Although we all know sun protection is an everyday must, sometimes we can barely remember to run a brush through your hair, let alone pay extra attention to ensuring our skin’s safety from the sun’s harmful rays. If unavoidable days like this sound familiar, and happen a little too frequently, nutritional therapist Alice Mackintosh suggests there are easy ways to keep yourself covered, including food, she says, “Some nutrients help to strengthen skin cells to make them less susceptible to sun damage, and others help to reduce photosensitivity in the skin.” Although she maintains, “there is no getting away from the fact that a good SPF will offer a much stronger protection against the suns damaging rays,” there are six micronutrients she recommends enriching your diet with that’ll fortify your skin against the Summer sun.
What: This trace mineral is often an ingredient in sunscreens because of its ability to slow the oxidative damage to skin cells from free radicals. Zinc is also essential to the production of collagen in the body, which gives the skin it’s natural elasticity and youthfulness.
Where it’s found: Pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, garlic, sesame seeds.
What: This well-known vitamin has numerous antioxidant properties, one of it’s many benefits is that it helps to prevent and slow sun damage that can cause photochemical skin darkening and discolouration, which can lead to cancerous mutations and moles.
Where it’s found: Oranges, red peppers, kale, Strawberries.
What: Vitamin A works much in the same way as vitamin C does, and increasing your intake will help normalise your skin’s functions, increase blood flow to the skin’s surface and slows free radical damage, which all make your skin less susceptible to harmful sun damage.
Where it’s found: Carrots, sweet potato, kale, spinach.
What: Lycopene is a powerful phytonutrient that isn’t produced by the body, but when consumed (usually through red foods), it promotes the body in producing melatonin, collagen, and aids in the repair of sun-damaged skin cells.
Where it’s found: Sun-dried tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, grapefruit, ketchup, goji berries.
What: Mono and polyunsaturated fats play an essential part in regulating the skin’s normal function. They’re also responsible for keeping it youthful and moisturised and have anti-inflammatory benefits that lessen sun damage, rashes, and burns.
Where it’s found: Mackerel, salmon, flax seeds, walnuts.
What: Found in plants, resveratrol is a polyphenol that’s produced by plants when they’re under attack from certain bacteria and fungi. In the skin, it stimulates the production of collagen and has powerful antioxidant properties that enable it to stop and neutralise free radical activity.
Where it’s found: Red wine, blueberries, peanuts.