You probably already know that sunburns are terrible for your skin. They damage the skin cells and may lead to cancer down the road. Conventional wisdom says to use sunscreen. But most sunscreens contain toxic ingredients. Some of these ingredients can lead to Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. But a new study says taking two common vitamins can greatly reduce your risk of sunburn.
In the study, researchers wanted to see if taking vitamins C and E could protect the participants from sunburn and its damaging effects. So they conducted a double-blind placebo-controlled study with 10 subjects. They divided the group and gave half 2 grams of ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and 1,000 IU of d-a-tocopherol (vitamin E). They gave the other half a placebo.
Then the researchers assessed the participants’ skin reaction to sunburn before and after 8 days of treatment. They wanted to see if it took a higher dose of UV to cause the burn. Here’s what they found.
In those taking the vitamins, the UV dose required to cause a burn rose from 80 to 96.5 mJ/cm2 (p < 0.01). That means it took more time in the sun to cause a burn than it did prior to taking the vitamins. Compare that to the placebo group. They saw their amount of sun required to burn decrease from 80 to 68.5 mJ/cm2.
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The researchers concluded that the vitamin combination does in fact reduce your risk of sunburn — or at least how fast you’ll burn. The vitamins won’t keep your skin from burning, but they will allow you to spend more time in the sun before you burn.
This is great news, as spending time in the sun is extremely healthful. But too much sun will damage your skin. So taking 2 grams of vitamin C and 1,000 IU of vitamin E daily during the summer is a good idea.
And if you happen to burn, what should you do? Simply take one of the vitamin gel-caps and prick it with a sharp pin. Squeeze the oil onto the burned skin and rub it in gently. The oil will help reduce inflammation, moisturize the skin (helping to prevent peeling), and the antioxidant effect will protect your skin cells from damage. Just make sure you use natural vitamin E, not synthetic. You can buy these vitamins at any health food store and online.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.