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Protect Your Skin Like Mother Nature Intended

Recent studies have suggested that the key to successful sunburn protection during the summer is by working from the inside of your body, out. Now, before you go and chug a bottle of SPF 30, there is a more practical way to get the right protection under your skin.

The method that's already popular in Europe involves taking carotenoid and vitamin E supplements for sun-protection. In addition, these same vitamins now may be used alongside sunscreens to reduce the intensity of sunburn. Carotenoids are classified as free radical-fighting antioxidants that resemble those found in fruits, vegetables and plants.

The effects of carotenoid and vitamin E were published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (AJCN) and the Proceedings of the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine. Both studies enhance earlier German research performed on the vitamins.

The U.S. journal, AJCN, reported that natural mixed carotenoids and vitamin E reduce skin-reddening. The report tested subjects over a 12-week period and found that beta-carotene, and to an extent vitamin E, reduce sunburn. The Journal found that the two test vitamins work together to speed up the time it takes for benefits to be seen. During its study the effects were seen after four weeks.

AJCN tested 20 fair-skinned men and women over a 12-week period, and found those who took 25 mg of Betatene naturally mixed carotenoid supplements saw skin redness diminish after eight weeks, while those who took 25 mg of Betatene and 500 IU of vitamin E saw redness diminish after merely four weeks.

The experiment by the Society for Experimental Biology and Medicine tested 11 men and 11 women over a 24-week period. They were given 30 mg of Betatene a day for eight weeks, and the dosage was increased by 30 mg every eight weeks. The skin became more resistant to sunburn and UV light, and lipid peroxidation levels in the blood declined, which demonstrates antioxidant properties of the supplement.

"We found that the natural carotenoid supplements reduced skin reddening after the subjects were exposed to UV rays," Dr. Robert Watson, professor of public health research at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, said. "These supplements must be taken along with use of sunscreens. When we say inside-outside protection, we mean take natural mixed carotenoid supplements and also apply your sunscreen on the outside all over your skin for optimum protection."

Watson added that it takes at least three weeks of vitamin intake to see results of any kind. The body must accumulate the carotenoids before they are able to provide UV protection, he said.

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