The last Tuesday marked the official beginning of summer in the northern hemisphere, also known as the summer solstice. Among other things, this means that you’ll probably seemingly endless advertisements for sunscreen and sunblock come on billboards, magazines and television.
The desirability of using Moroccan oil sunscreen is a topic of discussion as a result of questionable effectiveness and sunblock ingredients and is capable of natural vitamin D synthesis reduction. This lack of consistency confuses many. But there is also good that can come from. Cosmetic companies are constantly trying to secure resources to effectively protect against photo-aging effects of UV radiation to find. In some cases, this trip leads them in a natural way. Herb and legume extracts, ranging from Ginkgo biloba to soy isoflavones now common on the labels of current formulas with extra sun protection components. In fact, some of this “holistic” ingredients often used as outlets in those ads. But something you’re probably not find in most advertisements is an indication of the role that nutrition can play in keeping your skin against the sun.
The health of your skin is largely a reflection of your overall wellness. Genes certainly play a role. However, your genetic makeup has no more influence on the skin than any other area of your body. Cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity are likely parallels in that they all carry genetic influences, but also respond remarkably well to the natural interventions such as dietary changes, exercise, adequate sleep and stress management. Your largest organ, the skin is no different.
Increasing your consumption of omega-3 fatty acids is the first place to start if you’re looking for internal photoprotection. Fatty acids, especially in fish, DHA and EPA, reducing the inflammatory response to UV radiation and prevent its immunological suppression. What’s more, fish oil supplementation (4 g / d) protect the skin against cancer on a genetic level. It is less certain whether plant-based omega-3 fatty acids such as alpha-linolenic offer the same protective effect. My personal choice of food in the omega-3/skin department is wild salmon. It not only provides an excellent source of DHA and EPA, but also contains a powerful antioxidant known as astaxanthin, which provides additional protection against phototoxicity.
Astaxanthin belongs to a class of colorful phytochemicals called carotenoids, which forms a kind of natural sunscreen within the epidermis or outer layer of skin. Of all known carotenoids, lycopene seems most common in the skin and the most protection against the harmful effects of UV radiation. Cooked tomato-based foods are the best source of this red pigment that is documented as making the skin less sensitive to exposure to the sun. The conclusion of a study summarized thusly the role of lycopene and other carotenoids, “Dietary carotenoids contribute to lifelong protection against harmful UV radiation.”
As far as drinks go, green tea tops the list of natural photoprotectants. The June 2011 issue of the Journal of Nutrition reports that supplementing with green tea polyphenols (GTP) at a dose of 1402 mg per day, experimental UV-induced erythema or redness of the skin decreases by 25%. Other “skin structural characteristics that were positively affected include elasticity, roughness, scale, density and water homeostasis.” The authors of the study should be noted that a separate study by using a lower dose of GTPs resulted in an improved blood circulation or the microcirculation of the skin. Green tea intake appears to many of its dermatological benefits to be exercised through the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. Another positive feature of green tea extract is that it advocates with skin cancer development process by counteracting photoimmunosuppression and promotes the recovery of DNA.
If green tea is not your ‘cup of tea, perhaps you should consider a glass of malbec, pinot noir and syrah. Preliminary data suggest that red wine consumption and extend the amount of time you can spend in the sun for you “burn”. A German study in January 2009 reported that the use of local wine in the form of “wine bath” is contagious as a protection against UVB damage. However, the consumption of red wine with a high content of polyphenols of natural allowed a high degree of UV protection, as indicated by a reaction of the skin test known as the “minimum erythema dose” or MED. Animal and in vitro studies tend to be the only human study I just referred to support. Some researchers believe that two antioxidants present in red wine, Myricetin and resveratrol, the key to the chemopreventive properties and photoprotective mechanisms alluded to in the scientific literature.
My last suggestion seems too good to be true, but it is not. Eating a daily portion of the non-alkaline or non-Dutched dark chocolate not only protects the skin from the harmful effects of UV rays, but also increases blood flow and oxygen saturation. The results of these changes the hydration and an improvement of thickness. A decrease in skin roughness and scaling were also detected in a 12-week study. To get these benefits and more, opt for real dark chocolate with a cocoa content of at least 70%. Two of the studies I reviewed used a cocoa product contains 329 mg of flavanols per serving. This can be approximated by making a strong cup of hot chocolate self-made with the aid of pure, organic cocoa powder. At home I add three carcasses tablespoons cocoa in a mug and sprinkle in a small organic cinnamon, salt and stevia. Add warm water, milk or cream, stir and enjoy.
In all honesty, I have a sunscreen or block in use for many years, although I naturally light skin, I just do not burn as I used to. It does not matter where we travel or how much time I spend outside. My fervent belief is that my food diet and individualized supplementation are the reasons for this welcome change. That does not mean that I regularly sunbathe or go out of my way outside to exercise during peak hours of the day. I’m not recommending that anyone follow my example in preventing sunburn. This is a personal decision to be made in conjunction with your health care team. But no matter what you decide with respect to current skin care, you would do well to harness the power of antioxidants and omega-3 rich foods as part of a comprehensive approach to skin care during the summer months, and beyond.