A true elixir of youth for the skin? An antioxidant substance called astaxanthin, which, whether taken orally or applied topically, helps regenerate the skin and give it nourishment, elasticity and a fresher appearance ... This is what emerges from a very recent review that appeared in Nutrients magazine thanks to a collaboration between British and Australian teams (Zhou et al, Nutrients, Jul 2021).
Over the years the skin undergoes physiological aging. The problem, however, is when, to this normal aging, photo-aging is added due to damage induced by UV rays. Photoaging accelerates the aging processes and causes the appearance of premature wrinkles, dry and toneless skin.
Astaxanthin, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory
Astaxanthin is an antioxidant substance from the carotenoid family. Astaxanthin has shown an anti-aging and anti-inflammatory action on the tissues. This precious substance is found in krill oil, a shrimp that uses astaxanthin to protect itself from the sun's rays that are able to penetrate the waters where it lives. Nowadays it is also possible to find on the market supplements based on astaxanthin extracted from an alga, aematococcus pluvialis, probably the richest source of astaxanthin in the world. To understand the properties of astaxanthin against photo-aging, the scientists carried out a research comparing the results of 11 studies performed previously. Let's see what emerged.
Oral intake of astaxanthin
What emerged was that the oral intake of astaxanthin, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, actually contributed to preventing premature skin aging. In particular, supplementation with astaxanthin improved skin hydration and elasticity.
Topical application and oral intake, the perfect synergy
The combined action of oral astaxanthin, by far the most powerful method, and the topical application of this substance through cosmetics made it possible to reduce the depth of wrinkles. The mechanism of action is probably the following, as hypothesized by the researchers. The topical application of astaxanthin counteracts dry and dehydrated skin and this reduces the appearance of wrinkles and attenuates them if present. Instead, the oral intake of astaxanthin allows this substance to reach the bloodstream and hence stimulate the production of collagen, rejuvenating the skin.