The skin plays many roles. It is a sensory organ that feels touch, pain, and temperature changes. It is a barrier that prevents water loss from the body, prevents harmful micro-organisms and materials from entering the body, and protects the body from harmful ultra-violet radiation from the sun. It cushions the body against bumps and shocks, and produces much-needed vitamin D. Since it is exposed to the environment, it suffers a lot from loss of moisture, irritation, allergic reactions, extreme heat, cold weather, and disease. It is therefore very important to keep it healthy. Expensive creams might help but the real secret to healthy skin may lie in astaxanthin, a compound that is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.