Thank you for sharing all your beauty resolutions in 2012! Keep them coming for I thoroughly enjoyed reading them! Of the many comments I’ve read, I noticed a number of you wanted to improve your beauty from inside out by having a healthier diet. A number of you even mentioned taking supplements and this is an area I’m very interested in as based on experience, I realized that taking the right supplement can really help improve our skin condition. Recently, I’ve been reading up more about the photoprotective role of oral antioxidants and here, I’m going to share with you some research data on 10 of them.
Antioxidants are molecules that scavenge free radicals and hence, can help prevent ultraviolet-induced damage to skin – yes, protect your skin from those unsightly brown spots! The following antioxidants have been shown to protect skin against damage in scientific studies:
Researchers have found that beta-carotene supplements have been shown to protect against sunburn, based on a minimum of 10 weeks of supplementation. So the conclusions is that beta-carotene supplements may protect against sunburn in a time-dependent manner. (source)
Research by Roddie McKenzie, Senior Lecturer in Dermatology at the University of Edinburgh suggests that selenium reduces damage to skin cell membranes following exposure to ultraviolet light and the protection is greatest if a selenium antioxidant is taken before exposure to UV irradiation. (source)
Epidemiological studies support a role for diets high in lutein and decreased risk of wrinkling and cancer. Recent intervention studies have shown lutein to prevent ultraviolet-induced carcinogenesis in animals and to improve skin physiology parameters in humans, including antioxidant protection from ultraviolet light irradiation. (source)
Data demonstrate that oral supplementation of lutein and zeaxanthin diminishes the effects of ultraviolet B irradiation by reducing acute inflammatory responses and ultraviolet-induced hyperproliferative rebound. (source)
Lycopene supplement can enhance the natural protective qualities of the skin against UV and visible light over a period of time but it might seem that fresh sources of food like e lycopene-rich carrot juice have better photoprotective effect. (source)
Pycnogenol can be extracted from the French maritime pine (Pinus pinaster). It contains flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which act as potent free-radical scavengers. Oral supplementation of Pycnogenol was shown to help prevent UV damage and the resulting photoaging. Pycnogenol also inhibits the inflammation caused by UV-exposure, consequently protecting the skin from sunburn. (source)
8. Omega-3s From Fish Oil
Skin cells receiving omega-3s were also found to be more resistant to UV damage and wrinkles as polyunsaturated fatty acids have been proven to reduce UV sensitivity. (source)
9. Vitamin C + E
Oral supplementation with vitamin C and vitamin E are often said to provide our skin protection against UV radiation but they have to be taken in high dosage. If you want better protection, you can take both vitamins with carotenoids although the sun protection factor was relatively small compared to topical sunscreens. (source)
Astaxanthin is a nutrient that is found in a type of marine microalgae called Haematococcus pluvialis. Interestingly, I’ve been reading various sources, including customer testimonies that Astaxanthin exhibited a pronounced photoprotective effect and countered all of the UVA induced alterations to a significant extent. (source)
Your personal choice
There could be other antioxidants that are available but I have not covered here so feel free to add if you know of them. I also know some of you prefer to obtain your antioxidants from fresh food and so do I. However, the reason I look into supplements is because some of these antioxidants are not available in my food source. So like I always emphasize, it’s a personal choice. In addition, you also have to take your own state of health into consideration when you’re looking at consuming such supplements. When unsure or uncomfortable, the best policy is to avoid.