Having a tan can be likened to having a healthy glow, so it is understandable why so many people spend their summer vacations sunbathing and taking extra care of their skin to achieve the perfect golden, sun-kissed look. However in recent years, in line with advancements in scientific research, the risks of overexposure to the sun have been revealed and include an increased chance of contracting skin cancer and also premature ageing of the skin. Although it is debatable how effective taking certain vitamin supplements are in boosting your tan and counteracting some of the damaging affects of sunbathing, there is evidence to suggest that there could be some use in doing so.
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin for stimulating the production of calcium to support bone growth and strength while also promoting the healthy functioning of the immune system and cell growth. Vitamin D production happens as a result of exposure to the sun, thus providing one of the few benefits of sunbathing. Taking vitamin D supplements or eating a diet of rich in vitamin D fortified foods such as milk, eggs, lean meats, fish and nuts can provide you with a safer alternative to tanning, without losing out on the vital vitamin production that sun exposure can provide.
According to the National Institutes of Health, vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps to protect against the damage of sun exposure to the skin as well as against other damaging free radicals. Therefore, counteracting the ageing affects of tanning can be achieved by eating a vitamin E fortified diet including green vegetables, nuts, seeds and vegetables oils and/or by taking a vitamin E supplement.
Carotenoids stimulate the production of vitamin A while also protecting the cells from the damaging affects of the sun, according to WHFoods. Found in vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes, the most common forms of carotenoids found in the human diet are beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene, lycopene and lutein. Not only can eating a diet rich in carotenoids help to protect your skin from the affects of sunbathing, but taking a lycopene supplement can also change the colour of skin so that it appears darker and more tanned. However, be warned, the colour does not often match your own skin tone and can end up looking orange and unnatural.
Amino acids are forms of protein that occur naturally in the body when food is broken down by digestion. According to Healing With Nutrition, cysteine is an amino acid that has powerful antioxidant capabilities, helpful for counteracting the damaging affects of sun exposure. Cystine, another amino acid, is essential to the production of collagen, which helps to keep skin elasticity and offset the signs of ageing. Cysteine is most effective in protecting the skin when vitamin E is also present so they can work together, according to Healing With Nutrition.