Astaxanthin, a xanthophyll carotenoid, is a secondary metabolite naturally synthesized by a number of bacteria, microalgae, and yeasts. The commercial production of this pigment has traditionally been performed by chemical synthesis, but the microalga Haematococcus pluvialis appears to be the most promising source for its industrial biological production. Due to its collective diverse functions in skin biology, there is mounting evidence that astaxanthin possesses various health benefits and important nutraceutical applications in the field of dermatology. Although still debated, a range of potential mechanisms through which astaxanthin might exert its benefits on skin homeostasis have been proposed, including photoprotective, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects. This review summarizes the available data on the functional role of astaxanthin in skin physiology, outlines potential mechanisms involved in the response to astaxanthin, and highlights the potential clinical implications associated with its consumption.
Keywords: DNA repair; aging; anti-inflammatory; antioxidant; astaxanthin; clinical trials; immune-enhancing; skin; ultraviolet.