When we go on vacation, we usually try to stay somewhere with a kitchen or kitchenette. On the first day we arrive, we will head to the grocery store and buy snacks, water, and breakfast foods. This is usually when I find myself also purchasing green tea and V8. Not the most delicious sounding options, but we are typically out in the sun on vacation and I need to protect my skin as best as I can.
Skin damage comes primarily when an individual has intense sun exposure for a period of time. The closer you are to the equator, the stronger the sun’s rays will be. Not getting enough sun can be just as damaging as getting too much sun. Chronic low level sun exposure will actually increase your skin’s protective mechanisms.
Good health, including skin health, comes from the inside. Eating the right foods and/or taking the right supplements can help protect your skin and decrease your risk of sun damage. Some of the most popular nutrients are: astaxanthin, lycopene, beta carotene, vitamins D and E, and EGCG.
Nutrients That Protect Your Skin From The Sun
Astaxanthin is an algae that protects itself from UV radiation when its water supply dries up. Its survival mechanism is the exact thing that you need to help protect your body from the too much UV exposure. This is usually found as a supplement.
Lycopene is also very protective for the skin. Eating sun dried tomatoes or tomato paste will increase your levels of lycopene.
Carrots and sweet potatoes are loaded with beta carotene. Research studies have shown that beta carotene helps protect your skin from the harmful effects of UV radiation.
Vitamin D also protects your skin as well as improves your overall health. The best source of vitamin D is through limited sun exposure, primarily before 10:00am or after 2:00pm.
Vitamin E can be found in supplement form, but be careful as a lot of supplements have been know to have some toxicities. Food sources that are high in vitamin E include: wheat germ oil, sunflower seeds, and almonds.
Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) is an antioxidant that has been known to prevent damage to skin cells. Green tea has high quantities of EGCG. Add a splash of lemon juice to the tea and you will increase its antioxidant levels tremendously.
Getting out in the sun is beneficial to your health. Make sure to limit your sun exposure and use these nutrients to help protect your skin. Enjoy your summer!
Dr Spencer Charlet