The Blog

Sun and Tanning

Protection from excessive sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

1: With all your experience, what do you suggest to women that want a safety-tan?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a 'safe' tan. To provide color to winter white skin, try tinted moisturizers or self tanners. This is because in addition to the risk of skin cancer, UV radiation (whether from the sun or from a tanning bed) can also cause the following:

· Loss of skin elasticity
· Thinner, more translucent-looking skin
· Wrinkles
· Dry, rough, leathery skin
· Broken capillaries on the face
· Freckles
· Liver spots on the face, back of hands, arms, chest and upper back
· Spots or blemishes on the lower legs and arms

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a part of sunlight that is an invisible form of radiation. UV rays can penetrate and change the structure of skin cells. Protection from excessive sun exposure is important all year round, not just during the summer or at the beach; UV rays can cause skin damage during any season or temperature. Any time the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays are able to reach the earth, you need to protect yourself from excessive sun exposure. For many health reasons we do need some sun exposure -- just use moderation and avoid the sun during peak hours between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. during daylight savings time and 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. during standard time, the most hazardous for UV exposure in the continental United States. UV radiation is the greatest during the late spring and early summer in North America -- and probably very similar in Italy.

2: Which monthly (or weekly, daily) treatment (diet, or topic, or star food, esthetician ) do you suggest before leaving for sea holidays?

This advice is important all the time -- esp. before and after your holidays to counteract any sun exposure. The good news is that new scientific developments show that you can rebuild your body on a cellular level to repair harm caused by sun exposure. To restore your healthy skin...

· Enjoy anti-inflammatory foods. A diet rich in protein, fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and healthy fats like cold-water fish, extra virgin olive oil and nuts will repair your skin from the inside out -- helping to heal signs of aging like puffiness, roughness, and wrinkles.
· Take the healing supplements -- natural anti-inflammatories that'll give you smoother, younger skin. Try any -- or all -- of these: 200 mgs of alpha lipoic acid (100 mgs. at breakfast and again at dinner); 500 mgs of vitamin C ester, 50-100 mgs of DMAE, 100-250 mgs of GLA, and 1000 mgs of omega-3 three times per day.
· Apply the right creams. Any skin cream with high levels of DMAE, Vitamin C Ester and Alpha Lipoic Acid will help heal sun damage. You can try my Advanced Face Firming Activator day treatment and complement it with Concentrated Restorative Cream as your night treatment. You may ask your dermatologist for prescription Retin-A, which revives depleted collagen and elastin caused by sun damage and restores youthful skin.

3: What is advised to do during sun exposure? Is it suggested to drink a lot of water or to eat some special foods?

See the answer to question #2 and also stay well hydrated, wear sun screen, a hat and cover up during.

4: After the sun exposure (in the evening or at the end of the holidays), which is the best program to follow (restoring masks, antioxidants diet or any special food)?

Follow the advice under # 2. Also, take a Pycnogenol® supplement. Studies found that Pycnogenol acts as a collagen stabilizer by binding to collagen in the skin and maintaining elasticity, saving it from destruction. This action helps keep the skin firm and prevents wrinkles. The antioxidant also improves microcirculation of tiny skin capillaries which help support better oxygen, nutrient and hydration supplies to the skin.

Oral supplementation of healthy volunteers with Pycnogenol was shown to help prevent UV damage and the resulting photo-aging. Pycnogenol inhibits the inflammation caused by UV-exposure and consequently protects the skin from sunburn.

In pre-clinical trials it was also demonstrated to be protective against chronic UV-exposure induced skin malignancies. These findings point to a significant photo-protective and anti-photo-aging effect of Pycnogenol.

Vitamin C Ester, is a non-irritating form of Vitamin C, which is a well-known and highly regarded antioxidant with superior anti-inflammatory properties. Like ALA and DMAE, my studies examining the effects of ascorbyl palmitate on aging skin have been dramatic. When increased levels of this fat-soluble form of vitamin C are in the dermis, levels of both collagen and elastin increase. This facilitates a more youthful appearance by helping to reverse the thinning of skin seen in both the natural aging process and as a result of sun damage. Vitamin C ester is highly stable (unlike ascorbic acid, the unstable, irritating and water soluble form of vitamin C) and will maintain its efficacy over long periods of time. Its fat-solubility allow it to rapidly and easily penetrate the skin to deliver the therapeutic levels of vitamin C needed to enable the fibroblasts, which are the cells that make connective tissue, to produce collagen and elastin. These collagen and elastin-stimulating effects are even more magnified when vitamin C ester is added to formulations containing DMAE.

· And don't forget the super form of Vitamin E known as the tocotrienols. These provide our first line of defense against free radicals generated in the skin by UV/ozone rays providing the prevention of skin aging and damage by oxidative rays. Being a more potent antioxidant, the tocotrienols neutralizes free radicals at a faster rate and hence protect tocopherols.
· Protection against UV-induced skin damage and skin aging.
· Tocotrienols topically applied onto the skin was found to penetrate rapidly through the skin and the highest concentrations are found in the uppermost 5 microns.
· Tocotrienol-treated skin contained Vitamin E at concentration 7-30 fold higher than control values.
· Tocotrienol augments the efficacy of sunscreens containing compounds that reduce penetration of or absorb ultraviolet radiation.
These substances that offer protection to the skin when taken internally are especially important in light of the current discussions on the efficacy and safety of many topical sunscreens.

5: In your books you suggest 10 antiaging super foods: which are the best during summer to restrict the skin damage during UV exposure?

Eat plenty of wild salmon. One of the reasons I have always been such an advocate of eating salmon is due to the presence of the carotenoid astaxanthin (it also contains wrinkle fighters COQ10 and Omega-3 essential fatty acids). This member of the carotene family is responsible for the deep red or pink color of the salmon and has many wrinkle fighting benefits as does the entire carotenoid family. When taken as a dietary supplement, studies have shown that astaxanthin provides powerful protection against photo-aging, protecting the skin from the aging and damaging effects of the sun. Studies have also shown that supplemental astaxanthin supports even skin tone, significantly reduces wrinkles and improves skin's elasticity.

Eat your vegetables and fresh fruit including all orange, red and green leafy vegetables rich in carotenes including spinach, dark leafy greens, tomatoes, etc. Numerous scientific studies show that oral supplementation with carotenes, especially lycopene and beta carotene improve skin structure, have powerful wound healing properties and offer great protection from damage caused by sunlight. In addition to their skin rejuvenating and protective properties, the carotenes lutein and zeaxanthin also protect against eye degeneration caused by sunlight and other factors such as aging. Even extra dark chocolate such as 85% cocoa solids protect against UV radiation thanks to high flavonoid content.

Drink Green Tea--the polyphenols protect the skin against UV rays