How to protect the skin from premature aging caused by UV rays? In addition to sunscreen, caps and umbrellas, some vegetables, eaten or applied to the skin, can also help. We talk about it on the basis of a very recent scientific research that appeared in Nutrients magazine a few days ago and published by a Polish team (Moskwa et al, Nutrients, 2023).
Skin aging, what it is and its causes
Skin aging is a physiological phenomenon and, despite the numerous researches dedicated to the subject, still little known. What is known is that skin aging can be accelerated by some external factors, such as stress, pollution, cigarette smoke but, above all, the sun's rays. Indeed, it seems that the main culprits are precisely UV rays, capable of favoring at least 80% of all cases of premature skin aging, with wrinkles, dark spots, dry and dehydrated skin, but also mutations at the DNA level and even cellular degeneration. What can we do to protect the skin from UV rays?
How to protect your skin from the sun
Living without the sun is impossible. In addition, the sun, if taken in moderation, is also beneficial since it is the main source of vitamin D, improves mood but also helps keep blood pressure under control. But what we can do is protect ourselves. Sunscreens, protections such as clothes, hats, glasses and umbrellas, but also avoiding the central hours of the day are all excellent practices that counteract the damage of UV rays. But it is also possible to add other valuable allies. In particular, including some vegetables in your diet and applying them topically are actions capable of counteracting the excess of free radicals favored by UV rays. But what are the foods that more than others prove to be protective for the skin? The article we are talking about today makes a complete list of them.
Vegetables to include in your diet to protect your skin
Vegetables provide vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants and are considered among the healthiest foods there are. For the purpose of protecting the skin from UV damage, broccoli, cucumber, kale, tomatoes and carrots are worth mentioning. Indeed, sulforaphane in broccoli, which is a valuable antioxidant, has been shown to mitigate the effects of UV rays on the skin and to reduce the skin's sensitivity to the sun and its susceptibility to erythema. Even the lutein and quercetin contained in broccoli are able to reduce premature aging caused by UV rays, counteracting wrinkles and promoting collagen synthesis. Cucumber is a concentrate of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and lutein, which counteract sun damage. Kale is considered a superfood, in fact, it provides vitamins C, E and A, lutein, beta carotene, sulforaphane and polyphenols. These substances help slow down skin aging, counteract cellular degeneration and thinning of the skin, which is a typical effect caused by UV rays. Tomatoes are also valuable foods when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun. In fact, consuming tomatoes helps to counteract photoaging. Cooked tomatoes are a precious source of lycopene while raw tomatoes in salads provide vitamins, minerals and phenolic compounds, all substances useful for skin protection, even if lycopene has shown the greatest protective action. Studies have shown that consuming 40 grams of tomato paste every day increases carotenoid levels in the skin and reduces skin inflammation. Carrots, thanks to the beta carotene and lutein they contain, counteract sun damage.
Vegetables can also become precious rejuvenating cosmetics
These vegetables, just seen, benefit the skin even when applied externally, such as masks or packs. In fact, the pureed cucumber and used as a mask on sunburnt skin acts as a soothing and refreshing agent, capable of improving hydration and softness. Tomatoes can also be applied to the skin and this has been shown to reduce the risk of skin cell degeneration. Simply blend a ripe tomato and apply it evenly to the skin, avoiding the eye area. Leave for 15 minutes, then remove the tomato with a tissue and rinse. As far as carrots are concerned, carrot seed oil is a precious cosmetic, capable of slowing down skin aging and the damage caused by free radicals. One last curiosity, broccoli juice counteracts warts.
Broccoli, carrots, kale, cucumber and tomatoes, these are the vegetables that should never be missing on the table and even as DIY cosmetics. In fact, including these vegetables in your diet and using them to make face masks has been shown to counteract premature skin aging caused, in large part, by free radicals stimulated by exposure to UV rays. The skin is brighter, plumped, rejuvenated, with fewer wrinkles, more elastic and hydrated. Not only that, thanks to these vegetables the skin is more resistant to the sun and the risk of sunburn but also of skin cell degeneration is reduced.