Did Astaxanthin Protect Me From A Bad Sunburn?

The results of 4 hours at the Montréal botanical gardens
The results of 4 hours at the Montréal botanical gardens

I did something really stupid while on vacation in Montréal last month. Luckily, I have been taking astaxanthin for about a year now and I think it prevented a severe sunburn.

I haven’t found a sunscreen yet that doesn’t have some corn derivative in it. So I had been going without and hoping for the best. Living in the southern part of the USA, that’s not the best plan. But, I don’t spend a lot of time outdoors and so far that’s worked for me.

I discovered astaxanthin last year and added it to my supplement routine because it’s such a powerful antioxidant. It comes from algae and it’s what causes salmon to be pink. It supposedly protects your skin and eyes from UV radiation. Until last month, I never really put it to the test to see if it worked.

The Stupid Thing I Did

I did everything wrong. I went to the Montréal Jardin Botanique (botanical gardens) at 10 AM and spent a fantastic four hours wandering the water gardens, rose gardens, very clever landscape sculptures, and on and on. That’s right. I was out in the summer sun during the hottest part of the day without sunscreen and no base tan.

As you see from the picture, I did get a little red on my shoulders and chest. That’s nothing compared to what I expected to happen. The redness never hurt and the next day it was tan.

What Worked in My Favor

  • The gardens had lots of shady spots so I wasn’t in direct sunlight the whole time. (So more like three hours instead of four hours. Snort!) As a southerner, its natural to gravitate to the shady whenever possible.
  • I’m no longer on medications that can increase sensitivity to the sun like birth control pills and blood pressure medication.
  • I’ve been taking astaxanthin for over a year.

Please don’t do what I did. If you can find a sunscreen that works for you, use it. Skin cancer is no joke. But if you decide to add astaxanthin to your routine, make sure you buy a natural algae-based one. There are many artificially-created astaxanthin supplements on the market that may do more harm than good.

Astaxanthin research

Over the next couple of weeks, I have more to share with you from my Montréal vacation:  allergy-friendly restaurants, and even a bakery, in both Montréal and Québec City.

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