How to boost your sun protection from within

Last week, I mentioned that I’ll share some tips on how to up the ante on your sun protection from within. Most of us use sunscreen but are not using enough, or are not reapplying as required. Hence, it’s a good idea to boost our sun protection orally, primarily through antioxidant and nutrient rich foods to increase the body’s ability to protect itself from the sun. Here are five key ones that are supported by medical research and studies.

1. Heliocare
I’ve been taking Heliocare to boost my sun protection internally for close to a year now. The product contains three natural ingredients – beta-carotene, green tea and a natural fern extract – to reduce free radicals and increase our skin’s resistance against sunburn, amongst other benefits.  I don’t take this daily, but rather on days when I know I’ll be out for longer periods under the sun. It has worked very well for me and my husband, an avid runner and swimmer in terms of preventing sunburn and sun damage.

2. Vitamin C & E supplements
Those of you who are uncomfortable with the idea of taking oral capsules like Heliocare for internal sun protection would be happy to know that taking antioxidants like vitamins C and E can also inhibit photodamage. According to New York-based dermatologist Karen E. Burke, MD, consuming 500 to 1000 milligrams of vitamin C per day and 400 milligrams vitamin E per day has been noted to reduce photodamage, wrinkles and improve skin texture.  Additionally, Dr Burke indicated that consuming 50 to 200 micrograms of selenium has also been shown to offer protection from the damaging rays of the sun (source).

3. Fish oil and flaxseed oil
Research studies show that EPA, a kind of omega-3 fatty acid, helps prolong the time that it takes skin to get burnt during sun exposure, and also helps reduce the risk of skin cancer. Hence, omega-3 fatty acids have an important role to play in reducing the damaging effects of sunburn and protect the skin from the inflammatory response caused after sun exposure.  In one clinical study, 13 people with sun sensitivity known as photo dermatitis showed less sensitivity to UV rays after taking fish oil supplements Omega-3 fatty acids (source).  Omega-3 fatty acids can also be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils.

4.  Green tea
If you’re drinking as many as 10 cups of green tea on a daily basis, you are already already providing your body with some ability to reduce the damage caused by ultraviolet rays through the polyphenols from the tea. Better still if you also apply green tea topically to your skin to prevent more sun damage (source).

5. Tomatoes and watermelon
I’ve also written that eating  foods rich in lycopene such as tomatoes, tomato paste and watermelon can have a protective effect from the sun due to their lycopene, which is excellent for the skin and acts like an internal sunscreen by increasing its ability to fight damaging radiation. Other sources of food rich in lycopene include red bell pepper, pink grapefruits, papaya, apricots and pink guavas.

Consume in moderation
Besides these five groups I’ve shared, antioxidants in olive oil, cranberries, blueberries, pomegranates, salmon or sunflower seeds are also known to extinguish free radicals and can act as powerful UV protectors.  However, do note that you need to exercise moderation in terms of consuming these.   Don’t go crazy and try to down them all as doing so may create adverse health problems.  Personally, I take Heliocare, drink green tea and eat some of these fruits mentioned regularly.

Protection from inside out
In addition, these are not meant to replace the usage of sunscreen. You still need to protect your skin by actively using sunscreen every day.  But these are added measures you can take to protect your skin from within. And for those who are allergic to sunscreen, these tips may be useful to help offer you some level of protection against the UV rays.


  1. zhenling says:

    i would like to try green tea out. but it seems rather crazy to drink 10 a day!

  2. Vonvon says:

    Thanks for the useful tips.

    Regarding Heliocare, it also works by consuming just periodically?

  3. sesame says:

    Nah…very hard to drink 10 cups. I think the supplements are easier to work on.

  4. sesame says:

    Yes, it is effective half an hour after consumption.

  5. CT says:

    thank you! Very useful. Shall try to consume more.

  6. anadrol says:

    I drink 5 cups of green tea a day not knowing it has some benefits as sun protection. Well… I started this winter, we’ll see how it will work in summer ? Thanks for those useful tips!

  7. sesame says:

    Wow, you are able to drink 5 cups? That’s really good. I can only manage 2 cups at most.

  8. sesame says:

    You’re welcome! ?

  9. Jyoan says:

    I use a combination of most things without knowing it! I drink about 3 cups of green tea a day. And I just love carrots and oranges. I always make sure I eat two servings of citrus fruits, because they are more readily available. I also eat between 10 to 23 almonds a day to supplement the protein and fats in my diet. Trying to stay away from all the junk fats, cholesterol and refined carbs.

  10. Angel says:

    Nice post! I agree that boosting your sun care from the inside is a good idea. (Not to mention these vitamins/fresh foods, etc, all have other health benefits as well!)
    An easy and inexpensive way to get lycopene is to take tomato paste. (condensed, but holds all the vitamins) I spread a spoonful of tomato paste on my toast every morning and it tastes very sweet! ?

  11. Jess says:

    Thats my favourite green tea brand, but drinking up to 10 cups per day is not easy especially during all years summer day in my country !

    Taking supplements will be easier choice, but always tend to forget and then I forgive ….myself ! ?

  12. izzy says:

    I agree about the 10 cups of tea / day. >_> not the easiest to do.. sometimes I can do about 6-7 but that’s usually when I’m sick or when it’s really cold out. Usually I only get in about 4-5 cups but I’m super excited that it does provide sun protection. I’m Asian / vampire lol I avoid the sun as much as I can and SLATHER myself in sunscreen when I can. Even during the winter I’ll put sunscreen on my face before leaving the house >_>

  13. pf1123 says:

    Hey Sesame! Just a quick note…

    I’m in sunscreen heaven! Hahaha….ie Australia (Sydney). There are loads of suncare products and very affordable.

  14. sesame says:

    That’s really good! I wish I had more discipline but I’m on a detox this week. Let’s hope I can persevere.

  15. sesame says:

    Oh that’s interesting…to put tomato paste on your toast! Not something I’ve tried. I like tomato paste on my noodles and some fried food but haven’t thought about it with toast.

  16. sesame says:

    I don’t always remember my other supplements as well. But I remember my Heliocare all the time!

  17. sesame says:

    6 – 7 is a feat! Btw, it’s good you slather on sunscreen during winter too. It’s a wise routine!

  18. sesame says:

    Oooh…that’s nice! You should be able to find a lot of good brands with well tested broad spectrum protection. And yes, they’re afforadable!

  19. CT says:

    Do you know where can i get decaffined green tea?

  20. sesame says:

    I thought I saw Lipton having one but I cannot remember if we have it here.

  21. claire says:

    why would you need to excerise moderation when consuming the groups that you mentioned and what can the adverse health affects be if these foods are healthy?

  22. claire says:

    I use the helio care during sunny out door days, it is fantastic!

  23. sesame says:

    I think all of us have different body chemistry and I certainly don’t want anyone to go overboard thinking that they could consume all of these and be protected from the UV rays so to speak. For example, 10 cups of green tea may work for some pple and not others. Or eating too much watermelons maybe too “cooling” for some of us.

    So it’s better to eat in moderation even if the foods mentioned are good. There are also cases of vitamin overdoses so one has to know where to draw the line. I take Heliocare and a multi-vit. On some days, I take vitamin C but I try not to do all at one go.

  24. sesame says:

    I love it too!

  25. redheadblondie says:

    Thanks for this great article! I’ve been taking an anti-oxidant powder with blueberries, goji and mangosteen so that I will not fall sick so often. Good to know that it will help with sun protection too ?

  26. sesame says:

    Your antioxidant powder sounds like good stuff!

  27. claire_cemolina says:

    Yes i think your right about that, I guess everything in moderation is healthiest =)

    I take vital greens powder and organic phyto protein every second day because I’m trying really hard to get as much as I can from natural foods.

    Its just so sad that fresh foods have many chemicals inside them and the organic products are so expensive!

  28. sesame says:

    Yes, I agree…I want to eat more organic food but they’re so ex! And I’m really disturbed about the horror stories of how our food crops and even poultry are being manipulated so that more money can be made in the quickest possible time. Maybe food in a pill is not a bad idea after all.

  29. Crow says:

    Have you ever doen any research into this tanning drug ? Provides a tan with no sun for 3 months.

    I dont trust it as I have melasma so I would likely just get all pigmented in strange ways…But thought you may be interested…

  30. Josh says:

    Does Heliocare have any other health benefits other than just the sun protection?

  31. sesame says:

    It’s formulated primarily for sun protection – to prevent sun damage and skin cancer. So it’s good when it comes to protecting the skin and helping to reduce the free radicals. Don’t think it’ll help with the other organs that much.

  32. sesame says:

    I took a quick look and it sounds a bit scary – stimulating pigmentation? It’s well and good if it’s permanent and doesn’t create uneven skin tone later but like you…I’m not sure. I wouldn’t try it for sure.

  33. Poppui says:

    i would like to try drink the supplements but can you advise to me which brands??

    your article very usefull#k8SjZc9Dxk#k8SjZc9Dxk

  34. sesame says:

    Supplements for sun protection? The one I took is in capsule and it’s known as Heliocare.

  35. sal says:

    I love your website. I’m taking heliocare too on days when I’m out in the sun. I place the heliocare bottle in the fridge, is that ok? Thank you.

  36. sesame says:

    Yes, that’s exactly what I do! But recently, I started taking every day because I read that if we go shopping for two hours at a mall with lots of florescent light, it’s equivalent to an hour spent under the sun. I need to check the source of that info but I’ve gotten a bit more paranoid and decided to eat every day cos my skin is predisposed to pigmentation.

  37. Cynthia Duepree says:

    Hi! I have been taking a UV protection supplement called ReadyRay every day and it really works great for me. It has a powerful blend of antioxidants specifically designed to boost your skin’s natural defenses. Just thought I would share. Love your site by the way!

  38. sesame says:

    Haven’t come across it but it sounds good.

  39. Sharon says:

    I like green tea but not sure I can do 10 cups. Definitely agree re the use of vitamins and supplements.

  40. sesame says:

    10 cups is too much…I think it’s best to moderate with balance of other food.

  41. umamahesh says:

    hi sesame just came accross ur blog. v informative and interesting too. i stay in kerala, in south India. i would like to knw whether i can take tomato sauce instead of tomato paste?? and how much quantity daily shouldone take. it would be v helpful if u reply.
    awaiting ur reply.
    thanking u.

  42. Sesame says:

    As long as the tomato sauce is made from tomatoes, it is as good. Hmm…quantity depends but just take moderately. No need to take it excessively.

Leave a Reply