If you relish the warmth of the summer sun, odds are that you're already wrestling with the pros and cons: Won't too much sun eventually lead to leathery and wrinkled skin? Or boost the risk of skin cancer? And if you use sunscreen, won't it block your body's production of vitamin D?
Let's face it; sunning yourself comes with all sorts of contradictions and warnings. It's almost enough to make you hide out in a basement.
Fortunately, there is a sensible solution, one that focuses on maintaining dual "inside-outside" skin protection. The basic idea is to fortify your skin nutritionally from the inside, while prudently using 'full spectrum" sunscreens to protect your skin from the outside.
Excessive UV exposure accelerates normal age-related skin thinning and wrinkling and increases the risk of three different types of skin cancer, u-hum, (you get the picture).
People who are fair skinned have a higher risk of skin cancers compared with people who have dark complexions, and people with a lot of moles on their arms and legs have a higher than average risk of developing melanoma from sun exposure. As skin cancers go basal cell and squamous cell skin cancers are easily treated with conventional medical procedures. Melanoma is far more serious because it can be aggressive and deadly.
However, the research on UV exposure and melanoma risk is mixed. While UV exposure can increase the risk of skin melanoma, most melanomas develop where the body has little or no exposure to sunlight.
Eating habits, antioxidants, and healthy fats can strongly influence skin appearance and health, according to a study of people living in Greece, Sweden, and Australia. Mark L. Wahlqvist, M,D, of Monash University, Australia, investigated diets and skin health of people age 70 years and older. People whose diets consisted primarily of fish, vegetables, olive oil, beans, and whole-grain cereals had significantly less skin damage and fewer wrinkles, regardless of their ethnic heritage or whether they lived in sunnier or cloudier climates. In contrast, people who ate a lot of full-fat milk, red meat (especially processed deli meats), potat6oes, sugary soft drinks, and sweet pastries were more likely to suffer visible skin damage.
Considerable research has shown that taking anti-oxidant supplements-beta-carotene, lycopene, Pycnogenol, and vitamin E to name a few- offers some protection against sunburn and the consequential damage to skin. That's significant because, damage to the upper layer of skin cells begins after abut two minutes of sun exposure.
A similar study by German researchers found that taking a daily combination of 8 mg each of beta carotene, lycopene and lutein also reduced sunburn. Researchers' have also reported that taking about 100 mg of Pycnogenol, and antioxidant complex derived from French maritime pine bark, also reduces the redness of sunburn and subsequent cell damage.
Basically the anti- oxidants reinforce the skins protection against UV damage. According to the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, people taking vitamin E 1000 IU and vitamin C 2000 mg for 8 days were abut 34 percent more resistant to sunburn, compared with people taking placebos.
The science is admittedly murky here, and it may seem like an unfair tradeoff between using the sun to make your vitamin D and having a greater risk of skin cancer.
However, there is a solution that many experts and dermatologists agree and now recommend: Use sunscreen if you're planning to be in the sun for more than 10 minutes and take vitamin D supplements.
Think in terms of "inside-out" sun protection. Start by eating a Mediterranean-style diet, with fish and other healthy proteins and a lot of vegetables, which will help you, maintain high antioxidant levels not just in your skin, but throughout your body. This type of diet will lower your risk of most diseases.
Taking several supplements will further increase your "inside" defenses against UV rays. Mixed catotenoids beta-carotene, lycopene, lutein, vitamin E and Pycnogenol, can bolster your skins defenses. Taking at least 2000 to 5000 IU of vitamin D daily especially if you're the indoors-y type- will reduce your risk of a wide range of cancers.
There's good evidence showing that antioxidant containing creams and lotions, particularly those with vitamin C or chamomile, can help maintain and maybe even restore younger looking skin. Taking omega-3 fish oils would be good as well. Since healthy skin cells are rich in these fats.
The bottom line?
You can certainly enjoy the summer sun. You just have to be smart about it.
At Jamie Lee Metz, Advanced Aesthetics, we recommend Epicuren full spectrum block and Solar Protection SPF 58 for the finest protection available in the market today. We also have a wonderful vitamin C serum from Image and Isagenix, which we all love.
For more information and specifics about what is best for your (type) of skin, call us at:
702-869-9330 or e-mail us here