response.* Studies show astaxanthin delays UV-exposure-induced damage2, which means fewer painful burns now and fewer wrinkles later.* Studies show this too: In a 16-week clinical trial3, participants who supplemented with astaxanthin saw improvements in skin elasticity, while those who did not supplement saw worsening wrinkles.* This research points to a potentially protective role of astaxanthin against sun-exposure-induced skin damage.*
Another area it helps with is oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is what happens when there are too many free radicals in the body—from UV damage, yes, but also environmental aggressors, inflammation, and many other things—and it's no longer able to deal with the buildup. Prolonged and chronic oxidative stress can lead to disease, cognitive decline, and visible signs of aging, like wrinkles4. Astaxanthin is known for being particularly effective at dealing with free radicals, thus stopping oxidative stress before it starts. It is known to be five times more potent than beta-carotene and a whopping 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C.*
Finally, astaxanthin has been shown in recent studies to enhance tone and vibrancy.* In one study, participants who took the antioxidant saw visible improvement5 in their skin's overall appearance, noting it looked brighter, younger, and more awake.
While all antioxidants are beneficial on some level for your body and overall health, there are skin-specific antioxidants you can utilize for glowing, healthy skin. Astaxanthin works wonders in this regard as it manages sun damage, enhances tone, and neutralizes oxidative stress, a main cause of premature aging.
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.