By April Segal, PharmD, BCPS, APh
Remedy Pharmacist + Founder
Summer is officially here and we couldn’t be happier about it. We don’t know about you, but after months of staying at home, we’ll take all the sunny days and warm weather we can get! Now that we’re getting a healthy dose of sunshine, it is super important to make sure you’re keeping your skin protected.
Sun exposure has its advantages, including its vitamin D production and mood-boosting effects. However, sun exposure does cause oxidative damage = aging skin and increased skin cancer risk. To combat this risk you can of course use sunscreen, but is there more you can do? Specifically, are there supplements that you can take internally that help with sun protection? Yes, keep reading to learn more!
Antioxidants protect the skin from damage caused by sun rays by scavenging inflammation-causing free radicals. Vitamin C is one of the most commonly used antioxidants for skincare concerns. That is because in addition to its free-radical neutralizing effects, it also helps build collagen which is responsible for keeping your skin plump and youthful. You can get vitamin C via internal supplementation such as our Buffered Vitamin C by Integrative Therapeutics or Beauty Collagen by Vital Proteins which contains Vitamin C, Collagen, and Hyaluronic Acid. There are also topical options, which may get better penetration to the skin. One of our most popular is our dehydrated vitamin C powder, Holi C, by local LA brand Agent Nateur. Keeping vitamin C in the powder form helps keep it potent and unoxidized - simply add this powder to any serum or lotion and apply liberally at night!
Niacinamide (also known as nicotinamide) is an integral part of the niacin coenzymes NAD+/NADH and NADP+ /NADPH. Niacinamide has been demonstrated to play a role in DNA repair by providing cells with the energy that the DNA repair enzymes need. Specifically, niacinamide is known to enhance DNA repair and repair of UVA and UVB-induced damage. In a 2015 study in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers gave 386 patients 500mg of oral niacinamide or a placebo twice daily for 12 whole months. All the participants had at least two non-melanoma skin cancers within the previous five years and, therefore, were at a high risk for developing another skin cancer. Results showed that during the study year there were 23 percent fewer new cases of skin cancer in the group that received niacinamide (336 cancers) compared to those who got the placebo (463 cancers). If you have had to have cancerous or precancerous lesions removed or you have a strong family history, then this one is a great one for you. Many patients are on this one per the advice of their dermatologists!
EpiGalloCatechin-3-O-Gallate (also known as EGCG), the primary active constituent of green tea, has been demonstrated to induce IL-12 to increase the production of enzymes that repair UV-induced DNA damage. The proven photoprotective effects of topical and oral green tea include reducing UV-induced erythema, decreasing sunburn cell formation, and attenuating DNA damage. Our Green Tea extract by Pure Encapsulations contains 70mg of pure EGCG per dose.
As we have said before these supplements should not be used to replace sunscreen, but can be a great add on. Feel free to come and chat with any of our herbalists or pharmacists if you have questions on what is right for you.
Have a great 4th of July weekend, remember to stay safe and hydrated. Apply your sunscreen liberally - you don't want a mask tan!