Using sunscreen? It might be doing more harm than good...

June 22, 2010
Volume 07    |   Issue 26

This is one of the most dangerous times of the year for one of your organs — your skin. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from exposure to sunlight causes collagen to break down. The result is old-looking dry skin, wrinkles, and “liver spots.” All are signs of photoaging. You can slow down and even reverse much of this if you avoid getting burned (the biggest risk factor for skin cancers). But this isn’t enough.

You can have young-looking skin by feeding it with enough good quality nutrients. Studies on vitamins and the skin point us in the right direction. But many of them fall short. They only evaluate supplements you take by mouth. This is not an “either/or” situation. To get the best results, your skin needs antioxidants both in your diet and in your skin care products.

Researchers have found that vitamins A, C, E, and B3 all help restore the skin and prevent further damage. You’ll find these nutrients in fruits, vegetables, milk, and eggs. In other words, by eating a healthful diet. Good quality supplements (not the cheap ones made from petroleum by-products) can assure you’re getting enough of them orally.

But what about nutrients in skin care products that you apply topically? You’ve got two choices: pharmaceutical prescription creams, which can cause photosensitivity or other side effects, or natural, nutrient-rich creams, which originate from foods. The choice is obvious to anyone who believes that “natural” is better than “synthetic.”

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But this isn’t enough to guarantee you’re getting the quality you’re paying for. Many high-priced skin care products — even those sold in health food stores — contain undesirable ingredients. These can include parabens, mineral oil, chemicals, soap, and harsh acids. Make sure that any topical products are high in antioxidants and free from harmful or potentially harmful chemicals, including artificial fragrances. This may not be as easy as you’d think.

I’ve been looking for products I could use to nourish my skin, and the best one I’ve found is Systeme  41, a skin care line developed by acupuncturist and herbalist Janet Zand, LAc. Not only have I noticed a significant improvement after using these products, so have many of my friends. Now they’re using it. You can learn more about Systeme 41 by visiting their website.

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