Before you step into the sun, develop a better defense with these promising practices.
We know you're busy, but adding one step to your beauty regimen could change everything. Research finds using a topical combination of vitamin C, vitamin E and ferulic acid (an antioxidant) can protect against the harmful cellular changes that occur in skin exposed to UV rays. Your best bet is to apply a serum followed by sunscreen in the morning, advises Lisa Donofrio, M.D., an associate clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University. Try SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic ($109) or Cosmetic Skin Solutions Vitamin C + E Serum ($40).
Green tea may not only offer protection against UV damage to skin but also induce anti-tumor activity by the immune system. And you don't have to go green. People who regularly drank two or more cups per day of any kind of tea had a 35 percent lower risk of squamous-cell skin cancer than non-tea-drinkers, according to researchers at Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. Tea "is beneficial because it acts as an antioxidant by protecting against the formation of free radicals," explains Dr. Donofrio.
Researchers from the National Cancer Institute found that people who consumed a diet loaded with foods rich in vitamin D and carotenoids (compounds that give orange, yellow and red fruits and vegetables their vibrant color) had a reduced risk of developing melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. "Nature has provided a way to deal with environmental UV radiation—and it's by eating whole, antioxidant-rich foods," says David J. Leffell, M.D., a professor of dermatology and surgery at the Yale School of Medicine and author of Total Skin. So next time you're grocery shopping, stock up on apricots, mangoes, tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, eggs and salmon. In addition, consider tossing grated orange rind or a few curls of lemon peel into a salad or cooked dish. University of Arizona in Tucson researchers discovered that people who consume citrus peel had a 34 percent lower chance of developing squamous-cell cancer. A hidden perk: the dash of extra flavor.