We're made to live outdoors, and we need the sun to live! The sun's rays secrete endorphins and melatonin, as well as synthesizing vitamin D, all of which are essential for our bodies to function properly.

However, the sun can be harmful, since it emits ultraviolet (UV) rays that generate free radicals in the skin (in varying proportions depending on exposure conditions or your phototype).

An excess of free radicals damages certain skin components, including collagen and elastin, resulting in premature aging and the appearance of brown spots.

That's why, to limit the harmful effects of UV rays, our body has its own natural defense mechanism: BRONZING!

The skin is equipped with specific cells called melanocytes, which secrete melanin under the effect of UV rays.

This colored pigment is responsible for skin coloration and tanning. In particular, melanin has the ability to absorb some UV rays, protecting us from their harmful effects

To help your skin prepare for exposure to the sun, you can work from the inside out with the right foods.

By providing your skin with what it needs, you can promote melanin synthesis and enrich your antioxidant reserves.

Your daily diet can thus directly help your body fight free radicals to better protect your skin. This will complement the products you also apply to your skin.


Promoting melamine synthesis

By now, you know that melanin is responsible for tanning, and is our body's 1st protective barrier against UV rays.

It is possible to support melanin synthesis thanks to 2 types of molecules:

1 – Tyrosine :

To enable melanocytes to synthesize melanin, your body needs Tyrosine. This amino acid is found mainly in animal products and oilseeds.

Your diet can provide a sufficient supply of tyrosine thanks to the following foods: eggs, cheese, wheat germ, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashew nuts, chickpeas, avocado, not forgetting soy, bananas and certain herbs (parsley, spearmint, chives...).

2- Carotenoids:

Another category of molecules promoting melanin synthesis are carotenoids.

Studies have shown that ingestion of carotenoids significantly increases melanin synthesis. At the same time, there is less damage to skin cells. Carotenoids are in fact phytonutrients. They are the pigments that give plants their various hues. Carrots, for example, owe their beautiful orange color to β-carotenes, while tomatoes are red in color thanks to the presence of lycopene.

In addition to supporting melanin synthesis, carotenoids are excellent antioxidants. In other words, they limit the impact of free radicals on skin cells.

Carotenoids are therefore doubly interesting: their stimulation of melanin synthesis, and their antioxidant properties.



The most common carotene, β-carotene is a powerful antioxidant.

Once absorbed, this yellow-orange pigment is converted into vitamin A by our bodies. This is why it's also known as provitamin A.

β-carotene is mainly found in carrots, peppers (yellow or red), sweet potatoes, certain dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach and broccoli, as well as in many fruits such as apricots, melons and mangoes.


Lutein and zeaxanthin

In the carotenoid family, lutein and zeaxanthin are two highly antioxidant pigments that must be supplied by the diet, as they cannot be synthesized by the body.

Another pigment in this category, astaxanthin, has also been shown to have protective effects on sun-exposed skin, notably by reducing redness and improving skin hydration and suppleness.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are of plant origin, and are mainly found in fruits and vegetables.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are of plant origin, and are mainly found in fruits and vegetables.

Lutein is found in yellow peppers, mangoes, blueberries and green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach).

Zeaxanthin is found in interesting quantities in red peppers, broccoli, corn, green salad and citrus fruits, as well as in eggs.

Astaxanthin, on the other hand, is of animal origin: it gives its color to shrimps, salmon...


Lycopene :


Lycopene is best known for giving tomatoes their beautiful red color. Like beta-carotene and lutein, this pigment offers both antioxidant properties, effective against free radicals, and skin protection against the effects of the sun. However, it appears that its antioxidant action is twice as powerful as that of β-carotene and ten times more so than Vitamin E.

This red pigment, with its superior power, would therefore seem to provide better protection against the appearance of redness linked to sun exposure.

It's found in tomatoes, of course, but also in red peppers, watermelon, papaya and certain citrus fruits such as pink grapefruit.

It seems that the body assimilates it better when foods are cooked, or eaten with added fats (such as olive oil). You can also eat tomatoes or peppers cooked in a dish and drizzled with vegetable oil, as in ratatouille, stuffed tomatoes, gazpacho, piperade...


Other nutrients good for your skin

 Flavonoids :

Another group of phytonutrients is made up of flavonoids, including flavonols and anthocyanins,

Thanks to their antioxidant action, they help repair cellular damage caused by UV radiation.

Flavonoids are found in berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries), citrus fruits and herbs, as well as in coffee, green tea, grape juice and cocoa.

 Vitamins :

Among these, we note the importance of vitamin :

- B3 or niacin: protects skin cells from damage caused by UV rays. A daily intake of vitamin B3 is therefore beneficial, especially as it is little stored in the body.

It is found in liver (beef, lamb, veal), white meat, oily fish (salmon, tuna), bran-rich wholemeal cereals, peanuts, mushrooms.

- E: Well-known as an antioxidant, vitamin E also reduces skin sensitivity to UV rays.

It is present in wheat germ oil, avocado, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds...

 10 tips to protect your skin from the sun

 Eat local, seasonal, sustainable produce, organic if possible.

  1. Put color on your plate: at least 2-3 colored vegetables or fruit per meal!
  2. Start your meal with raw vegetables and choose a cooking method that preserves the nutrients in your food as much as possible: eat your vegetables while they're still crunchy.
  3. Use herbs and spices to spice up your dishes.
  4. Sprinkle your dishes with wheat germ, which is rich in vitamins E and B3.
  5. Drink one cup of green tea a day. Remember also to limit your alcohol intake, which significantly reduces the level of carotenoids in the skin, thus limiting their anti-free radical action.

Replace your glass of wine with a Mocktail!

  1. Opt for a mix of dried fruit and oilseeds for your snacks, as they provide the skin with the fatty acids it needs.
  2. Eat blue-skinned fish regularly: mackerel, salmon, sardines, tuna...
  1. Think eggs to get your day off to a good start: a nutritious breakfast with less sugar (jam, milk, baguette...).
  2. Season your dishes with virgin oils, obtained by first cold pressing and organically grown. High-quality vegetable oils provide good fats and vitamin E.

These nutrients not only improve skin elasticity, but also boost the skin's defenses against UV rays.

IDEALLY, opt for this carotenoid-rich diet 2 to 3 months before exposure to the summer sun. Afterwards, you can continue this diet to prolong your tan.

These skin-boosting foods are the perfect complement to the oils you apply to your skin. In spring and summer, opt for oil serums concentrated in carotenoids and rich in antioxidants: L’Élixir LUMIÈRE


Source : Oleaessence

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