SuperFoods and skin care go hand-in-hand. While a lot of skincare lotions are purported to contain nutrients from fruits and vegetables, science has found that eating SuperFoods rich in nutrients and antioxidants can help protect the skin against the aging effects of excessive sun exposure. In particular, nutrients like vitamins C and vitamin E, carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein and lycopene, and certain phytonutrients found in fruits and vegetables have been found to reduce markers of skin inflammation, to reduce skin roughness and improve skin elasticity and thickness.
Vitamin C seems to work in conjunction with vitamin E when it comes to skin. Studies have shown decreased redness after ultraviolet light exposure in subjects who received vitamin C and vitamin E supplementation, compared with subjects who did not receive supplementation. Basically, vitamin C and E supplementation decreased sunburns.
This does not mean that vitamin C and E prevent sunburns. You still need sunscreen. The studies show that supplementation with vitamin C and E only helps improve the skin’s response to ultraviolet light. It is this response to ultraviolet light that causes the redness, inflammation, and DNA damage that leads to aging and skin cancer. There is still injury in the subjects who took a supplement with the vitamin C and E.
Many cosmacueticals have been adding vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to their formulations because it helps the skin. Topical vitamin C is absorbed through the skin and has been shown to improve ultraviolet induced skin damage, pigmentation and wrinkling. The most important factor in choosing a topical vitamin C is to find a topical product that provides a stable vitamin C in usable concentrations.
Tea can promote good skin as well. Most of the research on tea has focused on green tea, but it is known that black tea also offers beneficial effects to skin and other body organs. The beneficial nutrients in tea are polyphenols. Tea polyphenols possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-carcinogenic properties. One of the polyphenols in green tea, epigallocathechin gallate, or ECGC, has been shown to be 100 times more powerful as an antioxidant than vitamin C and 25 times more potent than vitamin E. There is a clear sun-protective effect to tea, and scientific work on green tea as an agent for preventing aging of the skin is promising.