Carotenoids For Skin Health

Our skin is our body’s great multitasker and top-notch bodyguard which has been so good to us all these years. It’s protected us from bacteria, turned the sun’s rays into vitamin D and made sure that we knew to move our fingers when we accidentally touched a hot stove (Ref. 1).

Given all that your skin has done for us, maybe it’s time we do something really special for it.

As our body’s largest organ, the skin reaps a wealth of benefits from the right nutrients, and in turn, rewards us by looking absolutely fantastic.

Skin especially likes members of the carotenoid family, which are packed with antioxidants that fight free radicals that attack skin cells.

Adding foods packed with these powerful antioxidants to our diets and adding carotenoid-rich skincare products to your regime is one of the best things we can do for our busy, hard-working skin.

Top-notch antioxidants

Carotenoids are antioxidants, and powerful ones.

While the most common skin-friendly antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E, the 600-plus members of the carotenoid family are also skin supporters, and include beta-carotene (found primarily in orange veggies), lycopene (a key component of tomatoes), lutein (found in leafy greens), zeaxanthin (found in yellow veggies such as capsicum and saffron) as well as a variety of enzymes and flavonoids, including selenium and the power-packed coenzyme Q10. (Ref. 2)

When it comes down to it, carotenoids are powerful free radical scavengers in our bodies, which keep skin healthy and also young, according to scientists.

Could carotenoids be the secret to anti-aging?

In a 2011 study from Germany, researchers found that those with higher levels of carotenoids in their skin looked younger than those who had low levels of antioxidants. (Ref. 3)

“It could be demonstrated that premature skin aging was less in people with a high level of antioxidants in their tissue,” researchers said. “Consequently, the furrows and wrinkles were not so deep and dense as in the skin of individuals with a low antioxidant level. The measurements are highly suited for the development of anti-aging strategies and can be efficiently used in the medical diagnostics and therapy control.”

So, that’s aging out the window! Well, not quite…but come on, we can all add a few extra fruits and veggies to our diets to fight aging! What else can carotenoids do?

Carotenoids in place of tanning?

Because of the dense colours found in carotenoid-rich foods, they can also act like a self-tanner of sorts, according to a study that was reported in The Guardian.

Assistant professor of psychology at Nottingham University's Malaysian campus, Ian Stephen, says eating a rainbow of colours – especially those with red, orange and purple hues – eventually gives skin a healthy glow similar to a light tan, but without time spent in the sun.

“Now we can say: ‘eat fruit and veg and you will look better in six to eight weeks,’” said Stephen. “Carotenoids are stored in fat under the skin. They are also secreted through the skin in serum, and are then reabsorbed into the top layer of the skin, bestowing that golden colour.” (Ref. 4)

“Many bird and fish species have colourful ornaments,” said Stephen in a separate interview. “These patches are biggest and brightest in the healthiest individuals; it is carotenoids that give these ornaments their bright colour.” (Ref. 5)

So that makes taking in carotenoids a no-brainer. But what about carotenoids from the outside in?

Skin loves carotenoids no matter how it gets them

There have been a variety of studies suggesting that topical applications of antioxidants and carotenoids do littleand are just a marketing tool to help products fly off shelves, however in proper formulations, antioxidants can transform your skin by erasing fine lines and dark spots, restoring skin’s strength and elasticity - giving you back that youthful glow you thought was gone forever.

Xtend-Life’s skincare range is packed with antioxidants, including members of the skin-friendly carotenoid family which have been chosen for their skin benefits.

The super antioxidants included are:

  • Astaxanthin. A natural antioxidant derived from algae, astaxanthin has proven benefits. According to a Japanese study, over an eight-week period, topically-applied astaxanthin helped improve the look of wrinkles around the eyes, age spots, skin elasticity and texture as well as moisture content. (Ref. 6) It has also been reported to have at least 100 times the antioxidant activity of beta-carotene and lutein, and more than 500 times the power of some vitamin E. Not only that, it helps fade the dark spots associated with UV-rays. (Ref. 2)
  • Nano-Lipobelle H EQ10. This very special ingredient offers ultra-small particles of skin-penetrable coenzyme Q10, which usually is unable to go beneath the skin’s surface so it offers little if any effect. In small particles, it can go beneath the skin’s surface to help fight free radicals and support skin cells.
  • Copherol. A natural form of vitamin E, copherol helps prevent the skin proteins collagen and elastin (which help keep skin taut, elastic and free from wrinkles) from breaking down. It also helps support healthy collagen levels, restoring your skin’s youthful look.

And while there are days when you’d rather settle in on the couch and eat snacks, the truth of the matter is that you will pay for it in myriad ways, including a lack of energy and lacklustre skin.

If you want to turn back the clock and restore your skin to a natural, beautiful, healthy glow, eating the right foods including fruit and veggies packed with antioxidants (especially carotenoids) and choosing products with similar benefits such as those from the Xtend-Life range will make all the beautiful difference. (Find out more about our Women's and Men's Skincare range).