The Protective Role of Astaxanthin for UV-Induced Skin Deterioration in Healthy People-A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Nutrients. 2018 Jun 25;10(7):817. doi: 10.3390/nu10070817.


Skin is a major safeguard tissue in humans. Because biological barrier function is deteriorated by several kinds of stresses including exposure to ultra-violet (UV) rays, the protection and treatment of skin conditions by dietary supplements are important. We therefore evaluated the effects of dietary supplementation with an algal food-derived antioxidant, astaxanthin, on UV-induced skin deterioration. Twenty-three healthy Japanese participants were recruited to a 10-week double-blind placebo-controlled study. They were assigned to the astaxanthin group supplemented with a capsule containing 4 mg of astaxanthin or the placebo group. To assess the protective role of astaxanthin for UV-induced skin deterioration, we determined the minimal erythema dose (MED) and analyzed UV-induced changes of moisture and transepidermal water loss (TEWL) at baseline and after 9 weeks of supplementation. Subjective skin conditions were assessed by the visual analog scale. The astaxanthin group showed increased MED compared with placebo. In addition, the astaxanthin group had a reduced loss of skin moisture in the irradiated area compared with placebo. Subjective skin conditions for “improvement of rough skin” and “texture” in non-irradiated areas were significantly improved by astaxanthin. Astaxanthin seems protective against UV-induced skin deterioration and helps maintain healthy skin in healthy people.

Keywords: MED; UV; antioxidant; astaxanthin; moisture; skin; ultra-violet.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / adverse effects
  • Capsules
  • Dietary Supplements* / adverse effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Erythema / etiology
  • Erythema / pathology
  • Erythema / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / pathology
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects*
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Sunburn / etiology
  • Sunburn / pathology
  • Sunburn / prevention & control*
  • Sunscreening Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Sunscreening Agents / adverse effects
  • Time Factors
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects*
  • Water Loss, Insensible / drug effects
  • Water Loss, Insensible / radiation effects
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage
  • Xanthophylls / adverse effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Capsules
  • Sunscreening Agents
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine