Mature Life Features

Cecil Scaglione, Editor

“Inside Outside” Helps Sun-Proof Skin

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 By James Gaffney

Mature Life Features

Recent studies suggest that taking carotenoid and vitamin E supplements, which has grown popular in Europe as a sun-protection strategy, may be an effective adjunct to sun screens in reducing sunburn.
The findings may offer some surprising advice for those who spend time in the sun and
want to protect themselves against damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays. The two supplements, natural
mixed carotenoids and vitamin E that are more-often associated with nutrition than sun
protection, were found to help protect the skin from the dangerous rays.
Researchers revealed in the March 2002 issue of American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that
natural mixed carotenoids and vitamin E reduce the skin-reddening effects of sunburn. This
bolsters results of earlier benchmark studies conducted in Germany.
“Beta-carotene has been widely used as an oral sun-protectant with few studies into its
effectiveness,” according to the AJCN.
However, clinical evidence suggests that beta-carotene modifies sunburn damage, and vitamin E
may assist. Sunburn intensity was significantly reduced in subjects who took vitamin
supplements over a 12-week period while being exposed to UV radiation.
“It appears from the research that what carotenoids do for plants, they can do for the skin,” said
Ronald Watson, professor of public health research at the University of Arizona Health Sciences
Center in Tucson. “We found that the natural carotenoid supplements reduced skin reddening
after the subjects were exposed to UV rays. While this may suggest a new idea in sun care for the
many sun worshipers out there, it’s important to note that these supplements must be taken along
with the use of sun screens.
“When we say ‘inside-outside’ protection,” said Watson, “we mean taking natural mixed
carotenoid supplements and also apply your sun screen on the outside all over your skin for
optimum protection.”
Supplementation must be administered for at least three months before benefits can be seen, said
Watson. “It takes time for your body and skin to accumulate enough of these natural carotenoids
to provide some UV protection.”
Mature Life Features Copyright 2003

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Written by Cecil Scaglione

September 9, 2011 at 10:00 am

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