[Global] They are the trendiest birds in the animal kingdom, appearing on an endless range of merchandise from sunglasses pool inflatables. And now the algae that gives flamingos their distinctive pink colour is being hailed as the latest wonder beauty ingredient.
Naturally-occurring carotenoid astaxanthin is found in the algae flamingos feast on, not only giving them their pink glow but also acting a key source of beneficial nutrients – and it’s currently taking the beauty world by storm.
Now experts say we should all be harnessing the power of pink by taking advantage of its endless beauty benefits, from skin to hair and even nails.
A highly powerful antioxidant, astaxanthin has been around for millions of years and it seems the beauty world is finally taking note, with sales of the stuff sky-rocketing.
A recent report from Research and Markets revealed the global astaxanthin market is expected to reach $2.57bnn (£1.96bn) by 2025 – most likely due to ‘an increase in the demand for cosmetics such as antiageing creams and antioxidant products for improving aesthetic appeal’.
‘Antioxidants have the action of slowing down free radical damage to the cells. As free radical damage is one of the principle mechanisms of aging, inhibiting these mechanisms can greatly reduce the overall aging process including aging of the skin, hair and nails.
‘According to studies Astaxanthin specifically improves skin elasticity and the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. It also seems to improve the moisture content in the skin.’
Supplement brands such as Jarrow, Nutrex and Life Extension also sell astaxanthin in pill form.
Famous fans: How stars have cottoned onto the trend
Astaxanthin’s anti-ageing benefits have long been making waves in celebrity circles; Heidi Klum and Gwyneth Paltrow are fans, while pop royalty Madonna claims her regular ‘salmon retoxes’ knock ’12 years off her age’.
But long astaxanthin went mainstream, one supplement brand racked up a waiting list of thousands, selling out within four hours when it went on sale in the UK in 2011.
As well as its pink properties, astaxanthin has been proven to significantly improve the skin’s health and appearance – with the potential to fight wrinkles, improve skin elasticity and possibly even protect from UV rays.
Think pink! Astaxanthin trend takes flight
Astaxanthin is already making waves on social media, with more than 100,000 uses of the hashtag on Instagram as bloggers and beauty buffs take note of its health benefits.
Holland & Barrett is the latest brand to jump on the bandwagon with their Pretty Gorgeous range, as their resident nutritionist Elizabeth Wall tells FEMAIL: ‘Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful antioxidant.
Meanwhile, clinical research has shown that taking astaxanthin significantly increases the amount of time people can stay in the sun before getting burned – making it a natural sunscreen of sorts.
While eating salmon is an easy source of astaxanthin, supplements are also available for those who don’t eat fish and can act as a powerful alternative.
Elizabeth adds: ‘There are studies that suggest that Astaxanthin [could be] used for treating conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, high cholesterol, and even eye problems such as age-related macular degeneration.
‘It is also thought to play a role in supporting the immune system. Research to support these uses is in its infancy however the early results are showing to be promising.’
Photo: Birds of a feather: The naturally-occurring carotenoid astaxanthin gives flamingos their pink glow, but acts a key source of nutrients – and it’s currently taking the beauty world by storm
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