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Tanned skin tone: sun protection through a vegetable-rich diet
For most Europeans, tanned skin is the ideal of beauty. However, health experts repeatedly point out that you should not forget about sun protection when tanning and should be guided by the UV index. German researchers are now investigating whether certain foods can also protect the skin from UV rays.
Sunbathing is a health hazard
Although experts repeatedly point out that the tan achieved by sunbathing is not healthy, many Germans love to lie in the sun at hot temperatures. The skin burns quickly, especially in people with fair skin. However, this should definitely be avoided and the health risks should not be underestimated. Every single sunburn is added to your own skin account. This increases the risk of skin cancer. That is why it is important to always ensure adequate sun protection. Proper nutrition can also help here. Because some foods can offer some sun protection. German researchers now want to investigate the extent to which certain ingredients can protect the skin from UV rays.
Carotenoids lead to an orange skin tone
Australian scientists reported last year on a study that showed that eating fruits and vegetables frequently made the skin look younger and much more attractive.
A vegetable-rich menu brings even more advantages. It has long been known that a diet rich in carrots and tomatoes offers a certain amount of sun protection, because the storage of carotenoids in the fatty tissue leads to an orange skin tone.
This applies to the time immediately after exposure to UV radiation. In addition, there has been increasing evidence in recent years that cell damage occurs hours after exposure to light.
Protection against delayed damage?
Building on this, nutritionists at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf now want to investigate more closely whether carotenoids can also protect against this time-delayed damage.
The joint research project "Protective effects of carotenoid-rich foods against DNA damage from reactions of chemically induced triplet states of melanin derivatives" is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).
"Excessive sun exposure is the main risk factor for skin cancer," explains PD Dr. Volker Böhm from the Institute for Nutritional Sciences at the University of Jena in a message.
“Applying a sunscreen is generally recommended to prevent malignant skin tumors. We will check whether, as a supplementary measure, food ingredients such as carotenoids offer endogenous protection. "
Intensive sunbathing has become a real leisure sport
After sunbathing, the brown pigment melanin forms in the skin as a sunscreen. In undesirable side reactions, however, this can also result in reactive compounds that oxidatively damage cells and possibly lead to skin cancer.
"We look at whether carotenoids, which act as antioxidants, interrupt this chain of reactions and whether they can be used to counteract them," explains Prof. Dr. Wilhelm Stahl from the Institute of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I at the University of Düsseldorf.
For the investigations, carotenoids are introduced into the skin cell or into the cell model both in isolated form and in foods such as tomato or carrot concentrate.
This is intended to prove whether the reddish-coloring pigments can prevent the time-delayed formation of DNA damage in the skin.
"Especially in times when intensive sunbathing has become a leisure sport, and in view of the aging society, the relevance of this question increases," says Dr. Bohm.
Positive nutritional recommendations
"Afterwards we would like to give positive nutritional recommendations that contribute to skin protection when sunbathing," says Prof. Stahl as a result.
Carotenoids such as lutein and lycopene are secondary plant ingredients and are found in many types of fruit and vegetables. Their share is particularly high in carrots, tomatoes, spinach and pumpkin.
In addition to the right nutrition, it is still important for sun protection not to save when applying cream. It also depends on the skin type. It is also advised to stay in the shade a lot. (ad)