6

votes

Natural ways to increase photoprotection

Answered on September 12, 2014
Created April 06, 2011 at 12:13 AM

The question was inspired by this study link text

where cocoa flavanols were shown to increase protection from sun damage. Are there any other foods that would help do this? I am very pale and I'd like to avoid using sunscreen as much as possible without getting burned. I've been trying to get a base tan, but if I could protect myself from future wrinkles that'd be pretty good too.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on July 05, 2011
at 05:03 AM

On the flip side of this I have also read that avoiding PUFA at all costs (substituting SFA) is a good course of action.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on July 04, 2011
at 09:14 PM

Interesting. That's what Kurt Harris has said as well.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 04, 2011
at 09:07 PM

yeah for red palm. stuff is rad. it does dye your edibles red, though. vitamin E hardcore. I got mine on Amazon, think it was originally from wilderness family naturals.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 04, 2011
at 09:06 PM

absolutely agree. this is what i've done for the past two summers and it works without a doubt.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 09, 2011
at 09:37 PM

I just don't want all of the incidental UVA exposure while running around town, so I target greater exposure for midday when there is proportionally more UVB.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 09, 2011
at 09:37 PM

Generally, I do wear high PPD euro s/s on my face, close fitting large sunglasses, gloves and a hat (or umbrella)...and long sleeves. However, because there are undoubtedly benefits to be had from D exposure that we can't get from D supplements, I do also get some targeted midday exposure on my legs, trunk/back while keeping my chest, neck face, hands and arms covered as those areas have been overexposed most of my life compared to legs/back/abs.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 09, 2011
at 09:34 PM

topicals that help: ascorbic acid serum, green tea (must be properly stabilized) diet matters - dietary antioxidants from plants, tea, minimize PUFA intake (though keep n3:n6 in balance), more SFA as it's much more stable, keep blood glucose healthfully low (to avoid glycation of proteins), keep BMI healthfully low, proanthocyanadins/pycnogenol.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 07, 2011
at 04:24 PM

yes, which is already very low, but it's loaded to the brim and overflowing with antioxidants, so it's highly unlikely for the omega6 to become oxidized in red palm oil.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 07, 2011
at 04:02 PM

Omega6 are around ~10% right ?

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on April 07, 2011
at 03:53 PM

I cook my eggs in it.. the flavor works for some things, not so much for others.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:46 AM

I think it has to do something with a conversion mechanism or that some people just don't get enough vitamin D from their usual sun exposure. Anecdotal, my sisters spends most of her summers (2-3 months) at sea, has more tan than me but gets burned easily. It could be a million factors I know but I fint it interesting how supplementing D might help even the pale sun people.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 07, 2011
at 01:53 AM

red palm oil? totally. it's got a higher smoke point than coconut oil. like 425 degrees. but i was primarily talking about eating a spoonful of it as a supplement. see tropical traditions page of info on it. search paleohacks though for threads on it. i have some. the flavor is... um... interesting. but it's very nutritious. http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/red_palm_oil.htm

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on April 07, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Is it heat stable? Aka can I fry my potatoes in it?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I've read this too, from several sources. Interesting isn't it? Because the common idea is that you don't need VitD if you lay out in the sun, but VitD seems to give some protection from sunburn.

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:48 PM

Yes, this is true if taken internally.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:35 PM

I'm not even close to clear on this, but I was under the impression that St. Johns Wort contains psoralens, which sensitize the skin to UV-induced skin damage?

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:13 PM

Melanin is produced by melanocytes, in the skin itself. The pituitary gland does produce hormones that stimulate melanin production (collectively called "melanocortins"), but they are far from the only things that stimulate melanin production. From my understanding, it's UV induced DNA damage that is the primary stimulus for skin darkening/tanning.

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on April 06, 2011
at 02:00 PM

When I got my D level up, I also noticed that I didn't burn as easily.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1197)

on April 06, 2011
at 08:50 AM

Wow, that is really interesting and makes a lot of sense.

626a0ddca599721f53b2c698a1a99f87

(181)

on April 06, 2011
at 12:32 AM

I have used coconut oil in the past. One perk is that you smell like coconut. One drawback is that you smell like coconut. It didn't keep me from burning, but it seemed that the recovery time was much less.

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10 Answers

5
04293f705870e1837b8670d3c1cd5f67

on April 06, 2011
at 04:03 AM

"In Dr Sharon Moalem???s book The ??? Survival of the Sickest ??? we learn about one negative side to wearing sunglasses. When your skin color changes through exposure to the sun it???s because of melanin, a skin pigment created by the pituitary gland. The Melanin prevents the skin burning by absorption of harmful ultra-violet light. However, the pituitary gland can only determine how much melanin to produce via signals it gets from the eye. When the eye determines that it???s sunny the pituitary gland creates more melanin to protect the skin. Wearing sunglasses may lead to unnecessary sunburn because the pituitary gland doesn???t produce sufficient melanin. Next time you go out leave your sunglasses off for a short period and give your skin a break."

Ways to Prevent Wrinkles and Skin Damage:
http://www.skinexfoliators.com/tag/survival-of-the-sickest

I just read the book. Pretty interesting.
http://www.survivalofthesickestthebook.com/

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:13 PM

Melanin is produced by melanocytes, in the skin itself. The pituitary gland does produce hormones that stimulate melanin production (collectively called "melanocortins"), but they are far from the only things that stimulate melanin production. From my understanding, it's UV induced DNA damage that is the primary stimulus for skin darkening/tanning.

7e1064164e012a1ead098098245b1cd4

(1197)

on April 06, 2011
at 08:50 AM

Wow, that is really interesting and makes a lot of sense.

4
902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:30 PM

Carotenoids (beta-carotene, lycopene, and many others) have been shown to be photoprotective, specifically when located in the skin. There's preliminary evidence confirming that increasing your dietary intake of carotenoids increases your skin resistance to photodamage. This makes sense, considering we've long known that carotenoids tend to collect in the skin when there are high levels in the blood (like when people eat so much beta-carotene that their skin takes on an orange tinge). See the study below:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20637178

Extracts of several ferns (particularly Polypodium leucotomos) have been shown to produce a significant "internal sunscreen" effect when taken orally. Formulations are on the market, but they're not inexpensive... and I'm not convinced they're any better than carotenoids from the diet. Some studies below:

http://www.eblue.org/article/S0190-9622(04)01714-1/abstract

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9361129

I can second the benefit of vitamin D, which has plenty of evidence behind it.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 09, 2011
at 09:37 PM

I just don't want all of the incidental UVA exposure while running around town, so I target greater exposure for midday when there is proportionally more UVB.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 09, 2011
at 09:37 PM

Generally, I do wear high PPD euro s/s on my face, close fitting large sunglasses, gloves and a hat (or umbrella)...and long sleeves. However, because there are undoubtedly benefits to be had from D exposure that we can't get from D supplements, I do also get some targeted midday exposure on my legs, trunk/back while keeping my chest, neck face, hands and arms covered as those areas have been overexposed most of my life compared to legs/back/abs.

Eecc48184707bc26bce631485b5b7e34

(4764)

on May 09, 2011
at 09:34 PM

topicals that help: ascorbic acid serum, green tea (must be properly stabilized) diet matters - dietary antioxidants from plants, tea, minimize PUFA intake (though keep n3:n6 in balance), more SFA as it's much more stable, keep blood glucose healthfully low (to avoid glycation of proteins), keep BMI healthfully low, proanthocyanadins/pycnogenol.

3
84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 06, 2011
at 07:30 AM

Increasing my vitamin D levels (~50/60) helped me to stay out on the sun a lot longer without being burned.

Pale people here too.

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 07, 2011
at 07:46 AM

I think it has to do something with a conversion mechanism or that some people just don't get enough vitamin D from their usual sun exposure. Anecdotal, my sisters spends most of her summers (2-3 months) at sea, has more tan than me but gets burned easily. It could be a million factors I know but I fint it interesting how supplementing D might help even the pale sun people.

E7a462d6e99fec7e8f0ddda11b34a770

(1638)

on April 06, 2011
at 02:00 PM

When I got my D level up, I also noticed that I didn't burn as easily.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:52 PM

I've read this too, from several sources. Interesting isn't it? Because the common idea is that you don't need VitD if you lay out in the sun, but VitD seems to give some protection from sunburn.

2
93f44e8673d3ea2294cce085ebc96e13

(10502)

on July 04, 2011
at 08:37 PM

The more saturated fat I eat, the less likely I am to burn it seems.

0dbd7154d909b97fe774d1655754f195

(16131)

on July 05, 2011
at 05:03 AM

On the flip side of this I have also read that avoiding PUFA at all costs (substituting SFA) is a good course of action.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on July 04, 2011
at 09:14 PM

Interesting. That's what Kurt Harris has said as well.

2
23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:44 AM

I believe eating foods high in vit A is supposed to help. I say "I believe" because I'm hoping I'm remebering correctly (I'm wiped and my brain was ready for bed a while ago)- eat lots of liver for sure. Don't forget to stay hydrated- you'll burn so much more easily if you're dehydrated. Also, St. John's Wort oil is great sunburn protection that works better the more you use it.

*Tried to add this under the original question but could for some reason:

I mention SJW oil below but I wanted to chime in here and share my plans for this summer. I'm fair skinned as well, freckeled even. I've used SJW successfully for the past 2 years. This year I plan to infuse coconut oil with SJW AND rosemary(also protective against radiation because it contains a compund called rosmarinic(?) acid). To do this I plan on using fresh herb (stuff a jar with the fresh SJW flowering tops and fresh rosemary, then fill it with just melted coconut oil, let sit somewhere warm enough to kep it liquid for 3-6 weeks) BUT WHILE I'm waiting for that batch, I'll just make some rosemary coconut oil that way and add some already prepared SJW oil purchased form the store. Sorry for the long, maybe useless to you, explanation. :P

23cdea3bba94e17d2b58b525773d0c0a

(729)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:48 PM

Yes, this is true if taken internally.

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:35 PM

I'm not even close to clear on this, but I was under the impression that St. Johns Wort contains psoralens, which sensitize the skin to UV-induced skin damage?

1
Ce7e28769d92d5de5533e775b1de966e

on July 04, 2011
at 10:16 PM

I read in a science mag, hiii - big nerd here ::waves::, that lycopene in tomatoes and phenols in olive oil were valuable as antioxidants and that they gave added protection to the skin. I kind of would think then.. that anything high in phytonutrients would protect the skin in addition to vitamins c d and e. Eating your sunblock I guess :) Anyone have thoughts on selenium? For me, I did things 100% natural this year and just slowly built up my base and haven't burned. I'm blond and blue eyed but with olive undertones so I tan easily. I started with about 20-minutes a day and now can be out for a good couple of hours with no burning whatsoever. Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is something that I've heard many use :) Happy tanning!

1
Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on April 07, 2011
at 01:13 AM

So what I've found:

  • Cocoa
  • Green tea
  • Carotenoids
  • Lycopene
  • Adequate vitamin D
  • Tocopherols (Or just keeping pufa low to decrease need for vitamin e)

It seems like quite a few plant compounds help with photoprotection. I'll continue eating a wide variety.

Thanks for the answers!

1
Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 06, 2011
at 03:58 PM

mari,

echoing Jayan's answer, try taking vitamin d plus eating some red palm oil. red palm oil is the richest source of healthy tocopherols that i know of. i think's it's really underrated.

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 07, 2011
at 01:53 AM

red palm oil? totally. it's got a higher smoke point than coconut oil. like 425 degrees. but i was primarily talking about eating a spoonful of it as a supplement. see tropical traditions page of info on it. search paleohacks though for threads on it. i have some. the flavor is... um... interesting. but it's very nutritious. http://www.tropicaltraditions.com/red_palm_oil.htm

902a7cd8f96bbc917a04e92b1f49dbd7

(787)

on April 07, 2011
at 03:53 PM

I cook my eggs in it.. the flavor works for some things, not so much for others.

Cab7e4ef73c5d7d7a77e1c3d7f5773a1

(7314)

on April 07, 2011
at 01:10 AM

Is it heat stable? Aka can I fry my potatoes in it?

84666a86108dee8d11cbbc85b6382083

(2399)

on April 07, 2011
at 04:02 PM

Omega6 are around ~10% right ?

Af1d286f0fd5c3949f59b4edf4d892f5

(18452)

on April 07, 2011
at 04:24 PM

yes, which is already very low, but it's loaded to the brim and overflowing with antioxidants, so it's highly unlikely for the omega6 to become oxidized in red palm oil.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 04, 2011
at 09:07 PM

yeah for red palm. stuff is rad. it does dye your edibles red, though. vitamin E hardcore. I got mine on Amazon, think it was originally from wilderness family naturals.

0
E5c7f14800c5992831f5c70fa746dc5c

(12857)

on July 04, 2011
at 07:56 PM

The best protection is a slowly built up tan. Go out in the mid-day sun for max UVB(tan maker) and tan for 10-20 minutes. Do this everyday and after awhile you'll have a nice tan without ever having to get burned.

667f6c030b0245d71d8ef50c72b097dc

(15976)

on July 04, 2011
at 09:06 PM

absolutely agree. this is what i've done for the past two summers and it works without a doubt.

0
742ff8ba4ff55e84593ede14ac1c3cab

(3536)

on April 06, 2011
at 12:33 AM

I am also very interested in this because I do a lot of activity in the sun and spend close to ten hours in it. Pre-Paleo I was obsessed with putting on sunscreen because I feared premature aging of the skin and skin cancer. Now I just go out with a cap, I'd still like to avoid skin damage though. Hope to get some good answers.

Edit: I have also heard that lycopene, found in cooked tomatoes, protects against sun damage.

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