Sun Protection through Nutrition?

We all know a little bit of Vitamin D is a good thing, but in this industry educating our clients on the incredible stress chronic sun exposure plays on your skin is a critical foundation of our beauty programs.  With the latest controversies about the effectiveness of topical SPF’s, there is a growing trend consumers are seeking from spas to ensure they are protecting their skin both topically and internally (this being otherwise known as Internal Photo-protection.)

The concept of internal photo-protection by dietary means is gaining momentum as a growing body of research shows that specific micronutrients and antioxidants may potentially neutralize and destroy skin damaging free radicals and metabolites caused by sun exposure.  From the evidence reviewed, certain nutrients may help to protect the skin by:

  • Destroying damaging free radicals before they can attack healthy skin cells

  • Help to reduce inflammation (associated with sun exposure)

  • Stimulate immunity

  • May help to inhibit hyper-pigmentation associated with sun exposure (sun spots.)


So what are the top antioxidants to incorporate or recommend to your clients?  Based on clinical evidence (in humans) here are the top 5 antioxidants noted to date;

  1. SOD (superoxide dismutase ,) Vitamin C – primarily found in Melon (Canteloupe)

  2. Carotenoids (Lycopene, colourless carotenoids) -  from tomatoes (particularly tomato paste)

  3. Anthocyanins - water-soluble pigments found in a large number of fruits, vegetables, particularly grapes, grape seed extract and berries

  4. Oligomeric catechins - found at high concentrations in red wine, grapes and grape seeds, cocoa, cranberry, apples

  5. Catechins  - These are primarily found in tea leaves (particularly green tea.)

Can we attain enough through diet alone?  Of course, the foundation of good health starts with sound nutrition, but to attain this on a daily basis proves difficult for many of us. Furthermore, clinical studies often use therapeutic doses that would be hard to swallow through diet alone every day.  Therefore, you may want to consider offering a nutritional supplement formulated with leading antioxidants  to best protect the skin on a daily basis.

When used in combination with topical sunscreens, antioxidants may help to support the skin for ongoing resistance and lifelong protection.