Astaxanthin in skin care

Astaxanthin in skin care

Our skin should be beautiful, firm and healthy. But weather influences, stress and natural aging can damage the skin and leave visible traces. To keep the skin fresh and intact for as long as possible, antioxidants can help beautify the skin’s appearance and keep it healthy. An extremely proven and versatile wonder drug in skin care is astaxanthin. What the natural substance from algae promises and how it can help as an ingredient in natural cosmetics to a smooth skin appearance, we reveal in this blog article.

What is astaxanthin and what can it do?

Astaxanthin is the most powerful natural antioxidant currently known. Research data show that the antioxidant effect of astaxanthin is 10 times stronger than that of beta-carotene and even up to 500 times higher than that of vitamin E. Moreover, it is one of the few antioxidants that cannot have a pro-oxidant effect, i.e. it does not form free radicals itself. It is therefore no wonder that astaxanthin enjoys great popularity.

Unlike other beta-carotenes, it acts as an effective free radical scavenger in intercellular spaces, inside the cell, and throughout the cell membrane. Astaxanthin is therefore not only used in skin care. The natural antioxidant is also very popular for inflammatory diseases, for strengthening the immune system, vision or brain function, and for physical (athletic) endurance (Fig.1).

Positive effects of natural astaxanthin
Fig.1: Positive effects of natural astaxanthin. © BDI-BioLife Science

How is astaxanthin produced?

Astaxanthin is a red pigment found in microalgae and is absorbed through the food chain by crustaceans and fish. It is the reason for the reddish coloration of crustaceans and salmon. Astaxanthin is produced from algae, especially green algae. For human use, astaxanthin is mostly extracted from the blood rain algae(Haematococcus pluvialis), which is known for its high astaxanthin content (Fig.2). Although there is also astaxanthin from synthetic production, the natural astaxanthin from algae is up to 55 times more potent.

Cultivation steps of astaxanthin
Fig.2: Cultivation steps of Haematococcus pluvialis. Phase 1: Growth phase. Phase 2: Formation of astaxanthin under the influence of light, CO2 & nutrients. Final product: dried biomass. © BDI-BioLife Science

Astaxanthin and its effect on the skin

The naturally derived substance brings significant benefits in natural skin care. The best known is the effect of astaxanthin as UV protection and as a natural miracle cure for wrinkles. Thanks to its special molecular structure, it contains both hydrophilic (water-loving) and lipophilic (fat-loving) parts. Due to this fact, astaxanthin is highly fat-soluble and can be used especially well in creams or oils on the skin.

Astaxanthin as natural UV protection – inside and outside

Sun protection is becoming increasingly important these days, because it is now known that there is hardly anything more damaging to the skin than too much UV radiation or even sunburn. Due to its strong antioxidant effect, astaxanthin can be used as a natural sunscreen. While astaxanthin cannot replace the UV filter, it can increase the effectiveness of applied sunscreen products. In addition, astaxanthin reduces the negative effects of excessive UV radiation, helps against the irritation of sensitive skin and soothes the inflammation of the skin caused by sunburn. This protective effect of astaxanthin against damage caused by solar radiation has already been proven by many studies. Astaxanthin thus helps to slow down the development of skin damage and aging of the skin due to UV exposure or to prevent this process.
Of course, the following still applies: only let the sun touch your skin in moderation.

The bottom line is that with the support of astaxanthin – from the inside as well as the outside – your skin won’t be as damaged by the sun and will stay healthier longer.

Laughing woman in the sun on the beach
Astaxanthin as natural UV protection – from inside and outside

Astaxanthin as a natural anti-aging agent

Wrinkles are mainly caused by oxidative damage to the skin. These can result from weather influences, such as excessive sunbathing, but also from natural aging or, for example, from smoking or a nutrient-poor, one-sided diet. As a result, the collagen framework in our skin becomes thinner and more fragile, losing the ability to keep our skin elastic and firm. In addition, our body’s ability to produce antioxidants, which it could actually produce itself, decreases with age.

Astaxanthin can prevent this process because it improves the function of mitochondria, which are the energy-producing power centers of our cells, and additionally has a good protective effect on fibroblasts, which are enormously important for the firmness and density of the skin. Thus, astaxanthin can not only protect skin cells from free radicals, but also maintain the natural collagen layer. As a result, astaxanthin has been shown to tighten and smooth the skin for a rejuvenated appearance.

Our tip: Since astaxanthin protects the cell membrane in a way that no other antioxidant can, it shows promising anti-wrinkle effects when taken as a dietary supplement or as an ingredient in applied cosmetics.

Astaxanthin – immune boost for skin and body

Our conclusion: Astaxanthin has not only been proven to increase the moisture content of the skin, but also provides improved skin elasticity. This can reduce fine lines and wrinkles. But the super active ingredient should not be reduced to its contribution to skin health: Astaxanthin is not only a natural UV protector and an effective means against the development of wrinkles, but as a versatile immune boost it is always helpful where our skin or our body needs the support of valuable antioxidants.

You will find astaxanthin in these PHYSTINE products:


Kindlund, PJ. Astaxanthin. Nutrafoods 10, 27-31 (2011). doi: 10.1007/BF03223352

Ahn E, Siebel M. Vital substances; apr2020, vol. 10 Issue 1, p31-35, 5p

Murray M. 2018

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