Your Body’s Biggest OrganIt’s often been said, but it’s usually forgotten: Your skin is your biggest organ. Lots of people think of it as an inert piece of impermeable flesh, but it’s much more than that. For one thing, your skin let’s in about 60% of what it touches—which is why you need to be especially careful with those fancy chemical-laden skin creams with long ingredient lists. It’s an urban myth that your skin needs to breathe or you’ll die—call it the Goldfinger Legend, after a famous James Bond death scene. But that isn’t true. What is true is that your skin is full of pores, opening and closing, letting substances in, blocking them, or pushing them out. Your skin is less a plastic wrap around your body, and more a layer of sponge that tightens or loosens, depending on conditions. And, of course, your skin plays a huge role in regulating your body temperature, through sweat. But one of its most important functions is protecting all the rest of your organs from the outside world. That means everything from scraping against the branch of a tree, to stopping damaging UV rays from impacting the rest of your body. It’s that last part we’re most interested in today. As you probably know from countless skincare commercials,
The Best Skin Antioxidant AroundThere’s one supplement that dominates the competition, when it comes to antioxidant properties: astaxanthin. Astaxanthin is a carotenoid, like beta-carotene. It has a deep red color—in fact, astaxanthin gives a red tinge to foods rich in it, like shrimp and salmon. And it’s often fed to farm-raised shrimp and salmon to give them that familiar, pink color. Studies show that astaxanthin is unique in its antioxidant properties. It can either give or take electrons, to balance out free radicals (most chemicals can only do one or the other). And it can do so without becoming unbalanced itself. In other words—not only is it an
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