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6 Ways to Naturally Protect Your Skin From the Sun

antioxidants [1]

We have become more aware of the damage that the sun has on our skin. With painful skin irritations, burns and even skin cancers that could later develop, there is more we can do than just slop on some sunscreen. In fact, studies have shown that the sunscreens we use could be one of the culprits in causing skin cancers. Eighty percent of sunscreens [2]on the market were found unsafe, ineffective or both.

There are ways to naturally boost your skin’s resistance to the sun by adding foods that have sources of carotenoids, Omega-3’s and antioxidants to help reduce skin irritations, boost your skin’s immunity to sunlight and help stop cancer development. Further, by slowly exposing your skin to natural amounts of sunlight, you can also build up an immunity to the sun. Start with 10 minutes of unfiltered sunlight. Many doctors suggest you do this during 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., when the UVA rays are not at their most potent. By slowly subjecting yourself to natural amounts of sunlight, you can get your skin used to the sun, as well as receive natural vitamin D from the sun –  another way creating an inner sunscreen and boosting your body’s immunity.

Natural Ways to Protect Your Skin:

  1. Lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, has been shown to protect against sun damage [3]. Beta-carotene, another type of carotenoid found in red and orange produce has been linked to reduced reactions to sunburns, skin irritations and flavanoid-filled orange and pink citrus fruits have also been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays.
  2. Vitamin D is perhaps the most popular ways to keep your skin healthy and create an inner sunscreen. Start with a small amount of unfiltered sunlight for 10-15 minutes and work your way up. The best time to get natural sun is between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. where UVAs and UVBs are not at their strongest.
  3. Increase your Omega-3’s in your diet. Studies show that Omega-3 boost skin immunity to sunlight. Flaxseed oil, eggs, fish and walnuts are excellent sources of this fatty acid.
  4. Antioxidants are also great at naturally protecting the skin. Dark leafy greens such as spinach and swiss chard are all full of antioxidants like polyphenols and carotenoids that further protect the skin from irritations and damage.
  5. Green and black teas are packed with polyphenols that can help stop cancer development by limiting the blood supply to the cancerous area. Some studies [4] have found that green tea can help prevent non-melanoma skin cancer.
  6. Dark chocolate is another way to protect your skin [5]. The flavonoids found in dark chocolate have been shown to improve the skin’s ability to protect against some types of skin damage, including UV-induced issues like sunburns.

If you want to further protect your skin, cover exposed skin with tightly woven long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and wide-brimmed hats. Also consider laundry additives, which give clothing an additional layer of ultraviolet protection for a certain number of washings, or special sun-protective clothing — which is specifically designed to block ultraviolet rays.

Choosing a more natural route for protecting your skin can lessen your chances of being subjected to hormone disrupting and cancer causing sunscreens. These natural ways to boost your body’s natural ability to protect the skin are a great way to add healthy foods to your diet and start creating your body’s inner sunscreening abilities.