With oncoming summer days spent on the beach, in the pool or outdoors, the risk of sunburn increases exponentially. Most tanning agents do not have the UV protection needed to prevent burns and are not good substitutes for sunscreen. Tips to prevent burns range from using a sunscreen with no lower than SPF 15, staying out of the sun during the UV peak hours of 10 AM to 4 PM, wearing dark clothing to cover the skin and having a diet rich in antioxidants such as Aronia Berries.
Exposure to UV rays can lead to skin erythema (sunburn), which is a skin injury or skin infection caused by damaged sunburned cells and can eventually lead to melanoma. Antioxidants in the diet or on the skin have been demonstrated in some studies to actually reduce the number of burned cells caused by direct exposure to high sunlight. Antioxidants have also been shown in these studies to remove free radicals from direct UV ray exposure before the ultraviolet radiation can cause extensive damage to the cells of the skin.
In particular in a 2001 study performed in Arizona, volunteers with fairer skin were given a mixture of strong antioxidants to study the possible neutralization of UV rays with a diet rich in antioxidant properties. The study showed that with a diet high in antioxidants such as the UV radiation induced NK-kappa B dependent gene was inhibited by the antioxidant intake and led to some protection of the skin from UV rays.
It is the opinion of researcher, Iwona Wawer, a professor at the Medical University of Warsaw and a leading Aronia expert that “erythema (sunburn) prevention after (the) UV challenge was observed in humans’ oral ingestion of antioxidant rich extracts, (that) when planning a holiday on a sunny beach one should consume more fruits and vegetables or encapsulated extract, such as Aronia’s anthocyanins” to assist in protection of the skin from overexposure to the sun. More on Wawer’s studies and findings regarding the Aronia Berry can be found in her wonderful book “The Power of Nature” available at Superberries.com.
Wawer went on to state that a reasonable strategy for skin care should not only include seeking out antioxidant rich foods in the local supermarket, dietary antioxidant supplements such as Aronia berries or Aronia berry products, but also using quality cosmetics with Vitamin C, E or coenzyme Q10 and protecting the skin against UV rays in the first place. In other words use a good sunscreen or cover the skin with darker clothing such as synthetic fabric, Lycra, nylon and acrylic to offer the best protection against harmful UV rays.
As a person of fairer skin, thanks to my Scottish Highland ancestry, I will continue eating my fruits and vegetables and continue to make Aronia a part of my daily dietary regimen. Bring on summer!