Protective effects of astaxanthin on skin: Recent scientific evidence, possible mechanisms, and potential indications

J Cosmet Dermatol. 2020 Jan;19(1):22-27. doi: 10.1111/jocd.13019. Epub 2019 May 29.


Astaxanthin is a naturally occurring ketocarotenoid which has been found to have numerous biological functions, with its strong antioxidant property being the prominent feature. The compound has attracted a great amount of interest with respect to its potential utilization in the betterment of human health. In the recent past, astaxanthin has been extensively studied with respect to its possible effect on skin health, with positive results. Astaxanthin has also shown to have anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and DNA repair properties, which have further encouraged its usage to maintain skin health and tackle skin damage. In this review article, we highlight the pharmacokinetic profile of the antioxidant in brief and describe the findings of various recent published research articles which studied the effect of astaxanthin in improvement of skin health. We also mention the possible mechanisms which form the basis of the positive dermatological effects of astaxanthin and the potential indications of the antioxidant molecule in cosmetology and dermatology.

Keywords: aesthetic dermatology; aging; antioxidant; cosmetology; dermatology; dry skin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / pharmacokinetics
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Cosmetic Techniques*
  • DNA Damage / radiation effects
  • DNA Repair / drug effects
  • Elasticity / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Skin / drug effects*
  • Skin / metabolism
  • Skin / radiation effects
  • Skin Aging / drug effects
  • Skin Aging / radiation effects
  • Ultraviolet Rays / adverse effects
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage
  • Xanthophylls / pharmacokinetics


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine