Do Antioxidants Provide Sun Protection?

On a previous Tailor blog we discussed the importance of sun protection, the need for vitamin D from the sun, and some of your options regarding protecting your skin from excessive sun exposure — if you missed it click here. Now I want to explain to you how the sun damages the skin and how you can harness the power of nutrients to protect and rebuild the skin cells.

How does the sun damage the skin? 

The sun emits three types of light; visible light, infrared light, and ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet (UV) light is the type of light that can damage the skin. There are three types of UV light, the first is UVC light, this light doesn't doesn't actually reach the earth, it is blocked by the ozone layer. UVB light reaches our skin and penetrates through the first layer causing the skin to burn, and UVA light is the light that can reach deep down in the dermis layer of the skin causing damage to the new skin cells and structure of DNA.

UVB light is able to burn the skin, because the cells absorb energy from the UVB light which damage the cell walls and cellular DNA. In response to the damage the body sends extra blood to the cells to help repair them— resulting in a red hue. This type of skin damage increases the risk of skin cancer because over time the skin loses its ability to repair itself. And the damaged DNA can cause skin cancer lesions to form, without the ability to repair the cells these skin cancer cells are left to multiply.

UVA light reaches deeper into the skin layers where it’s able to damage not only cells but connective tissue too. Once the connective tissue has been damaged it loses its elasticity causing wrinkles and ageing. The skin cells in the deeper layers of the skin like the dermis, eventually work their way up to the outer layer of the skin, however, if the cells have been exposed to too much UVA light they will already be damaged by the time they reach the outer layer. This massively contributes to the likelihood of the skin developing cancer, as well as changing the look of the skin — making it appear uneven, discoloured and older than it really is.

The mechanisms by which the light energy (UVA and UVB) damages the cells is not exactly understood, but it is known that some of the damage is caused by oxidative damage. The light energy creates free radicals which are single election molecules which cause damage to the cells — known as oxidative damage or free radical damage.

How can nutrients protect the skin?

It’s possible to use antioxidants to protect against oxidants or free radicals. Antioxidants work by pairing up with free radicals and neutralising them so that they don't cause damage anymore. Antioxidants can be absorbed and utilised by applying them directly to the skin or consuming them as part of your diet. I suggest using both internal and external antioxidants to protect your skin.

Antioxidants are found most abundantly in plants and is where the majority of our diet based nutrients come from, and is also where Tailor harvest their antioxidants that are used in their skincare.

Here are a few key antioxidants to help protect and rejuvenate your skin from outside and within:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is one of the most abundant antioxidants the body receives, it can be found in most fruits and vegetables but is found in high levels in citrus fruit, kiwifruit, broccoli and capsicums. Tailor has included naturally occurring vitamin C in Your Blend Moistures extract 5 and in our latest gem Tailor Gold Dust

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fatty acid and an antioxidant so it is doubly nourishing  for the skin. Vitamin E is used in Tailor’s Moisture, Your Blend Moisture and Oil Cleanse. Vitamin E can also be absorbed from the diet — good sources include; sunflower seeds, almonds, avocado, and spinach.

Vitamin A

Vitamin A is synthesised by the body from a pre-form found in coloured vegetables, called beta-carotene. Beta-carotene is found to protect plants from sun damage, and this antioxidant works the same in humans. Sunflower seed oil contains beta-carotene, which helps to protect the surface of the skin from sun-induced free radical damage. Tailor has uses this in their Oil Cleanse. Dietary sources of beta-carotene can be found in most fruit and vegetables but especially carrots, sweet potato, mangos and goji berries.

Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG)

EGCG is an antioxidant found in green tea. Tailor has included Green Tea Extract in their Hydrate gel, providing a source of calming antioxidants straight to the skin where they can be effectively used. Instead of adding to your free radical load with processed drinks, try switching it up and drinking green tea or green tea infused with natural fruit teas.

NZ Grown Grape Seed Extract 

We've sourced a unique Grape seed Extract from grapes grown in the heart of NZ wine country. This exceptional antioxidant rich extract it's shown to defend the skin against UV damage. It's not an ingredient with SPF, it's skin protection mechanism is due to the high antioxidant content in the grape seed itself - perhaps it has something to do with our harsh NZ sun and the climate these grapes are grown? As we head into summer, why not try out the Tailor Renew  and give your skin that extra line of defence against sun damage to prolong it's youthful appearance. Win-win! 

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