A little sunshine is good for us, stimulating the production of essential vitamin D in the skin. Too much sun however, is your skin’s worst enemy – UV rays are believed to be the single largest contributor to skin ageing. Protecting your skin from sun damage is therefore an important part of your health and beauty regime and surprisingly, certain foods can help with this.
Up the Antioxidants
Antioxidants act in a similar (but weaker) way to sunscreen – when the sun’s rays hit the skin, antioxidants in the body actually move up and form a protective shield like sunscreen! Several studies have shown that antioxidant supplements provide protection against UV rays and can even reduce sunburn.1-3 The effects are not instant, so this is something to build up several weeks before you go on holiday ideally.
Include plenty of antioxidant rich foods every day such as berries, fresh herbs, broccoli, beetroot, cacoa, grapes, plums and green tea. Beauty&Go contain MacroAntioxidants, which provide more powerful and longer-lasting antioxidant protection than you can get from normal foods, so include your daily drink.
Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant found in cooked tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, red peppers and mango, which research shows is especially beneficial. In one study, participants ate tomato paste for 12 weeks and after exposure to UV light, experienced 48% less reddening than those that didn’t.4 Include, at least one serving of lycopene-rich foods per day.
Beta-carotene and lutein are other antioxidants that are good for building-up natural protection against the sun.5-6 Beta-carotene is found in orange, yellow and dark green vegetables – carrots, cantaloupe melon, sweet potato, spinach and kale are good sources. Lutein is found in spinach, kale, other dark green leafy vegetables, leeks, peas, and egg yolks. Include a couple of servings per day.
Pomegranates contain punicalagins, which have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. One study found that pomegranate extract protected skin fibroblast cells (the ones that make collagen) against damage and death from UVA and UVB rays.7 Beauty & Go Skin Revive contains pomegranate, so is a convenient way to get your daily dose!
Dietary measures provide much weaker protection than sunscreen and are never a substitute but something you can do in addition.
The sun can dry out your skin, so include plenty of essential fats before and during your holiday, which act as a natural moisturiser from within. The omega-3 fats found in oily fish also reduce inflammation in the body, which can help with heat rashes and sunburn. Building up your body’s stores of essential fats before you go on holiday will help keep your skin hydrated and glowing. Eat oily fish 3-4 times per week, 1 serving of nuts or seeds per day and 3 avocadoes per week.
As I said above, nothing can substitute wearing a proper sunscreen and this is absolutely essential to protect your skin from irreversible damage from the sun’s UV rays. Always wear a high SPF sunscreen on your body and total sun block on your face. It is important to use a separate formula designed especially for the face, as this will be lighter and less pore clogging as well as providing the extra protection your face needs. Limiting sun bathing to before 11am and after 3pm is also advisable. Sunburn accelerates wrinkling and aging of the skin, and also increases the risk of skin cancer so avoid getting burned and move into the shade during the middle part of the day when the sun is strongest.
If you are concerned about getting enough vitamin D, about 15-20 minutes per day of sun exposure to uncovered skin is enough to meet your requirements – stick to mornings and late afternoon though.
Stay hydrated – this helps keep you and your skin hydrated and prevents dehydration, which is much more common when it’s hot. Drinking plenty of water also helps flush out toxins and helps balance any extra alcohol you might be drinking! Drink plenty of water, herbal and green teas and your Beauty & Go.
Green Tea is especially good, as it contains polyphenols, powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help make your skin more resistant to sunburn, inflammation and even the longer term ageing effects of the sun.8
Dark chocolate is one of the best sources of a type of antioxidant called flavonoids, which can help protect the skin. Enjoy some every day – you are on holiday after all!
Selenium is an essential mineral that protects against age spots and may even be good to fight sun negative consequences. Good sources are fish, Brazil nuts, sunflower seeds, mushrooms and whole-grains. Just 3 Brazil Nuts per day and one Beauty & Go Skin Revivedrink will meet your needs.
If you do get caught out, the following will provide instant and natural relief.
Cucumbers are naturally cooling and can help reduce inflammation and skin damage. Blend chilled cucumbers straight from the fridge and apply to affected areas for instant relief.
Aloe Vera provides cooling relief to sunburn, due to its calming, anti-inflammatory effects. Aloe Vera promotes healing and cellular repair of the skin and is extremely hydrating, so is great to apply after a day in the sun to restore moisture, even if you don’t get burned.
Skin Revive Drink
Beauty & Go Skin Revive contains high levels of antioxidants to protect your skin against UV and free radical damage, including pomegranate, raspberry and resveratrol from grapes. It also contains the mineral selenium and vitamin E. For more information click here.
References1. Fuchs J. Potentials and limitations of the natural antioxidants RRR-alpha-tocopherol, L-ascorbic acid and beta-carotene in cutaneous photoprotection. Free Radic Biol Med 1998;25:848-73 [review]. 2. Fuchs J, Kern H. Modulation of UV-light-induced skin inflammation by D-alpha-tocopherol and L-ascorbic acid: a clinical study using solar simulated radiation. Free Radic Biol Med 1998;25:1006-12. 3. Eberlein-Konig B, Placzek M, Przybilla B. Protective effect against sunburn of combined systemic ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and d-alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E). J Am Acad Dermatol 1998;38:45-8. 4. Aust O, Stahl W, Sies H, et al. Supplementation with tomato-based products increases lycopene, phytofluene, and phytoene levels in human serum and protects against UV-light-induced erythema. Int J Vitam Nutr Res 2005;75:54-60. 5. Lee J, Jiang S, Levine N, Watson RR. Carotenoid supplementation reduces erythema in human skin after simulated solar radiation exposure. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 2000;223:170-4. 6. Heinrich U, Gartner C, Wiebusch M, et al. Supplementation with beta-carotene or a similar amount of mixed carotenoids protects humans from UV-induced erythema. J Nutr 2003;133:98-101. 7. Pacheco-Palencia LA1, Noratto G, Hingorani L, Talcott ST, Mertens-Talcott SU. Protective effects of standardized pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) polyphenolic extract in ultraviolet-irradiated human skin fibroblasts. J Agric Food Chem. 2008;56(18):8434-41. 8. Rhodes LE1, Darby G, Massey KA, Clarke KA, Dew TP, Farrar MD, Bennett S, Watson RE, Williamson G, Nicolaou A. Oral green tea catechin metabolites are incorporated into human skin and protect against UV radiation-induced cutaneous inflammation in association with reduced production of pro-inflammatory eicosanoid 12-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid. Br J Nutr. 2013 Sep 14;110(5):891-900.