The carotenoid astaxanthin is a freshwater algae extract used in supplements, functional foods and drinks, and cosmetics. It possesses antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, the latter of which is said to help inhibit wrinkles and dryness in the skin.
Using AstaReal’s natural asaxanthin, researchers sought to evaluate its anti-inflammatory effects on skin deterioration via a combined in vivo and in vivo 16-week clinical trial involving 65 female subjects between the ages of 35 and 60.
The trial was conducted in Japan between August and December (considered to be the period with most adverse seasonal conditions for skin), during which “changing environmental factors, such as UV and dryness, exacerbate skin deterioration”.
The participants were randomly divided into three groups: those in the high-dose group each received 12mg oral dose of astaxanthin a day, those in the low-dose group received 6mg daily, and those in the control group received a daily placebo.
The study subsequently found that astaxanthin supplementation protected skin from the overall damage — accelerated aging in particular — caused by strong UV rays during summer and lower humidity levels during autumn and winter
It further explained that astaxanthin inhibited inflammatory cytokine secretion in skin cells that had been exposed to UVB irradiation.
This was in line with previous clinical study results that had demonstrated astaxanthin’s positive effects against seasonal wrinkles and the reduction of skin moisture and elasticity.
Additionally, it was observed that although “skin moisture content and deep wrinkles were not significantly changed in the astaxanthin-supplemented groups…these parameters significantly worsened in the placebo group during the study period”.
Earlier studies by the AstaReal Group had also found its astaxanthin to be able to improve the skin’s elasticity, texture, moisture content, and sebum production, as well as to retard the development of wrinkles and fine lines, and to reduce age spots and trans-epidermal water loss.
Safety and supplementation
The study stated that “no adverse events were observed” even in the high-dose astaxanthin group after 16 weeks, confirming the “long-term safety of astaxanthin as an oral supplement”.
The researchers therefore concluded that the anti-inflammatory effects of long-term prophylactic astaxanthin supplementation might slow down age-related skin deterioration, as well as skin conditions related to environmentally induced damage.
Source: Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition
“Protective effects of astaxanthin on skin deterioration”
Authors: Kumi Tominaga, et al.