MELANIN BOOSTERS, how and when to incorporate them in our diet
Let's discover these useful allys for the achievement of a healthy and glowy tan and how to use them.
The recent European Traveler Insights Report 2018 confirmed that 3 out of 4 Europeans, between the age of 30 and 60, use an SPF before sun exposure. Excellent news if we speak about skin health and protection from sunburn and rashes. ‘Shielding’ cosmetics are obviously essential but little is known on how much our natural defences could be furthered and naturally strengthened if only we remembered to stimulate the protection of melanin with the proper diet and supplements - at least a month before bikini season!
Melanin supplements represent an extremely effective way - although not very widespread and practiced - to boost our tan and increase the skin’s ability to shield itself from harmful rays. To understand more and share this important information, we turned to an expert from the Comfort Zone Scientific Committee, Dr. Mariuccia Bucci, Nutridermatologist, founder of this discipline based on the importance of supplements as a support to cosmetic and dermatological treatments.
The first aspect we focused on is to understand what these supplements are, what they contain and how they act as they not only activate the tanning process, but also counteract skin aging.
Pay attention to the ingredients list
The most common melanin boosters on the market contain carotenoid combinations - such as astaxanthin, lycopene, lutein - and active ingredients that protect cellular DNA, like Polypodium leucotomos, and probiotics. Contrary to what happened in the 90s, where the carotenoid most commonly used was beta carotene, today there are regulations on the intake of this substance, attesting 7.5 mg /day as the maximum daily threshold, beyond which the effects could even result carcinogenic.
Also pay attention to undesired ingredients. Check that in the ingredients list of our supplements do not contains canthaxanthin (E161g CANTAXATINA). This yellowish dye, widely used in some food and cosmetics, colors the skin without any action to promote melanin. Above all, it is toxic to the liver and retina, hence absolutely to be avoided!
How do you choose them? When to apply them?
The tanning activator must be chosen based on skin type and intensity of the sun in our holiday destination. Our phototype indicates our level of fragility to sunlight and is easily determined by observing the color of our eyes, hair and complexion. Based on these variables, 6 phototypes have been defined. The higher the phototype, the greater the skin’s resistance to UV rays, hence the greater the protection in terms of sunburn and erythema. Especially in case of fair skin types (phototype I or II), a melanin activator can be particularly useful and important to decrease the sensitivity and reactivity of the skin to the sun. The intake of supplements should begin about a month before the actual exposure to UV rays, then continue throughout the summer. Always remember that the use of melanin activators does not - in any way - replace the use of SPFs.
Skin protection starts in your plate
There is also a category of natural supplements, even easier to include in our habits: fruit and vegetables chosen carefully to protect our skin and prolong the tan. What we eat can play a dual role: preventively strengthen our body's defences and counteract free radicals released as a result of UV exposure. Let’s look at the ingredients to include in our summer recipes:
- Food rich in water, minerals and vitamins, such as red cabbage which is among the richest in fiber, potassium and vitamins, to ensure hydration and replenish fluids that are lost through sweating.
- Fruit and vegetables rich in beta-carotene – such as yellow-fleshed fruit, and orange and green vegetables - one of the substances directly responsible for melanin production. Among these most well-known benefits, like tanning intensification, beta-carotene strengthens the immune system and effectively counteracts free radicals, responsible for skin aging.
- Greens, rich in vitamin A, C and E - such as broccoli, spinach and cabbage - are responsible for protecting the skin from aging.
Also tomatoes, watermelon and guava in addition to the very good taste, boast a high content of lycopene for a wonderful protecting action on the skin, increasing the body's defences from the sun up to 30% more!