Lucky as we are to live in sunny South Africa, unfortunately, excessive sun exposure can lead to an uneven complexion, lines, wrinkles and redness and is the fastest way to age your skin. We need a little sunshine every day in order to manufacture the very necessary vitamin D, which can even protect the skin from the potential damage caused by being in the sun! Sun damage to the skin accumulates over time and can be caused by just a few minutes outdoors at a time, so its important not to over do it, and also have the protection of anti oxidants. Most early damage to the skin is cosmetic and is caused by the increased production of melanocytes, the skin cells that produce the dark skin pigment melanin. The extra melanin can make your skin look tanned or darker after sun exposure, however, chronic sun damage leads to pigmentation which is a bit more difficult to deal with. Prevention is better than cure in this case and wearing sunblock regularly will help prevent reoccurring skin damage and help fade any previous sun damage. Skin cancer is a very serious risk that can be decreased by covering up and wearing a high SPF sunblock, sunglasses and a hat when you are in the sun. Sunblock shou ld be worn everyday, regardless of whether it is cloudy or sunny.
Eat more foods that are rich in vitamin A and other important anti oxidants. These foods include fish, eggs and brightly colored vegetables. Vitamin A is a natural antioxidant nutrient that promotes skin healing and slows aging and accumulated damage due to environmental toxins and sunlight. You can take a vitamin A supplement only with the guidance of your family doctor and pregnant women should not take vitamin A supplements without the supervision of their doctor.
Research has found that vitamins C and E, as well as selenium, can help protect the skin against sun damage and skin cancer. And they may actually reverse some of the discoloration and wrinkles associated with aging. These antioxidants work by speeding up the skin's natural repair systems and by directly inhibiting further damage. Other important nutrients for skin include CoQ10 and alpha lipoid acid, both are excellent antioxidants that protect you from the inside.
Pycnogenol with Vitamin D is a specifically good nutritional combo for preventing sun damage. Pycnogenol is a natural plant extract originating from the bark of the maritime pine tree, which grows exclusively along the unspoiled coast of southwestern France that is known to be anti inflammatory, as well as being a skin specific anti oxidant.
Pycnogenol works by inhibiting melanogenesis, the production of the pigment melanin, responsible for skin color) and lowers skin pigmentation intensity so that skin is a more even toned. A clinical study has demonstrated that Pycnogenol is effective in lightening areas of the skin that are over-pigmented, diminish skin discolorations, brown spots, unsightly age spots and much more.
Oral supplementation of healthy volunteers with Pycnogenol was shown to help prevent UV damage and the resulting photo-aging. Pycnogenol also inhibits the inflammation caused by UV-exposure, consequently protecting the skin from sunburn.
So wear your sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat and make sure you have antioxidants protecting you.