Is naturally occurring sun protection fact or fiction?

Read more from Dr Toby Nelson
Written by
Toby Nelson
Published on
June 8, 2023

Naturally occurring substances often contain antioxidant properties. This means that they can reduce the risk of damage to our skin caused by the sun by removing or neutralising harmful particles formed through sun damage.

Most naturally occurring antioxidants can be found in plants. Some of the most studied are the Polyphenols found in green tea, chocolate and even wine! Other examples include beta carotene found in carrots and leafy vegetables, Vitamin C found in blueberries and polypodium leucotomas extract found in a fern from South America.

All of these naturally occurring antioxidants are however not proven to reduce sun damage and therefore skin cancer to such an extent that they can be relied upon in isolation.

Most dermatologists including the team at Map My Mole would advocate using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF, regularly applying it to exposed skin, and following other sun safety practices are still crucial to minimise the risk of sunburn and skin damage.

The sun's intensity is typically strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If possible, try to limit your time outdoors during these hours to reduce your exposure to UV radiation.

Having a healthy balanced diet, not smoking, and taking care to check your skin for new or changing moles is equally as important. 

Naturally occurring antioxidants are however a great idea to ensure you are doing everything you can to stay healthy. Taking supplements does not mean you can stay in the sun any longer though! Melanoma continues to rise in the UK as does other forms of skin cancer.

Self-checking or having a formal mole check is important to catch skin cancers early, especially for those who love the great outdoors. 


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