Zeaxanthin shows skin health benefits from within: Study

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

© iStock
© iStock

Related tags Dietary supplement

Dietary supplements of the carotenoid zeaxanthin with sea buckthorn fruit oil and wheat ceramides may reduce wrinkles in women, says a new study.

Data published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology​ also indicated that combining the supplements with a topical cream led to superior hydration compared with a placebo.

“Superior hydration has been shown to improve the appearance of facial lines and wrinkles,” ​wrote the researchers, led by Steve Schwartz from International Research Services, Inc. (IRSI), a clinical research organization in Port Chester, NY. “Therefore, it is not surprising that the combined dietary supplement and topical serum had significant improvements in both fine lines and emerging lines supported by hydrating effect and the skin being plumped with the topical serum resulting in smoother less textured (rough) skin.

“However, the dietary supplement alone improved wrinkle count and severity, a composite measure of deep lines, wrinkle length, and wrinkle width; this may be due to the protective effects of the dietary supplement compound, as the actual numbers improved slightly and the difference became apparent in the worsening of the placebo group.”


Commonly associated with lutein for eye health products, zeaxanthin is a xanthophyll carotenoid found at high levels in the central macula part of the retina in the eye. The compounds protects the eye from damaging blue light by acting as an antioxidant to prevent free radical damage.

Zeaxanthin may also protect against the damaging effects of UV light on the skin, although the scientific literature is inconclusive.

For the new study, the researchers tested the effects of zeaxanthin combined with sea buckthorn fruit oil, wheat ceramides, alpha lipoic acid, green tea, red clover leaf, gotu kola seed, maritime pine bark, and vitamins C, E, and D3 with or without a topical skin therapy in women with an average age of 60. Women were divided into three groups: Placebo, supplements only, or supplements plus topical for 12 weeks.

Results showed that, for the 31 women who completed the study, statistically significant improvements from baseline levels were observed for both supplement groups with respect to hydration scores but there were no statistically significant differences with the placebo group.

Differences with the placebo group were observed for total wrinkle count after four weeks of study only for the supplement plus topical group, added the researchers.

Both active groups did show a statistically significant difference from baseline scores for average wrinkle severity at week 12, compared to placebo.

“We have shown that the combination of zeaxanthin-based dietary supplement plus a topical formulation produces superior hydration to that of placebo,” ​wrote the authors. “Additionally, we have shown that the combination of oral and topical combination vs. oral alone has superior abilities to improve parameters associated with facial lines and wrinkles compared to placebo, although the dietary supplement alone proved most effective in reducing wrinkle count and severity.

“Although this study was somewhat underpowered to show differences between the combination of oral supplementation with topical treatments and oral supplementation alone, several parameters were shown to be superior to placebo. Future studies should emphasize proper power analysis to differentiate oral use alone from combination therapy, although the antioxidant hypothesis is further supported by these data,”​ they concluded.



Experts from Nutrilite/Amway, Atrium Innovations, Unistraw and CosmeticsDesign-USA will discuss the science, market, and consumer expectations at the upcoming NutraIngredients-USA Anti-Aging Forum on July 28. For more information and to register for free, please click HERE​.

Source: Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/jocd.12226
“Zeaxanthin-based dietary supplement and topical serum improve hydration and reduce wrinkle count in female subjects”
Authors: S. Schwartz 

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