As much as we all look glowing and gorgeous and healthy with a tan, it's definitely a short-term benefit. Because we all know the risks of sun damage; over-exposure to UVA and UVB rays can be dangerous in the long run, with some repercussions being as extreme as skin cancer.
So it's good to know that there are things we can do - as well as making sure we're slathering on the sun cream - to protect our bodies from the burn. Like adapting our diet, for example.
Because who knew that the food you put in your body can actually help protect our skin from sun rays? I definitely didn't. But because it's all about being sensible in the sun (as infrequently as it arrives here in the UK), we spoke to health and fitness app Lifesum's in-house nutritionist, Frida Harju, to get the lowdown.
So here's what you should be scoffing on during those sunbathing days (in between applications of sunscreen, of course):
"Eat a lot of vitamin C-rich berries and fruits such as strawberries, blackberries and kiwi during the summer months," advises Frida. Why? "The vitamin C and the phytonutrient act like a natural sunblock and helps to prevent you from burning," she explains. Well, that's news to us. Roughly 100g of strawberries and 1.5 kiwis is roughly what you need.
It's the starch in potatoes that makes the difference here, as it "helps reduce the harm of the sunburn," says Frida. So does that mean chips all holiday long? Er, not necessarily, sadly. "Sweet potato is a healthier option, and is just like carrots high in the skin-protecting beta-carotene and vitamin C," the nutirionist adds.
3. Green tea
"According to a study, drinking two cups of green or matcha tea a day could lower incidence of melanoma," notes Frida. But she does go on to add that caffeine dehydrates you, so you should limit your intake, and make sure you're swigging lots of water in between.
This is another fruit that's high in vitamin C, and is therefore healing for your skin. "One serving of Guava contains five times more vitamin C than an orange," says Frida. There's one for the pub quiz.
"Oatmeal contains a free radical fighting antioxidant," explains Frida. Don't worry, I didn't know what a free radical was either until I googled it, but basically it's a molecule that causes damage to your skin from what I can gather. And she goes on to explain the plus side of antioxidants: "Briefly, as skin ages and exposure to UV radiation increases, skin cells lose their ability to regenerate". Antioxidants help with this, which is why you'll see the word on a load of anti-ageing products out there.
Cucumber contains mostly water, which helps your skin to stay hydrated (and is also why it feels soooo good when you put it on your eyes). But that's not the only benefit, Frida notes. "The vegetable also helps to produce collagen, which is a good anti-cancer property," she says.
These are packed full of antioxidants too, helping to protect skin from UV-radiation. But there's bonus points for the humble tomato: "Vitamin C and the lycopene (which gives it its red colour) found in tomatoes helps to keep the skin hydrated," Frida points out.
I'm pleased this one's on the list, because there's not much that's more refreshingly delicious than watermelon on a hot day. Frida explains that "this fruit works just like tomatoes. It's rich in antioxidants, which limit the UV-radiation on your body. Plus is also full of water, so eat three to four slices a day to stay hydrated during the warm summer months." Will do.
9. Dark chocolate
REJOICE, there's a treat we should be having. It's that old favourite antioxidants again here. According to Frida, dark chocolate "makes your skin smoother and protects from the sun's radiation," although she does add that chocolate containing more than 70% cacao is best (and advises not to have more than one bar per week, but you might *accidentally* miss that last bit of info).
"The beta-carotene in carrots, which the body converts to vitamin A, has been linked to reduce reaction to sunburn," explains our nutritionist. So that's a good one to note if the damage is done and you've already been burned.
11. White vinegar
This is another one to take note of if you've already suffered the sunburn and are looking for a way to soothe it. "Spray the white vinegar directly on the affected skin or use a compress," says Frida, and you should notice it calming down soon.
"This fruit is extremely rich in antioxidants, ellagic acid and has anti-inflammatory agents, which can help your skin to resists cell damaged caused by UVA and UVB rays," advises Frida, Plus, pomegranate is also supposed to be good when it comes to fighting against aging and sun-damaged skin. Two birds, one stone. Ideal.
Follow Cat on Instagram.
Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.
You Might Also Like