Boost your SPF internally

While external protection is important, sun protection is also an inside job. Let’s talk about edible sunscreens; the foods that can help protect you against UV radiation from the inside out.

Edible sunscreens

Antioxidants

Plant foods are rich in antioxidants – fruits and vegetables, nuts, leafy greens, extra virgin olive oil and legumes – and therefore boast sun protective properties.

Basically, the antioxidant phytonutrients found in plant foods scavenge free radicals, reducing the oxidation caused by sun exposure that damages our skin’s DNA and breaks down collagen and elastin.

Certified Organic crops contain more antioxidants, according to this review of 343 scientific studies.

Fruits and vegetables are also rich in skin-loving minerals and vitamins, which help maintain healthy, well-nourished and protected skin.

Eat the rainbow

Eat the rainbow of plants – because vibrantly coloured fruits and vegetables are higher in antioxidants and other nutrients – and each individual food boasts its own unique group of these protective plant compounds. By eating a variety of different coloured plants you get a broader range of benefits.

Think reds (tomatoes, radishes and watermelon) for lycopene, greens (broccoli, cabbage, Brussel sprouts) for sulforaphane, orange colours (carrots, sweet potatoes and oranges) for betacarotene and purples (blueberries, cherries, beetroots, pomegranates and red cabbage) for anthocyanins.

Vitamins C, E & Pro-vitamin A

Along with mopping up free radicals, Vitamin C helps boost your levels of protective glutathione – an antioxidant your body produces to protect itself against free radical damage. You can get plenty of Vitamin C from kiwi fruits, leafy greens, red capsicum, rosehip, papaya, strawberries, oranges, grapefruits and watercress.

The acerola cherry in one serve of BODY Inner Beauty Powder delivers 100 percent of your recommended daily intake of vitamin C to help protect your body against inflammation and cellular ageing.

Vitamin E helps your body recycle glutathione and rich sources include almonds, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, wheat germ, soy and sunflower seeds. Vitamin E is also found in ANTIOXIDANT Inner Beauty Boost.

Asparagus is another rich food source of powerful antioxidant glutathione which also helps fight inflammation, one of the main culprits when it comes to premature ageing of the skin and body.

Compounds known as tocotrienols (found in oats, barley and rye) belong to the vitamin E family also help neutralise free radical activity and absorb some UV radiation.

Dunaliella salina, a nutrient dense microalgae found in GLOW Inner Beauty Powder is rich in a powerful antioxidant, betacarotene, or provitamin A. This skin-loving and health-giving powder is also a rich source of protective phytonutrients derived from 24 bio-fermented wholefoods.

Matcha, Cacao & Tea

Your daily cup of anti-inflammatory green tea or matcha green tea powder (equivalent to 10 cups of green tea) in BODY Inner Body Beauty Powder contains the catechin known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) which helps to counteract the damaging effects of free radicals triggered by exposure to pollution, UV rays, radiation, and chemicals, which can lead to cell and DNA damage. Tea consumption has also been linked to a reduced risk of skin cancer.

Cacao or dark chocolate (go for at least 70 per cent) contains antioxidants called flavonoids which may protect your skin against sun damage.

And a study by the University of Arizona found a lemon peel may have a protective effect against squamous skin cancer cells.

Omega-3s & Hydration

A diet rich in Omega 3 essential fatty acids will also reduce inflammation and help protect your skin from free radical damage. Good sources of Omega 3’s include salmon, sardines, mackerel, algae, flax, hemp and chia seeds.

Finally, drink plenty of water and stay well-hydrated, especially after sun exposure to maintain healthy NMF (natural moisturising factors) to protect your skin from dehydration.

 

It is important to remember that food alone is not enough to protect your skin from UV damage, so make sure you read our previous blog post about ‘Choosing the right sun protection’. 

Choosing the right Sun Protection

Feeling the warmth of the sun on your skin is one of life’s simple pleasures. And it’s actually addictive because ultra-violet radiation from the sun releases those feel-good hormones called endorphins.

Why we need a little sun

Sun exposure helps your body produce vitamin D, which is actually a hormone, essential for good health and immunity.

This fat-soluble “sunshine vitamin” also helps you absorb calcium to form and maintain healthy bones. Vitamin D has beneficial effects on moods, immunity, diabetes and glucose metabolism, heart health, hypertension and inflammatory conditions such as arthritis. It has also been linked to the prevention of some cancers.

Yet more than half of Australians are deficient in vitamin D, especially at the end of winter. So it is worth having a test to check your levels of “vitamin sunshine”.

The need for sun protection

Meanwhile, we need to balance our vitamin D needs with rising rates of melanoma. It’s worth remembering you only need 10 minutes of sun exposure on your face and arms each day to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Limiting your time in the sun to early morning and late afternoon is the safest practice in summer, especially if you live in a part of the world where UV is high in the middle of the day.

Aside from the melanoma, sun exposure speeds up ageing of the skin, collagen breakdown and wrinkles, yet less than half of us protect ourselves properly.

Choosing sunscreens

Choosing sun protection can be confusing and there are growing concerns about both the health and environmental risks of some types of sunscreens.

Sunscreen comes in two forms: physical and chemical – although some sunscreens are a combination of both, so it pays to get familiar with ingredients you may wish to avoid.

Broad-spectrum sunblocks: 

Protect your skin against both ultra violet-A rays and ultra violet-B rays (UVB rays cause sunburn on the surface of our skin while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin causing structural damage and changes to skin cells DNA that may lead to cancer).

A word on SPF: 

It’s important to remember higher SPF ratings do not mean you can stay in the sun longer. They still need to be reapplied regularly and after swimming.

Physical sunblocks:

Use the mineral-based ingredients zinc oxide and/ or titanium dioxide to reflect UVA and UVB rays. Some physical sunblocks contain nanoparticles of zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to make them invisible but that may also mean they can be absorbed by your skin. Or they may use ‘microfine’ or ‘micronised’ particles that are too big to be absorbed but small enough to not leave a white film on your skin. From a safety perspective, we recommend micronised, not nano-ised.

Chemical sunscreens:

Absorb UV rays and can sometimes contain a combination of chemicals that are known as endocrine disrupters because they can disrupt or mimic the reproductive hormone estrogen. Some of these chemicals are also allergens that can irritate your skin. These include ingredients such as oxybenzone and methoxycinnamate. Additionally, chemical sunscreens are released into the water while you swim, potentially causing damage to coral reefs and other marine life.

The online natural beauty mecca, Nourished Life has a great range of natural sunscreens available on their website.

Topical ingredients: 

Scientific studies show that some natural ingredients help to protect the skin from sun damage when applied topically. For example, studies show that carotenoids, antioxidants found in a range of plants, help to absorb UV and provide some protection from sun damage. Vitamin E also has been shown to help protect the skin from UV stress when applied to the skin. Ingredients including jojoba oil, raspberry seed oil, carrot seed oil, wheatgerm oil, macadamia nut oil, shea butter, olive oil unrefined sesame oil may offer some SPF but should only be used in combination with a measured physical sunblock such as zinc oxide.

Dream Repair Cellular Serum is a supercharged, antioxidant-rich blend of 15+ powerful ingredients including tocopherol (vitamin E) and vitamin E-rich camellia seed oil, plus pro-vitamin A carotenoids from micro-algae, tomato seed extract and sea buckthorn berry, which work synergistically to deliver a high level of antioxidant cellular repair, have photo-protective benefits and help to mop up sun damage as well as boost collagen production. Adding a few drops into your moisturiser with an SPF during the day may help boost your daily sun protection routine.

Protective Clothing:

Along with slopping on sunscreen, the SunSmart message is to slip on sun protective clothing, slap on a hat and slide on your sunglasses and seek shade under a densely canopied tree, or a sun umbrella. In other words, sunscreen alone is not enough.

 

Learn about how you can boost your SPF internally on our blog here

Papaya, Coconut & Ginger Smoothie

– serves 2

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 cup (160 g) peeled, seeded & coarsely chopped papaya
  • 2 passion fruit, pulp scooped out
  • 1/ 3 cup (80 ml) coconut milk
  • 1/ 3 cup (80 ml) coconut water
  • 4 ice cubes
  • 1 tablespoon HYDRATION Inner Beauty Boost 
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 cm knob ginger, peeled

METHOD

  1. Place all of the ingredients in a high-speed blender. Blend until smooth.

 

For more inner beauty recipes, click here.

Lime, ginger & coconut granita

– Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 limes, zest finely grated & juiced (approximately 1/ 2 cup (125 ml) juice
  • 4 cm knob ginger, peeled & finely grated
  • 3/ 4 cup (180 ml) water
  • 2 1/ 4 cups (560 ml) coconut water
  • 1/ 3 cup (80 ml) HYDRATION Inner Beauty Boost
  • 3/ 4 cup (180 ml) coconut cream
  • 1/ 3 cup (30 g) coconut flakes, lightly toasted
  • Edible flowers, to decorate (optional)

METHOD

  1. Combine the lime zest, ginger and water in a small saucepan and set over medium heat. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until reduced by half. Set aside for 10 minutes to cool slightly.
  2. Strain the infused ginger and lime water through a sieve lined with muslin cloth into a medium bowl. Gather up the edges to form a bundle and squeeze to extract all of the liquid and flavour.
  3. Add the lime juice, coconut water and HYDRATION Inner Beauty Boost and stir to combine.
  4. Pour into a small shallow tray.
  5. Freeze for 1–2 hours, until frozen around the edges. Remove from the freezer and mix in the frozen edges. Return to the freezer.
  6. Remove the mixture from the freezer every 30 minutes or so and mix it up. Once all of the liquid begins to freeze use a fork to drag and scrape the mixture and break it up into small ice crystals. Repeat this over 3 hours, or until mixture is fully frozen into delicate ice crystals.
  7. To serve, scoop into serving glasses or bowls. Drizzle with coconut cream and scatter with toasted coconut and/or edible flowers to garnish.

Granita can be stored in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 3 months.

 

For more inner beauty recipes, click here.