Oh, summer sun! It feels so good to bask in the soothing warmth of sunshine, but what is it doing to our skin? Being the barrier between the body and the environment the skin is subjected to a lot of abuse. Ultraviolet rays from the sun can injure the skin leading it to be red and inflamed. With enough exposure ultraviolet rays cause the skin to be discoloured and wrinkled. Sun damage can also lead to the development of cancer. Melanoma (skin cancer) is the most frequently diagnosed cancer worldwide. Think you are too young to worry about it? In Canada, melanoma is one of the most common cancers in our youth ages 15 to 29. What can you do to prevent summer skin damage? Sunscreen, broad rimmed hats and long sleeve shirts can help. However, can you also protect your skin from the inside out?
Ah, the warm therapeutic feeling of sunshine on your skin. There is nothing quite like it. But, lapping up those rays this summer can take a toll on your skin. Sunlight (ultraviolet radiation) exposure leads to inflammation in the skin, rough patches and sunspots. It also causes collagen and elastin to break down in your skin causing it to become saggy and more wrinkled. Most concerning, damage to your skin by ultraviolet radiation may lead to skin cancer. Along with wearing sunscreen year-round and covering up with broad-rimmed hats and long sleeve or sun shirts, you can eat a diet that is skin healthy. Come on and bite back against sun damage! Come discover how eating certain foods can help your skin repair, rejuvenate and be beautiful in the summer.
They aren’t just a cute addition on a kebab at a summer barbeque; they’re packed with skin-protecting nutrients like selenium. Selenium is needed to make one of the body’s most potent antioxidants, glutathione peroxidase. Glutathione peroxidase fights those pesky damaging free radicals that form in your skin when it’s exposed to sunlight. Since you can’t avoid all sunlight exposure, your only defense is to have consistent presence of antioxidants in your skin. Another reason to pop some of these little mushrooms into your mouth is that they are a great source of B vitamins – the skin uses B vitamins to create new cells. Go on and add crimini or other mushrooms to your summer diet and enjoy beautiful summer skin.
The amount of antioxidants in your blood decreases when your skin is exposed to sunlight. A double-blind, controlled trial concluded that eating antioxidants (vitamin C and selenium) offers the skin protection against sunlight. Dig into nutrient-rich foods (and lather on the sunscreen) to help prevent sunburns and subsequent skin damage this summer. Juicy, tart Montmorency cherries are a source of antioxidants like vitamin C and melatonin. Melatonin protects the skin against ultraviolet radiation. Researchers have discovered that this powerful little nutrient also helps repair sunburned skin, thanks to its ability to stimulate new skin cell growth. Cherries are also packed with vitamin C needed to build collagen – your skin’s natural scaffolding and wrinkle preventer.
Hot green tea isn’t a popular picnic basket drink, but iced green tea should be your ‘go-to’ drink this summer. Scientists have discovered that an antioxidant in green tea, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), fights inflammation in the skin. EGCG neutralizes free radicals that form in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, reducing their ability to cause damage that leads to inflammation. It even helps prevent wrinkles and other signs of unhealthy skin. According to a study published in the Journal of Nutrition, the skin of women who consumed a drink with green tea polyphenols for 12 weeks showed improvements in elasticity, roughness, scaling, and moisture content.
Including some pomegranate to your summer picnic basket may be a great choice for your skin according to research from the University of Wisconsin. Pomegranate is well known for its high antioxidant content, and has been found in studies to offer anti-inflammatory benefits to the skin. Scientists have also found that nutrients in pomegranates can reduce the ability of ultraviolet radiation to cause cancer-promoting damage in your skin cells.
Add fatty fish like salmon or anchovies to your skin-beautifying menu. Fatty fish are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are well known for their ability to regulate inflammation in the body. In the skin, sunlight exposure triggers inflammation. The presence of omega-3 fatty acids in the skin can prevent the extent of damage caused by inflammation.
Afag, F. et al. Oral feeding of pomegranate fruit extract inhibits early biomarkers of UVB radiation-induced carcinogenesis in SKH-1 hairless mouse epidermis. Photochem Photobiol. 2010 Nov- Epub 2010 Oct 14.
Bissett et al. Niacinamide: A B vitamins that improves aging facial skin appearance. Dermatol Surg 2005;31(7):860-865
Black HS and LE Rhodes. The potential of omega-3 fatty acids in the prevention of non-melanoma skin cancer. Cancer Detec Prev 2006:30(3)224-32. Epub 2006 Jul 26.
Burke KE. Photoaging: the role of oxidative stress. G Ital Dermatol Venereol. 2010 Aug;145(4):445-59.
Elmets et al. Cutaneous photoprotection from ultraviolet injury by green tea polyphenols. J Am Acad Dermatol 2001;44(3):425-32.
Greul et al. Photoprotection of UV-irradiated human skin: an antioxidative combination of vitamins E and C, carotenoids, selenium and proanthocyanins. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol 2002;15(5):307-15.
Gyorene KG et al. A comparison of chemical composition and nutritional value of organically and conventionally grown plant derived foods Orv Hetil. 2006 Oct 29;147(43):2081-90.
Heinrich et al. Antioxidant supplements improve parameters related to skin structure in humans. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2006;19(4):224-31.
Heinrich U, et al. Green tea polyphenols provide photoprotection, increase microcirculation, and modulate skin properties of women. J Nutr 2011 Jun;141(6):1202-8.
Jin XJ et al. Prevention of UV-induced skin damages by 11,14,17-eicosatrienoic acid in hairless mice in vivo. J Korean Med Sci 2010 Jun:12(6):930-7.
Katiyar et al. Polyphenolic antioxidant (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate from green tea reduces UVB-induced inflammatory responses and infiltration of leukocytes in human skin. Photochem Photobiol 1999;69(2):148-153.
Purba, M. Skin Wrinkling: Can Food Make a Difference? J Am Coll Nutr 2001;20(1):71-8.
Rhodes LE et al. Effect of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid, on UVR-related cancer risk in humans. An assessment of early genotoxic markers. Carcinogenesis. 2003 May;24(5):919-25.
Shahbakhti H et a. Influence of eicosapentaenoic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid, on ultraviolet-B generation of prostaglandin-E2 and proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8 in human skin in vivo. Photochem Photobiol. 2004 Sep-Oct;80(2):231-5.
Slominski A et al. Melatonin in the skin: synthesis, metabolism and functions. Trends Endocrinol Metab 2008 Jan:19(1):17-24. Epub 2007 Dec 26.
Tannis, A. Feed Your Skin, Starve Your Wrinkles. Fairwinds 2009.
Whitney P Bowe and Alan C Logan. Acne vulgaris, probiotics and the gut-brain-skin axis – back to the future? Gut Pathog. 2011; 3: 1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3038963/?tool=pubmed