With temperatures hotter than ever this summer, exposure to the harmful effects of the sun can be unavoidable. While it’s easy to forget the daily routine of slathering on sunscreen, damage to the skin can be done in as little as 20 minutes of ultraviolet light.
What we typically see as signs of aging can be attributed to sun damage throughout the years. Elastin and collagen, two proteins in connective tissue responsible for maintaining elasticity and shape, eventually break down under excessive UV rays. This causes the skin to wrinkle and sag, and may even delay the time it takes for cuts and wounds to heal.
Sunscreen: more harm than good?
Researchers have suggested that cases of skin cancer would shrink by 72% if children frequently wore sunscreen until the age of 18. A lack of protection can cause more than just a few age spots and freckles; a decrease in the skin’s immune function may lead to cancerous or benign lesions, discoloration and bruising. Since most of these issues are not present right away, some people work to prevent sun damage before it ever occurs.
Picking the right sunscreen in and of itself can be a challenge, as many brands are packed with chemicals that can do more harm than good. Ingredients like oxybenzone have been associated with skin allergies and abnormal hormone activity, able to penetrate the skin after repeat application. After testing nearly 1,000 brand-name sunscreens, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) revealed that almost 4 out of every 5 products either failed in sufficiently protecting the skin or contained chemical hazards.
Ascorbic acid to the rescue
So, what can we do to protect ourselves in our day-to-day? Many people choose natural, homemade alternatives. This is where Ascorbic Acid (a specific form of Vitamin C) truly shines, because it offers an effective shield against the sun without the unnecessary and harmful chemicals that mass-produced sunscreens carry. Many health gurus on the Internet have taken to creating their own serums and sprays, combining Ascorbic Acid with other beneficial ingredients such as rose water, a solution known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
Studies on Ascorbic Acid have revealed that both topical and oral supplementation may reverse the signs of aging due to sun exposure. It does so by lightening dark spots (hyperpigmentation), producing collagen and fighting against photodamage. It may also assist with skin inflammation, reducing effects such as lesions and wrinkles. Ascorbic Acid also happens to be an antioxidant, meaning that it serves to protect the body against free radicals that would otherwise cause harm to healthy cells.
It’s your turn
Understandably, everyone is different. Those with fairer skin tend to burn faster and more frequently, while people with darker and tanned complexions may incorrectly believe that they can skimp on the sun protection. Countless individuals have taken the future of their health into their own hands, swearing by the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach to supplements, serums, creams and recipes. Most importantly, always be sure to do your research and act responsibly; before you head outside, grab a hat and stay hydrated!
Crystalized Ascorbic Acid is available in bulk powder and individual capsules here.