Natural astaxanthin – the red diamond amongst antioxidants – An efficient antioxidant that provides biological cell protection against light-induced skin damage


BDI-BioLife Science, Raaba-Grambach, Austria


Exposure to solar radiation is a major cause of physiological skin damage by promoting the formation of free radicals and triggering oxidative stress. Harmful UV irradiation leads to inflammation, accelerated skin ageing and malignant skin disease. Therefore, we need to protect our outermost barrier from harmful solar radiation to reduce light-induced skin changes.
Astaxanthin, a naturally occurring reddish pigment derived from the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis, is considered the most powerful natural antioxidant with no pro-oxidant or phototoxic character, highly effective in counteracting reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Numerous studies have shown astaxanthin’s positive effect on human skin. Due to its high antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it supports the skin’s oxidative balance, inhibits inflammatory processes and provides natural protection of the human skin against a negative impact of UV rays. Furthermore, astaxanthin supports the skin’s biological cell protection against light-induced damage without providing a sun protection factor (SPF).

Human skin, our body’s outermost protective barrier, is constantly exposed to an environment that promotes oxidation. Sunlight with its invasive UV and visual rays is particularly stressful for the skin. In the short term, light-induced oxidative stress leads to skin damage in the form of redness (erythema) and inflammation. In the long term, accelerated ageing processes and serious consequences for the health of our skin, including skin cancer, are the result. Whenever our skin is exposed to intense photoradiation, changes occur in certain molecules within the body leading to the formation of various highly reactive oxygen species (ROS) and free radicals which cause oxidative stress (Figure 1) (1).


When ROS attack cell membranes, they activate enzymes that lead to cell death, changes in skin appearance and the onset of active skin ageing processes. They can also interfere with DNA and trigger a series of cellular processes that may induce inflammation. This leads to a chain reaction causing various cell changes, including the destruction of collagen and other molecules that are vital for skin elasticity, ultimately ...