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The skin is the body’s largest organ and acts as a shield against external aggravators, including the sun. Although the sun is essential for absorbing vitamin D, we now know that excessive exposure can cause irreversible damage, from premature aging to skin cancer. This is why for almost 40 years, Environment Canada has published the Ultraviolet (UV) Index in its weather forecast, promoting public awareness and education about the risks associated with UV radiation and the importance of protective measures.

Did you know that UV protection goes much deeper than using regular sunscreens?

Antioxidants are the skin’s natural allies against UV rays

Nature is full of treasures that protect our epidermis from the sun. Plants have developed fascinating and sophisticated mechanisms to defend themselves against UV rays, and these same mechanisms can benefit our skin! A 2009 study in the Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology revealed that extracts from certain plants can provide protection against UV-induced damage through their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

Taking epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an extract found in green tea, as a supplement, has shown some potential in terms of microcirculation, photoprotection and overall skin quality in women. If you tend to get age spots (dark spots on your skin), an antioxidant supplement with polyphenol, flavonoid and catechins could be worthwhile.

Vitamins C, E and selenium are essential nutrients for resilient skin

Who said vitamin C was only for cold season? In addition to promoting collagen synthesis, firmness and skin hydration, studies have shown that vitamin C can reduce skin damage from overexposure to the sun. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits, leafy vegetables and capsules that come in different doses for all family members.

Vitamin E, found in foods such as nuts and seeds, has photoprotective properties and helps strengthen the skin barrier. If you tend to sunburn easily, you might be able to prevent it with a vitamin E supplement. As with all fat-soluble vitamins, it’s important to consult a health care professional before taking this type of supplement in the long term.

When it comes to minerals, selenium seems to help combat oxidative stress for cells and premature aging of the skin.

Make sure to diversify your diet as much as possible to get all these essential nutrients. You can find multivitamins on the market that include vitamins C, E and selenium to give your skin a complete antioxidant boost!

Oils that moisturize and protect

Carrot oil is rich in beta-carotene and vitamin A, which help to mitigate the effects of ultraviolet rays. Whether applied with a natural sunscreen or after sun exposure, carrot oil is particularly popular because it gives the skin a tanned and satiny look!

Finally, regular consumption of essential fatty acids found in vegetable oils and fish oil helps keep the skin hydrated and supple while strengthening its resistance to UV damage. Eating these fatty acids regularly in your diet or taking them as supplements are great ways to strengthen your skin barrier.

Emma Lecky and Catherine Turnbull, ÉESNQ graduates in Naturopathy

École d’enseignement supérieur de naturopathie du Québec

The health and medical information published or presented in this article is the opinion of the author only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Readers should use their judgment. It is their responsibility to independently verify the information provided in the article. The contents of this article are for discussion and informative purposes only and should never be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. A medical professional is the only person who can evaluate your health and give you advice following a medical examination. Rachelle Béry will not be liable for any of the information presented in this article or in any associated links, nor the use or misuse of the information.

Sources et références :

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Petruk, G., Del Giudice, R., Rigano, M. M., & Monti, D. M. (2018). Antioxidants from Plants Protect against Skin Photoaging. Oxidative medicine and cellular longevity, 2018, 1454936.

Kapoor, M. P., Sugita, M., Fukuzawa, Y., Timm, D., Ozeki, M., & Okubo, T. (2021). Green Tea Catechin Association with Ultraviolet Radiation-Induced Erythema : A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland), 26(12), 3702.

Stahl W & al.Lycopene-rich products and dietary photoprotection, Photochem Photobiol Sci, 2006 Feb;5(2):238-42. Epub 2005 Aug 12.

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