Natural antioxidants have been proven to be the most effective form of protection against the potential health risks posed by sun damage after the regular application of broad spectrum sunscreen. Antioxidants are derived most readily from such foods as vegetables, fruits, and nuts; and Vitamins A, C, and E are among the most effective antioxidant agents used in skin care products. By working to prevent skin damage, cellular oxidation, early aging signs, and so on, antioxidants neutralize the intrusion of harmful free radicals into the body by way of the epidermis, and therefore help to prevent the development of photoageing, skin tumours and cancers.
The following are among the most rich and accessible forms of antioxidant food types:
– Red beans: according to the ‘Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity’ (ORAC) test, the flavonoids that give red beans their bright ‘red’ colour act as potent antioxidant sources that prevent the absorption of dangerous free radicals into the skin’s surface.
– Blueberries: due to their anthocyanin content, blueberries possess a rich antioxidant pigment that helps to neutralize harmful bodily toxins.
– Prunes/Dried Plums: prunes contain antioxidant phenols, which are known to help repel the harmful oxygen radical referred to as superoxide anion radical. They also contain beta carotene, which works to protect skin cells and membranes.
– Pomegranates: possess an antioxidant content that is three times more powerful than most teas, and contain a blend of chemical properties that benefit the reduction of skin cell damage, the destruction of cancer cells, as well as the body’s inbuilt protections against free radicals.
– Green tea: rich in polyphenols, a powerful nutrient that is effective in locating harmful free radicals that have already been absorbed by the body and detoxifying them.
Some vitamins are other great sources of antioxidants. Those recognised as being the richest and most effective for maintaining skin health are Vitamin A, C, and E (respectively Retinol, L-Ascorbic Acid, Tocopherol). These vitamins are often combined with other skin care ingredients in products that treat the skin’s surface. Vitamin C is known for its ability to support the skin’s natural production of the collagen (which maintains elasticity and firmness), and is also considered to be an effective anti-cancer agent. Vitamin A is used commonly in anti-aging skin care products, and Vitamin E is recognised as an antioxidant that protects lipids (or naturally occurring skin molecular structures) from potential oxidation risks. Providing the body with antioxidants by way of diet, lifestyle, and effective skin care treatment ensures protection against not only free radicals that cause bodily illness, but in addition those free radicals that threaten the health of the skin’s epidermal layers. It is strongly recommended that when exposing the skin to the sun’s rays, a broad-spectrum sunscreen by applied over the top of any everyday skin care treatments.
An antioxidant-sun protection combination delivers a strong skin care shield that protects the skin’s surface against the potentially damaging free radical content of UV rays. Without appropriate usage, however, applied sunscreen may fail to ensure the protection for which it is intended. An effective use of sunscreen should include the following:
– Preferably SPF15+ or higher;
– Application of sunscreen evenly and thoroughly to the face and body;
– A 20-30 minutes ‘absorption period’ where sunscreen is afforded time to soak into the skin’s outer layer before it is exposed to direct sunlight for a prolonged period;
– Reapplication of sunscreen every 2-3 hours, or as advised;
– Reapplication after activities that cause the body to perspirate or become wet, which may result in sunscreen layer erosion;
– The use of other physical protections such as a wide-brimmed hat, long-sleeved shirt, long pants, and sunglasses with UV protection lenses.
Sun damage continues to be the single largest environmental threat posed to the skin’s health, and is best avoided using a combination of antioxidant intake and sunscreen use. By maintaining a healthy diet rich in antioxidant sources and protecting the skin from the potentially cancerous free radicals contained within the sun’s UV rays, sun damage and its ramifications stand to be best avoided.