srch srch

Astaxanthin – slowing down aging skin, naturally

Monday September 28, 2020
Astaxanthin – slowing down aging skin, naturally

As we grow older, we notice our body may become challenged by age and the skin is no exception. The appearance of wrinkles, age spots and loss of skin moisture are just some of the commonly experienced conditions. The skin is the first line of defence for keeping our bodies safe from external stresses and chief among them are ultraviolet (UV) rays, radiation, chemical stress, and bacterial infection 1. Whilst we cannot stop this process, research has revealed that a powerful antioxidant called astaxanthin may hold the key to slowing down premature aging and supporting other skin related health issues.  

What is astaxanthin?

Astaxanthin is a red pigment which belongs to a group of carotenoids, usually found in salmon, algae and crustaceans. Astaxanthin exerts powerful antioxidant activity and unique molecular and biochemical messenger properties with benefits in treating and preventing skin disease. Carotenoids have been widely researched for their benefits in areas of health including the ageing process and chronic disease due to their antioxidant properties. Consuming astaxanthin through food or supplementing in the diet has shown to help inhibit premature ageing2.

Sources of astaxanthin

If you enjoy eating fish, then you will for sure be getting your dose of astaxanthin. The main source of astaxanthin intake from food is from seafood. Wild sockeye salmon, red trout, crab, shrimp, crayfish and krill oil are all common sources for astaxanthin2 3. But what are the plant-based alternatives? Well it just so happens that Haematococcus pluvialis is the richest source of natural astaxanthin, well known for their high carotenoid content. This fresh water sourced green microalga collects large amounts of astaxanthin under specific stress conditions including high salinity, nitrogen deficiency, exposure to high temperature and sun light3.

What do the studies show?

Studies have shown us how when supplementing with astaxanthin its benefits on skin components. Continuous consumption of astaxanthin over a four-week period improved aging-related changes of residual skin surface components (RSSC); malondialdehyde, also known as MDA which is a highly reactive compound that causes toxic stress in cells, was also measured.

The study involved 31 middle-aged participants who received 4-mg daily doses of astaxanthin. This particular study resulted in decreased plasma levels of MDA by 11.2% on day 15 and by 21.7% on day 29. The RSSC samples had decreased levels of skin peeling and microbial presence at the end of the study2

A study was conducted on 65 healthy female subjects over a 16-week period to determine the effects of oral astaxanthin supplementation (6 or 12mg) on skin integrity. Results found pre- and post-treatment with astaxanthin dose-dependently decreased the secretion of inflammatory cytokine - a type of cytokine is a signalling molecule which is secreted from immune cells and promotes inflammation2.

Furthermore, two trials investigating the effects of astaxanthin on skin showed positive results. The first study conducted over an 8-week period involved 30 healthy female participants, they were given 6mg of astaxanthin supplementation daily and displayed improvements in skin wrinkles, age spot size and skin moisture. In the second investigation 36 males observed beneficial effects of 6mg astaxanthin supplementation on skin moisture and elasticity4.


Overall, research data on astaxanthin is encouraging and shows powerful antioxidant effects that reduce markers of oxidative damage, inflammation and skin appearance. By taking a nutritional approach, the research shows consuming astaxanthin may help skin health from within.

When considering supplementing with astaxanthin, always read the label and check the source – ensure it is from the highest concentration of natural astaxanthin. Choose supplements which contain 100% active ingredients – no binders or fillers - and the required therapeutic levels, as this can vary.

Visit your local health store for more details, help and support. Find your nearest one by

Author: Rupinder Dhanjal is a Technical Advisor at Viridian Nutrition. She holds a BSc in Nutrition and Health.

Related articles:

 Skin Age Factors


 More on Skin Health



1 Park, K (2015) Role of Micronutrients in Skin Health and Function. Biomolecules and Therapeutics 23 (3), pg 207 – 217. [online] available from: Last assessed [03/08/2020]


2 Davinelli, S (2018) Astaxanthin in Skin Health, Repair, and Disease: A Comprehensive Review. Nutrients 10 (4), pg 522. [online] available from: Last assessed [03/08/2020]


3 Ambati, R et al (2014) Astaxanthin: Sources, Extraction, Stability, Biological Activities and Its Commercial Applications – A review. Marine Drugs 12 (1), pg 128-152. [online] available from: Last assessed [03/08/2020]


4 Tominaga K, Hongo N, Karato M, Yamashita E. (2012) Cosmetic benefits of astaxanthin on humans’ subjects. Acta Biochim Pol. 2012;59(1):43-7. Epub 2012 Mar 17.

The information contained in this article is not intended to treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a health practitioner. Please consult a qualified health practitioner if you have a pre-existing health condition or are currently taking medication. Food supplements should not be used as a substitute for a varied and balanced diet.


TAGS: NewsAstaxanthin, Skin, Skin Health


Back To Top

The Leading Brand of ethical vitamins