The Summer Sun Triggers Premature Aging: A Supplement That Can Help

mbg Beauty and Lifestyle Senior Editor By Alexandra Engler
mbg Beauty and Lifestyle Senior Editor
Alexandra Engler is the Beauty and Lifestyle Senior Editor. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department.
Woman in a Bathing Suit

As much as we adore summer, for all its gloriously long days and outdoor activities, we also know that summer sun may come with unintended consequences: one being the premature aging that comes with UV exposure. 

We're not going to tell you to skip the sunny outdoor days. (Vitamin D is important, after all, not to mention the plethora of mental health benefits that come with being in nature.) However, there are preventive measures to help tend to your skin so you don't develop those signs of premature skin aging that come with UV exposure, like fine lines, sun spots, and sagging skin. The obvious answer is a solid mineral sunscreen to block UV rays, but you should also look into internal photoprotection. 

What is internal photoprotection?

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Internal photoprotection is how you can equip your body with the right nutrients to manage UV damage. See, one of the main causes of premature aging is sun damage, which you might have already known. Here's why: Excessive sun exposure triggers free radicals in the body; free radicals, in turn, damage otherwise young, healthy cells. When this happens enough, you can develop wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, and overall collagen loss. These are hard to reverse completely, so it's best to stop them from performing.

And to really make sure you are adequately supporting your skin, you need to go a step further than external protection: You need to be ingesting the right free-radical fighters. The most important is astaxanthin, a type of antioxidant within the carotenoid family.* Astaxanthin is beloved by derms and skin care professionals, as it is a key nutrient to protect skin against UV damage: Research shows that it is up to 1,000 times as effective against photodamage as some of its other antioxidant counterparts.* 

In fact, one 2018 double-blind placebo-controlled human study found that the ingredient was able to help subject participants manage any UV-induced skin deterioration, as well as enhanced skin hydration and appearance overall.* (Leading people to dub it "the summertime supplement.") 

Another way you can practice internal photoprotection is by supporting your skin barrier function.* Your skin barrier function can become compromised by a plethora of reasons, like harsh soaps or exfoliants. But sun damage is also a major one. When your skin barrier is compromised, your skin isn't able to do all the things it's supposed to: retain moisture, fight external aggressors, and manage inflammation. 

One structural component of your skin barrier is ceramides. Ceramides are key lipids that are naturally present in our skin cells. They make up the barrier between the outside environment and our body, locking in moisture and protecting our skin from damage. To replenish ceramides, you can take supplements that contain phytoceramides.* By taking them orally, you can replenish your barrier internally: In one study participants saw supported skin hydration after just 15 days.* In another, participants with clinically dry skin who took a phytoceramide-rich wheat extract oil for three months saw up to a 35% improvement in skin hydration.*

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The takeaway. 

To halt the premature aging that comes with summer sun, you just need to be smart. One way to do that is through supplementation, like mindbodygreen's nr+.* 

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