Even though summer is almost over, you still need to protect your skin from the sun all year round. But with recent studies telling us the chemicals commonly found in sunscreens might also be a culprit in the war on skin cancer, what else can we do besides hiding indoors until the sun goes down?
As we’ve become more aware of the dangers caused by UV rays, it might seem just a little bit odd that even though our exposure to sunshine has been decreasing over time, the number of incidences of skin diseases and cancer continues to rise. Though there are many arguments for the cause of this rise, there are some natural ways you can help protect your skin from the inside out.
Green and black tea are both good sources of polyphenols – an antioxidant-rich plant compound with anti-inflammatory properties, proven to protect against UV radiation, and even fight and stop the growth of cancer cells. Just make sure you brew your tea at home. These antioxidants aren’t found in bottled versions. Also, hold the sugar, which will have an adverse effect, keeping your body’s natural antioxidants from warding off free radicals and sun damage.
Omega-3 Fatty Oil
Omega-3 fatty acids found in fatty fish like salmon and cod, or in flaxseed, have anti-inflammatory properties. Since sunburn is a type of inflammation, you can help fight skin damage by including more omega-3s in your diet. Recent studies are also suggesting that omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent and reduce skin cancer. If you don’t like fish, you can still reap the skin-saving benefits by taking an omega-3 daily supplement.
Red and Orange Produce
Fruits and vegetables that are red, pink, or orange have greater amounts of certain antioxidants known as lycopene and carotenoids. Lycopene has been shown to protect skin from skin irritation caused by UV rays, and carotene, found in orange-colored produce, has been shown to reduce reactions to sunburn. Think tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit, carrots, and sweet potatoes.
Dark chocolate is full of flavonoids, proven to help your skin’s natural ability to shield itself from skin damage and free radicals. Look for chocolate that’s at least 60% cacao to get the most bang for your buck.
Green Leafy Vegetables
Green leafy vegetables and herbs are full of beta carotene, polyphenols, and carotenoids – all antioxidants found to fight free radicals and help protect skin from sun damage. Look for spinach, swiss chard, romaine lettuce, collard greens, broccoli, and herbs like parsley, sage, basil, and rosemary.
If you find that you’re one of those people that fries in the sun, turning red minutes after setting foot out the door, you might want to take a look at your diet. Try to include some of these skin-protecting foods into your diet more regularly, and you could find that you no longer need to hide from the sun.