Astaxanthin Delivery Systems for Skin Application: A Review

Mar Drugs. 2021 Sep 9;19(9):511. doi: 10.3390/md19090511.


Astaxanthin (AST) is a biomolecule known for its powerful antioxidant effect, which is considered of great importance in biochemical research and has great potential for application in cosmetics, as well as food products that are beneficial to human health and medicines. Unfortunately, its poor solubility in water, chemical instability, and low oral bioavailability make its applications in the cosmetic and pharmaceutical field a major challenge for the development of new products. To favor the search for alternatives to enhance and make possible the use of AST in formulations, this article aimed to review the scientific data on its application in delivery systems. The search was made in databases without time restriction, using keywords such as astaxanthin, delivery systems, skin, cosmetic, topical, and dermal. All delivery systems found, such as liposomes, particulate systems, inclusion complexes, emulsions, and films, presented peculiar advantages able to enhance AST properties, among which are stability, antioxidant potential, biological activities, and drug release. This survey showed that further studies are needed for the industrial development of new AST-containing cosmetics and topical formulations.

Keywords: astaxanthin; cosmetics; delivery system; drug release; drugs; skin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Cutaneous
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Aquatic Organisms
  • Cosmetics
  • Drug Compounding
  • Humans
  • Salmon
  • Xanthophylls / administration & dosage
  • Xanthophylls / chemistry


  • Antioxidants
  • Cosmetics
  • Xanthophylls
  • astaxanthine