There is a new way of looking at sun care that goes beyond topical sunscreen application. Studies have shown that looking at skin care from an Inclusive Health approach, my three-pronged strategy to improve cellular health, will yield better sun protection through a stronger barrier function and healthier cells. Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with hydrators, vitamins A, C and E as well as antioxidants to protect the skin’s surface is a great start; but I recommend also enhancing the body’s natural SPF through internal care as well as protecting yourself from environmental aggressors like UVA and UVB rays, pollution, smog and wind.
Damage from sun exposure occurs in day-to-day activities, in all weather conditions and can occur from the reflection off glass, metal and concrete. Thus, in addition to applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen, you can enhance your skin’s internal sun protection capabilities by adjusting the foods you eat, concentrating on eating more antioxidant rich raw fruits and vegetables.
Foods with carotenoids, isothicyanates, and other antioxidants, increase sun protection. Vitamins A, C and E are the super nourishing trio which, when combined with antioxidants, are proven to significantly increase the efficacy of sunscreen. These skin protecting nutrients are found in produce including oranges, goji berries, apricots and spinach. The vitamins and minerals prevent free radical damage caused by sun and pollution, creating a barrier that protects skin. To reap these internal sun protection benefits, start adding various types of these foods into your daily diet and remember to buy organic whenever possible to bolster your skin strength.
One of the most important foods to combat sun damage is pomegranate, which contain polyphenols such as ellagic acid. I have conducted clinical trials that show roughly a 25% improvement in SPF when pomegranate is added to a diet. If your sunscreen also contains pomegranate extract there is an additional improvement in SPF by 20%.
Before there were medicines like sunscreens, there was food. We need to appreciate nature’s vast resources and be aware of the immense benefits offered. This unique, internal method to shielding rays can boost your internal SPF levels and fully protect skin from harmful environmental factors!
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