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May 01, 2017
by Vivant Skin Care
To kick off Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we’re looking at all the ways you can boost your skin defense.
We all know that sunscreen is an absolute must in protecting skin from the damaging UV rays that can lead to skin cancer. But is it enough? Scientists say no. Even a broad-spectrum sunscreen doesn’t block a hundred percent of the sun’s rays and, depending upon how diligent you are in reapplying, there can be some gaps in protection.
There’s a second line of defense that’s highly effective and easy to employ. Scientists recommend incorporating a number of chemopreventive agents, which on their own are not a replacement for sunscreen, in diet and skin care. When used in addition to sunscreen as pre- and post-sun care, these agents can help prevent and reverse UV-induced cell damage even when you’re not in the sun.
What are chemopreventive agents? Things like flavonoids and phenolic substances that inhibit, reverse or retard the process of skin carcinogenesis because of their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Getting more of these in your diet, as well as using them topically and in conjuntion with sunscreen, can provide added defense against damaging UV radiation.
Add more of these to your diet and your skin care for added defense against skin cancer:
GRAPE SEED OIL
Grape seed oil if full of something called proanthocyanidin (OPC), which is a natural inhibitor of DNA mutation. Grape seed proanthocyanidins (GSP) are potent antioxidants. In one study, GSP inhibited skin tumor formation and decreased the size of skin tumors in hairless mice exposed to carcinogenic UV radiation.
Add it to your diet: Grape seed oil has a clean, light, neutral flavor that makes it a great base for salad dressings. It’s also good for sautéing, stir-frying and baking.
Add it to your skin care: You can find grape seed oil in Vivant’s gentle Cleansing Milk and in our lifting and firming Wink Eye Rejuvenation Cream.
Compounds in tea called catechins help prevent and repair skin damage and may help prevent skin cancer. Green tea’s key active ingredient, epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), is an effective anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and natural sunscreen. Applied topically, green tea reduces the DNA damage that forms after UV radiation and has been shown to decrease melanoma cell formation.
Add it to your diet: Green tea is a relaxing sip and matcha, the powder form, can be used in baking and smoothies.
Add it to your skin care: Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser is a gentle universal wash for all skin types that promotes cellular repair, plus a clear, glowing complexion.
UV radiation is the most common environmental factor in the pathogenesis of skin cancer. Vitamin E absorbs UV energy to protect skin from photodamage. Topical application of this potent free radical scavenger is recommended before and after UV exposure. It increases cell stability and decreases cell mutation.
Add it to your diet: Nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils are among the best sources of vitamin E, and significant amounts are available in green leafy vegetables and fortified cereals.
Add it to your skin care: Vitamin C & E Therapy Spin Trap Antioxidant Serum is your number one must-have for protection from the elements. Use it every day.
The body’s most important antioxidant for intra- and extracellular protection, Vitamin C boosts photo-protection in skin thanks in part to its anti-inflammatory properties. Over time, vitamin C has been shown to correct previous photodamage. An inhibitor of tyrosinase, it also helps to combat the potential DNA damage from melanocyte production.
Add it to your diet: High vitamin C foods include bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwifruit, broccoli, berries, citrus fruits, tomatoes, peas, and papayas.
The photo-protective effect of Vitamins C and E is more powerful when used together than either alone.
Proteins (peptide bonds), absorbing lipids, and nucleotides are the skin’s natural sun-blockers. Protecting them goes a long way toward preventing photodamage that can lead to skin cancer. Allantoin is such a protector. A nucleotide that absorbs the spectrum of cell-damaging UV radiation, allantoin occurs naturally in the body, but is also an extract of the comfrey plant, which is used in skin care.
Add it to your diet: Allantoin is not widely occurring in foods, and whether or not the amounts found are significant is debatable, however, it has been noted in French beans, peas, beet juice and wheat products.
Add it to your skin care: Richly soothing, lightly firming anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory Allantoin Sedating & Hydrating Lotion is a great moisturizer before bed.
You already know it’s good for soothing burns, but aloe also offers significant protective effect against radiation damage to the skin when applied before exposure to the sun. Aloe stimulates an antioxidant protein, metallothionein, in the skin, which scavenges free radicals. It also prevents the suppression of the body’s most powerful antioxidant enzymes glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase (SOD).
Add it to your diet: Because of its medicinal properties, aloe vera is best used topically. There are plenty of proponents of aloe juice as a detox agent, but it also comes with caveats.
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