Summertime is finally here in all its splendor! It certainly has been wonderful spending time participating in outdoor activities and communing with nature. But, oh how quickly Mother Nature has her way of reminding us that our time in the sun can have some painful side effects. We all know the importance of applying a good quality sun screen, but recent science tells us that it is also important to get our 15 to 20 minutes of daily, unprotected sun exposure to provide for optimal levels of Vitamin D. So how do we strike a good balance and keep our skin safe at the same time? The good news is that, by paying attention to what we eat and drink this summer, we can add some extra protection from the inside as well. Proper skin function is dependent on good nutrition. Here are my top six tips for summertime skin care:

Spending summertime on the beach.

1. Sunscreen. Lather on the sunscreen with UVA and UVB (broad-spectrum) protection with at least an SPF 15 rating, 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply regularly according to the new guidelines required on sunscreen labels. Companies are no longer allowed to make “waterproof” or “water resistant” claims unless they have actual proof that the sunscreen will provide protection for a period of either 40 or 80 minutes.

2. Vitamin D. When looking for Vitamin D benefits, spend your 15 to 20 minutes of unprotected sun time, before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Reading the morning paper or having a relaxing family conversation on the back deck at the end of the day will do the trick.

3. Carotenoids. Carotenoids are the natural red and yellow pigments of plants, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and lycopene. They are efficient in protecting against UV radiation by scavenging free radicals. Results of a study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2003 showed that the protective effects of both a beta-carotene supplement and a mixed carotenoid supplement significantly decreased UV- light-induced redness of the skin after 12 weeks. Carrots, squash, mangos and apricots are excellent sources of beta-carotene. Green leafy vegetables, like spinach, provide high amounts of lutein, and lycopene is found in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit.

4. Vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for collagen synthesis, which gives our skin its strength, smoothness and elasticity. Its potent antioxidant activity also helps reduce skin damage caused by free radicals. In a study published in 2009 in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, women who consumed higher dietary intakes of Vitamin C were less likely to have a wrinkled appearance.

5. Hydration. Adequate water intake is essential to overall health. Water helps carry nutrients and oxygen to all cells, including the skin. It also helps regulate body temperature. Individual requirements differ somewhat, but a good target for adults is eight, 8-ounce glasses of water per day.

6. Shade and Protective Apparel. Avoid prolonged periods of sun exposure between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., cover up when possible, wear a large-brimmed hat and sunglasses and seek the cover of a beautiful shade tree.

Here’s to a wonderful summer of fun in the sun!



Debbie Miller, INHC, CHHP

Member:  American College of Nutrition, International Association of Health Coaches and American Association of Drugless Practitioners

Facebook Comments