Most people rely only on sunscreen. While using sunscreen is usually a good idea, it's not all you should do. Protecting yourself from the inside out is even more important. And, according to a lot of research, it's easy to do.
Researchers found a great way to protect your skin without sunscreen back in 2008. They discovered that pomegranate extract can significantly reduce the damage UV rays do to your skin cells. UV rays, as you may know, increase oxidative damage to your tissues. And this study found that the pomegranate extract produces a higher antioxidant capacity in your skin cells, which protects against oxidative damage.
But that's not all. Another study discovered that pomegranate extract protects human skin fibroblast cells from death after UV exposure. Your body uses fibroblasts in wound healing and to protect your skin.
Still another study found that pomegranate extract enhances your skin's sun-protective properties by 25%. In this small study, Los Angeles dermatologist Howard Murad had eight people (five females and three males, ages 18 to 60) use pomegranate extract orally and topically. All of the participants had fair to medium skin types.
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Dr. Murad tested their minimal erythema dose (MED). MED is the amount of UV radiation that produces minimal erythema (sunburn or redness caused by engorgement of capillaries) of an individual's skin within a few hours following exposure. Then he had them apply one of four different sunscreen formulas (standard SPF 4 and SPF 8) with and without pomegranate extract. Then he assessed their MED again.
After that, the participants tested pomegranate extract daily for five days. At that point, Dr. Murad tested their MED again, and here's what he found. Adding the pomegranate extract topically boosted the SPF of the sunscreen formula by 20%. But you can improve the SPF even more if you take the pomegranate extract orally. That will add another 25% improvement in the SPF.
This was a small study, but it's only one of many that show how effective pomegranate extract can be at protecting your skin - even if you have fair skin. That doesn't mean you can bake in the sun all day. You still have to be wise in your exposure. But pomegranate extract can help. And it's not the only nutrient that can protect your skin. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) from green and white tea is perhaps the most powerful polyphenol there is - and it will go a long way toward protecting your skin. So will grape skin extract, broccoli sprouts, chlorella, spirulina, and many other nutrients. And you can find all of these in one powerful greens formula. Protecting your skin against the sun isn't something you should do just in spring and summer. It's something we should do year-round.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND.
J Agric Food Chem
, 2008; 56(18): 8434-41