Did you know that you can eat your sunscreen right out of the bottle? Before you freak out, its only half true. What if I told you that you that you could eat FOOD to protect your skin naturally. Sounds a little more realistic huh, and a lot tastier than eating actual sunblock. With summer already heating up, the first thing we think about is protecting our skin. Especially if you’re a ginger like me, who combusts when the sun hits me. So why even bother eating foods to protect your skin, instead of slathering some sunblock on and heading out the door? Just read the ingredients on the back of a bottle of sunscreen. Bored yet? Exactly, more research is showing that sunscreen is actually doing more harm than good.
Why the Sun isn’t the Enemy
There seems to be this idea that sun exposure = skin cancer and sunscreen = Protection from skin cancer. Research doesn’t back this idea up, in fact it may suggest the opposite. Skin cancer rates are rising despite more sunscreen use and less sun exposure in recent decades. A 2016 review in the journal Dermato-Endocrinology concluded that while prevention of skin cancer is important, being afraid of the sun isn’t a good answer. Research has shown the importance of sun exposure for adequate levels of vitamin D, and wearing sunscreen greatly reduces that absorption. So, if you want to stay healthy and glowing this summer here are some ways that you can protect yourself from the inside out.
- Eat a Real Food Diet with Healthy Fats
A big part of natural sun protection is eating an anti-inflammatory diet. Consuming enough healthy saturated, monosaturated, and omega-3 fats can give you the proper building blocks for healthy skin and help reduce inflammation.
- Processed foods
- Vegetable oils
- Healthy unsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats
- Foods rich in omega 3s
- Leafy greens
- Eat Antioxidants
Antioxidants help reduce inflammation and free radicals, which speed up aging and weaken your skins ability to protect itself. Berries, dark chocolate, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of antioxidants.
- Vitamin D
Melanin, the dark pigment that we get when we tan, is produced to shield the skin from further UV exposure by providing a natural barrier. When the body has enough vitamin D, it will start to produce melanin to keep from getting too much vitamin D at once.
- Natural Sun Protection
With all the harmful substances and chemicals in many sunscreens, it’s no wonder people are opting for more natural ways to protect themselves. One way is to cover up and find some shade if possible. Another option is finding sunscreens with natural ingredients that don’t have harmful chemicals in them.
Now that you have some new insight on alternative ways to protect yourself from the sun, you can enjoy being outside in a new healthier way. There are options available that won’t make you sick or cause your skin to absorb toxic chemicals. Who knew eating healthier also protected your skin from harmful sunburns? Thank gosh you don’t actually have to eat your sunscreen.
I am not a doctor or dermatologist, so always contact your healthcare provider before changing your skin care routine or diet. Thank you for reading. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to add them to the section below.
Photo by Tu Trinh on Unsplash