What you eat and drink can protect your skin from the sun

As a teenager in the late 1970s, a tan was the mark of a good holiday and the sun’s only role was to turn pale flesh brown. Never mind if your package holiday entailed being stranded in a half-built hotel, delayed in Malaga for 15 hours or a bout or two of food poisoning. Having a tan was all that mattered.

Things have moved on now as we are better informed, yet for many people the desire to tan remains. Aside from the change in colour, exposure to ultraviolet rays causes inflammation of the skin, damages the DNA and suppresses the immune system.

On the other hand UV exposure triggers vitamin D production, a nutrient that is generally deficient in the British population. Reduced levels of vitamin D are implicated in several health conditions such as rickets and osteomalacia, although Dr Google lists many more conditions linked to poor vitamin D status, ranging from muscle weakness to lung, prostate and breast cancers. Indeed many health professionals recommend supplementation and, ironically, one of the contributing factors for low vitamin D status is the use of sunblock.

Holidaymakers generally use lotions with a decent sun protection factor (SPF) when actively getting a tan, but neglect to use something daily when going about our usual business. Needless to say, you can’t avoid the ultraviolet rays that can cause skin damage just because you aren’t laying out with a towel and a swimsuit, and so the advice is to use SPF at all times.

What we eat can play a role in offering a degree of protection against the UVB rays as various elements with antioxidant activity have been shown to delay the onset of burning in the skin when exposed to UV light. While it is generally accepted that dietary plant chemicals such as flavanols and polyphenols can help combat oxidative stress in the skin, many questions still remain unanswered. These chemicals are found in most plants to varying degrees, notably in familiar foods such as green and black tea, cocoa, red wine and apples. Quite how much one would have to eat of any given food and also the levels of protection that this might offer are yet to be determined.

Another class of plant chemicals, carotenoids, has been found to reflect some UV rays, reducing their potential damage. There are several nutrients that belong to the carotenoid family, including lycopene and lutein. Lycopene is rich in tomato but is more easily absorbed in the human body from tomato that has been heated or processed, making tomato juice or passata a more effective source than a raw cherry tomato. Lutein, a first cousin of lycopene, is found in many vegetables such as kale and spinach as well as in egg yolk, olives and avocado.

The manufacture of skin cells is a constant process as those at the deepest layer of the epidermis are especially active, repeatedly dividing themselves to make new skin cells. These fresh cells are then pushed up through the epidermis towards the surface. En route they wither and are filled with keratin, creating a protective surface layer, which is then shed and replaced. It takes at least 30 days for fresh cells to reach the surface but it can take several weeks for dietary antioxidants to be incorporated into skin cells.

Therefore the polyphenols in a glass of red wine enjoyed over the spring bank holiday won’t provide any UV protection until the August bank holiday. In short, there are countless reasons to maintain a good diet, including protection against UV rays, although there are no precise guidelines available. Avoiding the midday sun, limiting sun exposure and sensible use of SPF is far more reliable.


  • I write here to look beneath the surface appearance of the issue as it is generally accepted and engaged. No one need give attention to what doesn’t resonate with their own interest and so please allow your own desire to journey in this consideration or not as your willingness and not as struggle. Language does not have to be a war of meanings – but that means receptivity rather than blocking and control – does it not?

    I feel their are negative synergies of effect as there are positive – and that denial and demonizing of our nature to promote man-made interferences of manual controls is deeply imprinted in our way of thinking as an expression of what and who we think we are.
    The ‘modern’ myth of more power over nature, more supremacy via ‘scientific’ extensions of perception, analysis and control is a narrative in which we are blind to anything that reflects and reintegrates to wholeness of being as a balanced expression within Life rather than an attempt to ‘lord it’ over Life as if apart from and in judgement upon it.

    This operates as a very complex masking narrative of mutually agreed definitions that are similar to modern finance in being more and more disconnected from actual wealth lived and shared – and more about managing perceptions amidst the redistribution of guilt as blame – played out as power struggle that masks and filters the feeling and knowing of Life by identifying in mask and model – and conforming or even sacrificing Life to fit the model.

    The loss of felt relationship is the condition in which the ‘control-mentality’ is invoked and accepted as protector – and by the dictate of such a ‘guide’ is one’s nature assigned all the attributes of the ‘control-mentality’ and Life thus seen as hostile, threatening, treacherous, deceitful, and untrustworthy – and so its ‘usurpation’ or substitution and replacement with self-limitation in which we can seem to be powerful – and which must be engaged in or the underlying fears and conflicts will surface.

    It is not helpful for me to recommend sun exposure as a primary ‘Medicine’ Way, because context is everything – and there are so many variables – including diets that deplete or deny the synergetic co-factors by which beneficence is felt and known as health. The divide and rule of analytical ‘defence’ mind is essentially the fight or flight response of denial and evasion relative to a deeper relational conflict that is pushed down or away – and denied awareness by the engagement in diversion of conflict that ‘must’ be resolved – yet the energetic for this is from the deeper inner conflict and resolving the ‘externalized’ issues never fully resolves – but seeds and reinforces the problem mentality – as a conditioned sense of seemingly autonomous self.

    What I write here may seem to be unrelated to your health relative to Sunlight – but I find any attempt to reveal the negative effects of man-made substitutes as part of re-wakening a presence of unified heart and mind is lost to the conditioned defence which merely flips to gain a sense of identity reinforcement from demonising sun-screen or transfat and low fat high carb processed diet – or much of the pharmaceutical interventions that operate political power in secret – because controlling the narrative is a kind of mind-control. A dictate of conformity and coercive demand that usurps, denies and substitutes for free willingness.

    Life without free willing relationship learns nothing but a conditioned obedience and grows or evolves nothing but an illusion of power that hollows and lays waste to our lives and our world – in the guise of progress. One doesn’t need to demonize the demonic or ‘anti-Life’ that such denial operates as – one merely needs recognize what does not belong in you as you truly feel and know yourself to be – and then leave it behind while engaging in what does resonate true. This is living from a different sense of foundation than the ‘guide and protector’ of the disconnected sense of self.

    We are never disconnected from the Life that ‘Moves’ and communicates Itself through us – but we are now expert at experiencing it so – and misinterpreting everything through a lens of fear that we are generally unmindful of as it is socially invisible – as long as everyone joins in denying it so as to keep a surface mind split off from such discomfort. Discernment of truth is not definition and control but felt relationship. Without discernment is one’s integrity lost to the image and symbol and concept of Life – and all such forms are easily masked by loveless intent that works in reversal – as if to escape relationship for a mental ideal of a static sense of freedom from disturbance.

    I predict that sun-screen will be recognized in time to have significant and synergistic negative or toxic consequence as does lack of sunlight. But then the reduction of health, wealth and consciousness of the population at large is allowing a very few to live out fantasies of extraordinary wealth, power and privilege – and so the information will not be ‘official’ until 40 years after the knowledge is first leaked or discovered.

    The body is an extraordinarily complex vehicle – but until the mechanism is understood, ‘scientists’ wont allow it or will push it in the long grass wile focussing on what reinforces their primary model of a patented or possessed ‘understanding or discovery’. This is not Science – but a corruption thereof. However, this is what is being traded as accepted currency – and all the institutions are complicit in their investment in it. Too big to fail? Then it takes down everything and everyone with it. There is no failure in true science – because something is learned or discovered from which to gain a fresh perspective. The application of methods to human ‘problems’ will fail – because the problems have original cause in false conditioned imprinting – and so the methods need to be guided and used within a relational context.

    The ‘materialism’ that posits cause to be external and the external to be a separate realm of separate things to be exploited and manipulated by a separative consciousness is not what it has presented itself to seem self-evidently to be. You are of and in and as a vibrational energetic expression of Life – or you would not be consciousness of
    anything. This is already true regardless the use to which you put your focus of intention and attention. Limitation of consciousness can serve to focus in very specific ways – but at expense of whole field awareness. Pausing from actively focusing and identifying in the dynamic of conflict which is the principle device for the ‘split off attention’ we might take as our mind – allows awareness to rise to its own recognition – as a field of being and indeed as a feeling of being. far from being a ‘void’ – the feeling of being is infinitely rich in information – but to the receptivity of an alignment in relationship. This is going on beneath surface consciousness that may deny it to seem a self in its own power – and if that is the active choice or desire – then it is unwilling for any other experience and will interpret accordingly.

    Relationship is often something we fake , mask or pass off as – such that relationships become replaced with forms of ritual behaviours without the felt quality of an intimacy in Life. It is unwise to fake an intimacy or seek to get it by guile – because it will then reflect the lovelessness that such a falsity really presents in place of true presence. But if it burns you – are you now proven justified in your fears and hates? Or have you set a lovelessness in place of an honest capacity to feel your right timing and relational positioning relative to all that is arising to your experience?

    And when is such a fragility become worshipful at expense of the power of renewal? So that power can operate in secret to explore and experience fantasies that would be unacceptable in the light of a shared awareness. We find our place relative to our current sense of our needs – and our need is never at odds or apart from the movement of our being – but mind has made it seem so – and so it is the mind that is to be observed and recognized true or false – from a perspective prior to its framing of conception and perception. Or else all things are rendered unrecognisable – and given all sorts of kaleidoscope meanings – real and imagined – but equally accepted true.

    • Wallace2

      I agree. Sorry can you run that past me again?