Astaxanthin is a carotenoid (organic pigment) sourced from marine algae grown in warm waters. Most microalgae, when in their natural habitat, are green in color, but when the algae are exposed to the sun, they turn red, signaling that astaxanthin has been produced. In fact, seafood like lobster and shrimp become red because of the presence of astaxanthin, which protects the animals from UV rays.
Believed to be 500 times more powerful than vitamin E and nearly 6,000 times more potent than vitamin C, astaxanthin provides multiple skin benefits with regard to the sun and its damage. A super-antioxidant that's great for reducing inflammation, it acts as an intensive topical protector to preserve the skin so it doesn't age as quickly, while also helping to prevent sunburns and cancer.
Although it's not quite common as an ingredient yet, astaxanthin is slowly appearing in more supplements and skincare products like Perricone MD Cold Plasma.