Overexposure to sunlight can have devastating effects on human skin. From minor sunburns to melanoma skin cancer, spending too much time in the sun can result in everything from discomfort to fatal disease. For this reason, preventing overexposure to sunlight has been at the forefront of peoples’ minds for years. Though staying out of the sun entirely is not an option for most individuals, utilizing sunscreen can drastically reduce the effects of direct sunlight. Astaxanthin, an antioxidant, has been indicated as a naturally occurring skin protector that can minimize the damage caused by the sun’s rays.
Astaxanthin is a member of the carotenoid family, which is a group of plant chemicals that are used by many species of flora to ward off damaging effects of the sun. A natural sunscreen, astaxanthin has been protecting plants for thousands of years. Astaxanthin is also present in the many animals that eat plants, especially algae. These animals include mostly seafood, such as salmon, shrimp, crab, and lobster, but also include flamingos.
Unfortunately for humans, simply consuming foods rich in astaxanthin is not enough to prevent sunburn; however, taking the antioxidant as a dietary supplement in pill form may be beneficial. As a powerful substance that can infiltrate every part of the body (cells, brain, nervous system, eyes, organs, and skin), astaxanthin can cross the blood-brain barrier, infiltrate the blood stream, and provide benefits to every cell in the human body.
But how does this antioxidant prevent sunburn, specifically? The sun’s rays damage the skin through free radicals, which are also responsible for causing premature signs of aging and some cancers. Counteracting the activities of free radicals with antioxidants is important in preventing damage, such as sunburn, and astaxanthin is one of the most powerful antioxidants in the body.
Building up enough astaxanthin to effectively prevent sun damage may take several weeks, prompting many people to rely upon over-the-counter sunscreens; however, the over-the-counter brands contain a great deal of harmful chemicals and also cause free radical damage, among other things. This is one of the many cases where products that are meant to protect the body cause just as much harm, if not more, than the damage they are meant to avoid.
Astaxanthin is a proven natural preventative of sunburn, but it is not yet evident how much of the antioxidant needs to be present in the body to provide reliable protection. Additionally, there is no way to be sure of the levels that your body contains. Taking a natural astaxanthin supplement will certainly improve the body’s ability to prevent sunburn, but if you decide to utilize this method of sun protection, be sure that you pay attention to the supplements you take and the amount of time you stay in the sun to gauge how long you will remain safe from sunburn.
For anyone that is looking for natural protection against sunburns, astaxanthin is a great alternative to the chemical-laden products that are sold in many stores. The benefits of this supplement are clear; however, if you do implement it into your dietary routine, be sure to pay close attention to your sun exposure to develop an understanding of how long your antioxidant levels can keep you safe.
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