It’s FINALLY summer. The sun shines longer. The weather is warming up. And if you’re anything like me, you’re filled to the brim with excitement — especially after having an unusual summer last year to say the least.
Summer is my all-time favorite season and I can’t wait to spend long hours in the sunlight.
But with long hours in the sun comes… lots of painful sunburn if you don’t prepare (especially if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that enjoys all four seasons and doesn’t see nearly as much sunlight during the other seasons).
And what’s worse than the initial painful sunburn is the potential for life-threatening consequences that could arise several years after the burn.
Now, we all know that sunscreen is important so I won’t discuss that here. (If you’d like to check out our recommendations for natural, safe, and effective sunscreens, read this post: Natural Sunscreens: Carefree Fun in the Summer Sun.)
Instead, I want to talk about some lesser known, “hidden,” and internal ways to protect your beautiful skin from harmful ultraviolet light.
So let’s look at which supplements prevent sunburn from the inside out.
Sunburn Preventing Supplement #1 — Astaxanthin
It’s best to think of astaxanthin as an edible sunscreen! Don’t worry — it doesn’t taste as bad as eating (or drinking) sunscreen 😉
Astaxanthin protects your skin from harmful ultraviolet rays from the inside out! It scavenges free radicals in your body, which helps prevent ultraviolet damage, skin cancer, and other cancers as well. This is why astaxanthin is commonly referred to as “Nature’s Sunscreen.”
That’s not all this powerful little supplement does though. It’s one of nature’s most powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories which reduces oxidative damage to your skin. In plain English, that means it helps your skin look younger by maintaining your skin’s moisture, smoothness, and elasticity — which can reduce wrinkles and sagging as well as reversing sun damage like freckles, age spots, and sun spots!
Dr. Mercola even calls astaxanthin “the supplement everyone should be taking.” In addition to protecting your skin from the sun, astaxanthin also protects your eyes, heart, joints, brain, and even your mitochondria. Plus, it can even reverse low testosterone and low sperm count in men. (If you’d like to learn more about this little-known supplement, check out this article: Astaxanthin: The Little Known Supplement with Huge Benefits.)
Sunburn Preventing Supplement #2 — Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil is one of my favorite daily supplements you can take to help prevent sickness, various diseases, and even cancer.
Plus, it’s great for sun sensitivity. And because of the vitamin A contained inside cod liver oil, it may reverse signs of aging on your skin and protect against sun cancer.
In a recent study, researchers at JAMA Dermatology concluded that higher vitamin A intake was associated with a reduction in the most common type of skin cancer. This was a massive study that looked at 123,570 people over 26 years!
Another study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that participants who supplemented with vitamin A reduced the risk of melanoma (a deadly form of skin cancer) by 40%!
Also, cod liver oil is packed with vitamin D — which helps boost your energy and support bone health.
Now, you might be thinking, “Why do I have to take vitamin D during the summer?”
But we still spend most of our time indoors — especially in the middle of the day when the sun is highest in the sky. So it’s wise to take vitamin D throughout the year.
And cod liver oil helps you “save two birds with one stone.”
Plus, cod liver oil contains a significant amount of omega 3’s, which help prevent UV damage from spending too long in the sun.
If you’re interested in cod liver oil, we have two brands I highly recommend:
1. Rosita — which offers softgels and oil.
Both work great. It’s simply a matter of preference whether you prefer taking softgels or using oil.
2. Green Pasture — which has capsules, liquid oil, a gel blend, and capsule blends available.
Each product is slightly different and you’ll see more info when you click on the links above.
Sunburn Preventing Supplement #3 — Vitamins C and E
The key to sun damage prevention with these two vitamins is taking them together.
When vitamin C and vitamin E are taken together, they protect against ultraviolet radiation and may even reduce your chances of getting sunburned. Woo-hoo — no more painful burns!
But that’s not all — a 2005 study from the Journal of Investigative Dermatology found that combining vitamins C and E reduced DNA damage due to sun exposure.
Specifically, vitamin C helps your body handle the stress of summer heat by lowering your body temp and preventing heat-related problems like heat rashes, heat exhaustion, and heat strokes. And since it’s an anti-inflammatory antioxidant, it can prevent and repair sun damage. (Please note, we cannot make vitamin C in our bodies and must get it from food or supplements.)
Plus, both vitamin C and E act as natural antihistamines — which can help relieve you summer allergies symptoms.
For vitamin C, nothing is better than this Perfect Acerola Powder.
My favorite source for naturally occurring vitamin E is Walkabout Emu Oil, which also contains many other helpful nutrients that are discussed more in depth below.
We don’t carry much vitamin E as an isolated nutrient in our store, but you can check out Garden of Life’s vitamin E here. (Or any kind of whole food vitamin E at your local drug store can do!)
Sunburn Preventing Supplement #4 — Emu Oil
Emu oil is another fantastic sun protection supplement you probably never realized.
Emu oil can be taken orally or applied topically to help decrease the effects of sun damage such as wrinkles, dryness, and sun spots. Plus, it keeps your skin looking youthful and healthy!
Aside from being a great natural source of vitamin E, Walkabout emu oil is also a good natural source of vitamin D, vitamin K2 and Omegas.
But that’s not all.
Pure emu oil is actually one of the best remedies for sunburn because it doesn’t have additives or carrier oils. And it will gently soothe your skin to make your sunburn more comfortable and less painful.
But there’s a caveat:
Only lightly refined, pure emu oil gives you natural protection from the sun. But fear not — we have the perfect solution for you 🙂
Walkabout Emu Oil comes from free-range, humanely farmed emus in Australia and is one of the purest emu oil products available!
Plus, they have three different options:
1. Capsules — Order Walkabout Emu Oil Capsules here.
2. Topical — Order Walkabout Emu Oil Topical here.
3. Liquid — Order Walkabout Emu Oil Liquid here.
Sunburn Preventing Supplement #5 — Melatonin
This is my secret weapon for napping in the sun 😉
But yes, melatonin has a surprising connection to protecting you from the sun.
Various studies have found that applying melatonin topically before you go out into the sun can lessen your risk of burning or damaging your skin. And if you apply it topically before you fall asleep, the collagen and elastin and antioxidant properties help heal the aging effects of sun damage on your skin.
Now, melatonin will probably make you drowsy. It is the hormone that naturally regulates our sleep-wake cycle after all.
That’s why it’s best to apply it topically either right before bed to reduce the damage or when you know you’ll be napping in your hammock in the sun for extended periods of time. (I mean, who can take short hammock naps?!)
We don’t carry melatonin in our store anymore. But you can search online or pick up topical melatonin from your local natural health store.
What should you do if you burn?
We covered the top half 5 supplements that protect your skin from the inside out. But what happens if you spend too much time in the sun and still burn?
Here’s what you want to do:
First, take extra doses of astaxanthin for a few days. Then, if you want to tan instead of peel and burn, slather 100% aloe gel initially while it is still hot. When the skin temp goes down use emu oil (or any good minimally processed, non-comedogenic oil loaded with E) on the burn a couple of times daily for a few days.
This worked for me this last weekend. I oiled up before I went outside instead of using sunscreen. (I’m not encouraging you to go that route, but hopefully you can learn from my mistakes!)
I spent an hour outside gardening during the late morning — when the sun is especially strong. Then I spent another few hours in the sun after 3:00 pm, playing and doing more gardening.
Well, I got burnt pretty bad spending all that time in the sun without sunscreen.
But I applied emu oil and Hoba Care Jojoba oil a couple times daily. And I took 3x the astaxanthin — about 12mg daily. I also have an aloe plant and added some of the fresh aloe gel the first time I applied the emu oil.
I had no peeling.
And in two days, my sunburnt skin became nicely tanned.
And there you have it! The top 5 supplements that protect your beautiful skin from the sun — from the inside out.
And how to minimize damage if you do burn.
Now close your laptop, go outside, and safely enjoy the sunshine 🙂