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What Is Astaxanthin and Why Is It Better Than Vitamin C for Your Skin?


Astaxanthin (pronounced ast-ah-zan-thin) may be the new kid on the block, but it already boasts an impressive resume. It’s a powerful vegan active found in red algae that gives salmon, flamingos, and lobsters their gorgeous pink and red color, but some are calling it the most impressive antioxidant on the market. So, what is this free radical-fighting powerhouse ingredient and why should you put it on your skin?

1. It’s 100% Vegan and Cruelty-Free

First things first, let’s talk about how this antioxidant is not only good for skin, but good to animals and our planet. We all know that labeling ingredients “natural” and “clean” can sometimes be deceptive, but astaxanthin, when derived from microalgae, is completely vegan, sustainable and highly potent. In fact, the plant-sourced derivative is the most potent of all—it’s 20-30 times stronger than synthetic astaxanthin and far stronger than astaxanthin sourced from krill or salmon that feed on red algae and carry only traces of the skin-loving nutrient.

2. It’s a Sun Damage Defender

Red algae’s color actually comes from a defense mechanism that occurs when algae is exposed to harsh sunlight. Turns out, these same properties can defend our skin from the sun’s rays as well. A peer-reviewed study found that not only did astaxanthin aid in protecting skin from UV-induced damage and hyperpigmentation, it also improved skin barrier function, moisture, and texture.

3. It’s Giving Vitamin C a Run for Its Money

L-ascorbic acid, or Vitamin C as we know it, is a powerful antioxidant, but unfortunately, it’s not very stable and breaks down quickly when exposed to oxygen. To combat degrading potency, skincare formulators have turned to Vitamin C derivatives and, although not harmful to your skin, there isn’t a lot of research or evidence as to whether these derivatives can perform the same way as true l-ascorbic acid. Astaxanthin, however, is not only more stable, but was found in a clinical study to be 6,000 times stronger than vitamin C.

Vitamin C isn’t the only one with competition—astaxanthin is also 800 times stronger than CoQ10, 550 times stronger than green tea catechins and 75 times stronger than alpha lipoic acid.

4. It Promotes Youthful Circulation

Astaxanthin has been proven to increase blood flow, in turn increasing cell turnover, amplifying elasticity, and increasing water retention. That means smoother, more even, and bouncier skin for you. Just as vitamin C acts as a mild exfoliant and melanin production inhibitor to brighten skin, astaxanthin encourages new cells to come to the surface and shine—only, of course, 6,000 times better.

How You Can Add Astaxanthin to Your Skincare Routine

Thrive Causemetics® has kept a dedicated close eye on emerging research, and took notice when astaxanthin was scientifically proven to possess superior antioxidant benefits as both a supplement and used topically. Although this exciting new active ingredient isn’t saturating the skincare market yet, Thrive Causemetics® is pioneering the use of red algae-derived vegan astaxanthin by incorporating it throughout their entire first high-performance skincare line.

1. Bright Balance™ 3-in-1 Cleanser

The simplest way to incorporate astaxanthin into your skincare routine is with a cleanser. Thrive Causemetics®’ Bright Balance 3-in-1 Cleanser™ is a vegan, cruelty-free, ultra-moisturizing cleanser infused with astaxanthin to brighten skin and facilitate cell turnover while sloughing off the pollutants and grime of the day. It’s a gentle, yet powerful way to introduce astaxanthin to your skincare routine with some amazing pH balancing and brightening benefits on top.

2. Defying Gravity™ Transforming Moisturizer

Defying Gravity Transforming Moisturizer™ is a rich cream-to-gel moisturizer that creates a protective barrier for your skin (just like astaxanthin does for algae), enabling your skin to activate astaxanthin’s UV-protective qualities throughout the day under your makeup or to lock in the maximum amount of moisture overnight. It’s formulated with all-vegan ingredients like Vitamin E and Ferulic Acid, a combination known to boost the benefits of other antioxidant ingredients, making this a skin-changing, antioxidant-powered combination your skin will love.

3. Defying Gravity™ Eye Lifting Cream

If you’ve been on the lookout for a holy grail eye cream that can fight wrinkles and immediately lift, smooth and brighten the skin all around your eyes, look no further. Defying Gravity Eye Lifting Cream™ is packed with vegan astaxanthin to help your delicate eye skin retain moisture and elasticity all day with the added bonus of amazing antioxidant protection against environmental stressors. It’s also made with a plant-derived retinol alternative called Bio Power Retinol™ so you can target wrinkles during the day without all the irritation and photosensitivity traditional retinol causes. It’s a skincare game-changer!

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