Summer’s imminent arrival gives us plenty to look forward to, but as we shed winter’s layers and begin plotting our travel itineraries and relaxation schedules, we must not forget: the sun is no joke. No matter how much time and money we devote to caring for our skin, it’s far more challenging to correct sun damage than it is to prevent it in the first place.
We’re big believers in vitamin D and the positive effects of a moderate dose of sun exposure—“moderate” being the operative word. Luckily, if you enjoy being outdoors for any extended period of time (swimming, sailing, hiking, sightseeing, or—gasp—a teeny tiny bit of sunbathing) you can help fortify your skin against summer’s intense rays with a little internal and external prep.
Fortify Your Skin for Summer
Some studies suggest that consuming a diet rich in antioxidants can help defend the skin against the harmful effects of UV radiation. “As micronutrients they are ingested with the diet and are distributed into light-exposed tissues where they provide systemic photoprotection.” (1) So what foods are most potent in their sun-fighting abilities? You’re probably eating a lot of them already.
- Not only do vitamins C and E work well together topically, but they support each other internally, and the combo, taken long-term, has been shown to reduce sunburn reactivity. Fruits and vegetables that provide both vitamins include dark leafy greens, tomatoes, and kiwi. Citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, and watermelon are excellent sources of vitamin C; avocado, sweet potato, almonds, and butternut squash provide vitamin E in abundance.
- Fruits and vegetables that are high in carotenoids are also known to help; in fact, “an increased consumption of carotenoids may contribute to life-long protection against UV-induced damage.” (2) This category includes carrots, one of the best dietary sources of beta-carotene, and tomatoes, which also contain lycopene, an anti-inflammatory and free-radical neutralizer. Even higher in lycopene: watermelon (which is quite possibly the most quintessentially summer fruit).
- Iced green tea—perfect for sipping throughout long, hot days—is loaded with antioxidants like catechins, known to help protect against disease and inflammation.
When we say our Calendula Solution is a source of essential nutrition, we mean it. It’s packed with powerful micronutrients that protect the skin from environmental aggressors: particularly beta carotene, which is known to help with photoprotective activity and defend against free radicals; and xanthophyll, a natural antioxidant derived from marigold petals. It can also help to accelerate the healing of sunburns, inflammation, and scarring—in case you happen to doze just a little too long on your boat/beach lounger/roof deck. (No wonder it’s Julie’s desert island product.)
Obviously—and most importantly—we encourage the use of a daily sunscreen, diligently applied every two hours if you’re spending time outdoors. It’s the most effective way to protect yourself against the sun’s harmful rays.