How Diet Can Help Protect Skin From UV Rays

Woman with sunscreen. grinvalds/ iStock / Getty Images Plus (grinvalds/ iStock / Getty Images Plus)

Applying sunscreen is one easy way to keep skin looking healthy. In total, 80 percent of facial skin aging is attributed to UV damage, says Karin Hermoni, Ph.D. and category manager at Lycored, an international wellness company. Hermoni says it's not just days at the beach that are aging skin, but all sun exposure adds up and more damage is done on the days when spa-goers are running around the town. "Those short intervals- when we go out to take the trash, walk the dog, or just drive our car un-protected, are causing a real damage to our skin," she says. 

Using sunscreen sounds like an easy solution to blocking sun exposure, but Hermoni explains that people forget to apply or re-apply leaving them at risk. 

"One solution is ingestible sun-screen. Some natural antioxidants can serve as a complementary approach to topical sunscreens and help protect our skin from the inside out," says Hermoni.

As for what ingredients fight the sun, Hermoni explains that natural antioxidants from fruits and vegetables work best at fighting the sun's damage from the inside.  

"Pigments from the carotenoid family have been implicated in protection from UV-damage, tomato phytonutrients such as lycopene, the red pigment of tomato, as well as the colorless carotenoids phytoene and phytofluene have been extensively researched in this regard. Also, some polyphenols from certain fruits and spices can provide benefits to our skin," says Hermoni. 

Hermoni also suggests eating a range of fruits and vegetables for the best effects. "In general the Mediterranean diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, and spices, was shown to possess benefits to overall wellness and specifically to skin wellness and sun protection. Some key components of Mediterranean diet are tomatoes and olive oil, and importantly combining them allows better absorption of the active components from tomato which are oil soluble," says Hermoni. 

But not all diets are perfect and if a spa-goer's skin still needs protection, Hermoni suggests trying an ingestible sunscreen

Read more: The Truth About Different Levels of SPF and What's the Deal With Ingestible Sunscreen?