Beyond Sunscreen: 5 Foods That Protect Your Skin from the Inside Out

Sunscreen is the best way to protect our skin from the sun’s harmful UV rays. But did you know that eating certain foods can boost our skin’s natural ability to protect itself from sun damage? 

People often forget that what we eat helps us adjust to changes in our environment, like the seasons. During the summer, sun protection is more than just putting lotion on your skin and staying out of the sun. What you eat is also a part of it. 

There are certain foods that protect your skin, and including these in your diet can help you maintain a radiant glow. These superfoods act as a shield for your skin even during summer.

But it is important to remember that these foods should add to your regular sun protection, not replace it. If you eat a lot of these foods and use a safe, non-toxic sunscreen, you can get even more protection from UV rays. 

So, let’s take a look at the five foods that have SPF qualities and protect our skin from the inside out.

Superfoods That Protects Your Skin from the Sun


Tomatoes have a lot of lycopene, an antioxidant that protects skin cells from the sun’s damaging effects. Lycopene soaks up both UVA and UVB light, which are the main types of UV light that damage skin. This means that it can protect skin cells from getting sunburned or having their DNA damaged by too much sun.

Lycopene is a very powerful antioxidant, and it can get rid of harmful molecules called free radicals that are made when UV light hits our skin. It also neutralizes free radicals to prevent cellular damage, which can lead to premature skin aging and skin cancer.

As we get older, our bodies naturally make less collagen, which can make wrinkles and other signs of aging appear. Lycopene stimulates collagen production, which may delay these signs of aging.

Cooking tomatoes or making tomato paste or juice increases lycopene bioavailability. Your body can better absorb and use this antioxidant, boosting its skin-protecting effects.

READ ALSO: Anti-Ageing Food and Supplements For Clear Youthful Skin


Carrots are full of beta carotene, which is another antioxidant that your body turns into vitamin A. Studies show that beta carotene can help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays in a natural way, but the effect is probably small and can not replace sunblock.

Beta-carotene is thought to absorb harmful UV rays, reducing the damage that these rays can do to the skin, like sunburn and damage to the DNA in cells. This lowers the risk of skin aging and skin cancer.

As an antioxidant, beta carotene fights free radicals, which are harmful molecules made by things like pollution and UV rays that are found in the environment. Free radicals damage collagen and skin cells, which speeds up the aging process. Beta carotene neutralizes free radicals to maintain skin health.

Vitamin A (retinol) is made from beta carotene in your body. Vitamin A boosts collagen and skin cell turnover. Collagen is essential for skin elasticity and wrinkle reduction.

Carrots’ orange color comes from beta carotene, which can change skin color in large amounts. This color change may offer some “tan-like” sun protection.

However, do not replace your sunscreen with carrots and other beta carotene-rich foods. These foods only partially block the sun’s harmful rays.

READ ALSO: 10 Best Organic Sunscreens and Natural SPFs To Bask In Those Summer Rays

Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C and other antioxidants in citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit can protect your skin from UV radiation and free radical damage.

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from free radicals. These unstable molecules are produced by environmental stressors like UV radiation and pollution. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals to protect cells from premature aging and skin cancer.

Vitamin C is also essential for collagen synthesis. It can help maintain skin firmness and reduce the visible signs of aging.

Vitamin C does not protect against UV light, but it can reduce its damage. It neutralizes UV-induced free radicals rather than absorbing UV light.

Vitamin C brightens and evens skin tone. It does this by inhibiting tyrosinase, an enzyme that produces melanin, the skin color’s pigment. Melanin overproduction causes age spots and hyperpigmentation.

READ ALSO: Top 10 Anti-Aging Foods for Women Over 50

Green Tea

Green tea contains catechins, powerful antioxidants that protect skin from sun damage. 

They can protect against sun damage because they can soak up harmful UV rays and reduce the inflammation and cell damage they can cause. This can help stop the damage to the skin that causes wrinkles and sun spots.

Catechins are powerful antioxidants that get rid of harmful free radicals that are made by things like pollution and UV rays. Free radicals can hurt skin cells and collagen, which can make you look older than you are.

The most powerful catechin in green tea, EGCG, has been shown to help prevent cancer. It can help stop the damage to DNA that can cause skin cancers like melanoma.

Green tea has strong anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm the skin and stop inflammation-related damage and aging. Some research even shows that green tea may help skin cells stay healthy, which could make older skin look better.

READ ALSO: How To Get Glowing Skin For Summer

Fatty Fish

Omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D reduce the risk of skin cancer in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and trout. Sunlight synthesizes vitamin D, but diet and supplements can also provide it.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce UV-induced inflammation due to their anti-inflammatory properties. Omega-3 fatty acids may prevent sunburn and skin cancer, according to some studies. They also hydrate skin, which is essential for a youthful appearance.

Sunlight synthesizes vitamin D in your body. It helps maintain skin health by promoting cell growth, repair, and metabolism. 

Even though the sun is a source of vitamin D, it is important to remember that too much sun can damage the skin and raise the risk of skin cancer. So, it is usually best to get vitamin D from food or supplements.

Other foods that protect your skin from the sun include blueberries, sweet potatoes, and dark chocolate. They are all rich in antioxidants that protect the skin against sun damage. 

READ ALSO: Top 5 Superfoods That Will Plump Your Skin

Closing Thoughts

Even though wearing broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, sunglasses, and hats are the most important ways to protect yourself, you should also eat a healthy, balanced diet.

Summer is the best time to make sure you have enough sunscreen, but you should also check your food supplies. Our diets can help protect our skin from sun damage.

Adding these foods that protect your skin to your dietary routine can do wonders for your complexion during summer. Don’t forget to stay hydrated too. Check out some summer drinks to keep you cool even on the hottest days.

So, why not start making some simple changes to your diet right now? Remember that healthy skin comes from the inside out!

Even if you do not spend a lot of time at the beach, the sun can still damage your skin through everyday activities. Making sure your skin has a lot of nutrients can help reduce this damage.

Keep in mind that these foods do not replace sun protection like sunscreen and clothing. 

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About Author

Schellea Fowler

Schellea Fowler

Schellea Fowler, founder of Fabulous50s, has amassed over three decades of excellence in small business leadership and expertise. Beyond her personal achievements, Schellea’s legacy is enriched by her role as a mentor, guiding emerging entrepreneurs with best practices from her experience. Post-2016, (after retiring at 50) her commitment to growth led her to further qualifications, all while maintaining her vision to empower and inspire women to feel excited about the stage of life they are in, and to and embrace and celebrate the aging process.

Recently, Schellea decided to expand her knowledge base. She’s currently immersed in the Clean Health Master Personal Trainer program.

Her additional qualifications include: Fashion Styling from the Australian Style Institute, Advanced Personal Colour Analysis from AOPI,  and Meditation Teacher Training from Yoga Coach.

Above all, Schellea’s mission is simple yet profound: to support women in embracing the aging process with confidence and grace.

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About Author

Schellea Fowler

Schellea Fowler

Schellea Fowler, the visionary founder of Fabulous50s, brings over three decades of small business leadership and expertise to her legacy. Not only has she excelled personally, but she has also become a mentor, generously sharing her wealth of experience with emerging entrepreneurs.

After retiring at 50 in 2016, Schellea’s commitment to continuous growth led her to pursue additional qualifications. A qualified fitness instructor, she is presently continuing her master trainer program, specializing in exercise for older adults. Through Fabulous50s, Schellea remains devoted to her vision of empowering and inspiring women to embrace and celebrate their current stage of life.

Her additional qualifications include: Fashion Styling from the Australian Style Institute, Advanced Personal Colour Analysis from AOPI,  and Meditation Teacher Training from Yoga Coach.

Above all, Schellea’s mission is simple yet profound: to support women in embracing the aging process with confidence and grace.

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