Summer is Here! Enjoy The Sun, But Protect Yourself. Part 2

July 21, 2019


We love the sun, but need to be careful to prevent sunburn, sun damage, skin cancer and skin aging.


Here some easy tips:

  • avoid too much sun in one shot,

  • build up exposure gradually (we take a vacation),

  • avoid sun exposure from 10 am to 4 pm,

  • take quick shower in lukewarm water to avoid taking off protective oils,

  • drink enough water

Evidence suggests that diet can also significantly alter how the skin responds to sun exposure. 


Skin-healthy foods should be enjoyed raw (when possible) to benefit from their bio active nutrients. Eating them will not only protect the skin from sun damage, they can also help to heal skin that has already been burned.


Here are some of the foods that offer protective effects from ultraviolet rays:


1. Vitamin C rich food , like Guava, bell pepper.

Guava contains five times, and bell pepper twice as much vitamin C as oranges. Vitamin C-rich foods protect the skin from sun damage because the antioxidants act as a photo protectant.  Vitamin C also helps to produce collagen.


2. Food rich in carotenoids, like Sweet Potatoes.

Carotenoids, such as beta-carotene and lycopene, give fruits and vegetables a vibrant orange color and also provide the skin with antioxidants that act as a protective shield against solar rays. The body converts the phytonutrient beta-carotene to vitamin A, which has been shown to reduce sunburn. Beta-carotene also encourages the body to produce melanin which helps protect the skin from sun exposure. All potatoes contain high amounts of starch, which is thought to draw the heat out of the skin. For this reason, potatoes can be used topically to soothe sunburn.


3. Strawberries

Strawberries are a great natural sun block as they contain 108% DV of vitamin C as well as ellagic acid and anthocyanins, which reduce free radicals and reduce pigmentation caused by sun damage.


4. Green Tea

Green tea can be consumed internally or externally to soothe sunburn, while providing a wide range of healing benefits that range from detoxification, reducing blood pressure and enhancing relaxation. When it comes to the skin, green tea promotes DNA repair due to the polyphenol Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG). Green tea also contains catechins, which are polyphenols that have antibacterial qualities and help support healthy inflammatory pathways. Green tea is packed with vitamins B2 and E that hydrate and protect the skin.


5. Oatmeal

Oatmeal soothes sunburn due to its antioxidant, anti fungal and moisturizing properties. Oatmeal contains free radical scavengers called saponins. Oatmeal also stimulates T-cell production - boosting the immune system and helping regenerate the skin. Oatmeal can be mixed with water and used topically on sunburn or as an exfoliator prior to sun exposure.


6. Cucumber

Cucumber helps the body produce collagen, the main structural protein in the skin. 96% of a cucumber is water, so cucumber is extremely hydrating. To benefit from cucumber’s skin care qualities the peel should also be consumed. The peel contains silica that firms up the skin. Additionally cucumber contains vitamin C, caffeic acid, potassium and vitamin K. Vitamin K helps the skin heal, so is great for soothing sunburn. Caffeic acid is a strong antioxidant and helps protect the skin from oxidative stress and DNA damage.


7. Tomatoes

Similar to strawberries, tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that protects the skin from cellular damage. Tomatoes are also high in vitamin C.


8. Watermelon

92% of watermelon is water, so they are great for keeping the skin hydrated. Watermelon is also filled with skin-healthy nutrients like vitamins A, B6 and C.  Watermelon also contains the antioxidant lycopene and the amino acid arginine. Both help protect the skin from photo-aging while aiding in blood flow and protein formation.


9. Carrots

Carrots are bursting with beta-carotene, vitamin C. Carotenoids signal gene expression at a cellular level and offer photo-protective qualities that can mitigate sun damage.

All of the foods listed above can be used topically or ingested to yield skin-healthy benefits. 


Also can take Nicotinamide (niacinamide), or NAD+ (which is our natural sunscreen), Cataguala (Polypodium Leucotomost) extract found in some supplements, and enough DHA omega 3 (from algae, squid, or fish oil). [1,2]


So go outside and enjoy the sun, but don’t forget to pack your non nano, non micronized zinc oxide sunscreen and a cooler with photo-protective foods! 


For more information on healthy living please make an appointment with Dr.Val Koganski by calling 215-750-7000 or go online:






2. S. M. Pilkington, et al. Randomized controlled trial of oral omega-3 PUFA in solar-simulated radiation-induced suppression of human cutaneous immune responses. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2013; 97 (3): 646 DOI: 10.3945/ajcn.112.049494


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