Why is preparing your skin for the sun so important?
Summer is a time when we want to be beach-body ready, rather than pale and pasty.
A golden suntan not only looks great but also makes us feel great. However, over-exposure to the sun can damage the skin. This is because potentially damaging free radicals are produced by the skin when exposed to sunlight.
It is therefore important to get your skin prepped and ready to face summer while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Research has shown that using sun cream together with a food supplement of carotenoids may help increase sun protection.
What are the problems associated with sun exposure?
Too much sun exposure triggers the production of highly reactive free radicals, which can be potentially harmful to the skin.
Free radicals interact with other molecules within skin cells, which can react with other substances in your body and damage cells or even create abnormal ones. When your body lacks enough antioxidants to neutralise free radicals, this is known as oxidative stress. It is thought that oxidative damage may lead to premature ageing and even play a role in cancer.
How to prepare for the sun
Your diet can play a part in the amount of antioxidants your body can produce to protect itself. For example, Beta-Carotene and Vitamin E are antioxidants while Zinc and Selenium also contribute to the protection of cells from oxidative stress.
Beta-Carotene is also thought to protect skin by reflecting ultraviolet light before it is able to penetrate deeper layers of the skin. It is associated with healthy levels of Vitamin A in the body for good vision and immunity and Vitamin E which is an important skin nutrient.
Ingredients such as Beta-Carotene, which gives carrots their orange colour, and Copper contain natural pigments that may enhance tanned skin which can help to give skin a natural bronzed glow. To tan safely and prevent damaging your skin, always apply a sunscreen with a high SPF every two hours.