Hi Radiant Being,

I grew up hearing the usual warnings on repeat:

“Be sure to get your skin checked!”

“Have you had your skin checked this year?”

“You have to get it done, Donna. Your mother and grandfather have skin cancers cut off every year!”

And maybe all those words of caution were warranted. After all, more than a million new cases of skin cancer emerge in the world every single year.

We all know already how important it is to protect our skin from the sun, since UV exposure is the biggest risk factor.

But did you know there may be another cause?

A study of 300,000 Americans linked over-consumption of alcohol with increased rates of sunburn. Alcohol is kind of toxic for our stomach, mouth, throat, liver and colon, as we well know, but skin? Surprising, right?

What’s happening with alcohol and sun damage? Are heavy drinkers just forgetting to use sun protection? (Maybe, but it’s not that!) Does alcohol breakdown use up antioxidants that would otherwise protect our skin? Maybe.

Here’s what we know for sure: Plants protect themselves against sun damage, and when we ingest them, we ingest those protective properties, too. We also know that consumption of plant foods gives us more antioxidants, which in turn may protect us from the sun in a similar way.

Actually, not maybe—that’s what happens, and we have proof!

A recent study took 20 female test subjects, and had half of them consume three tablespoons of tomato paste every day for three months. The other group ate as usual. They then burned both groups’ skin with UV lamps. And guess what, mama…those who were eating the tomato paste had significantly less DNA damage in the burned area—up to 40%!

And here’s where alcohol ties back in. Those same volunteers were exposed to the UV lamps again after a few drinks. They started going red significantly sooner than before. In fact, just eight minutes after consuming three shots of vodka, the antioxidant levels in test subjects skin drops. That’s fast!

In short: alcohol + sun exposure = faster burning, skin damage and ultimately aging and cancer risk.



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D Lettieri-Barbato, F Tomei, A Sancini, G Morabito, M Serafini. Effect of plant foods and beverages on plasma non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity in human subjects: a meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2013 May;109(9):1544-56.
R T Narendhirakannan, M A Hannah. Oxidative stress and skin cancer: an overview. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2013 Apr;28(2):110-5.
R N Saladi, T Nektalova, J L Fox. Induction of skin carcinogenicity by alcohol and ultraviolet light. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2010 Jan;35(1):7-11.
M A Eastwood. Interaction of dietary antioxidants in vivo: how fruit and vegetables prevent disease? QJM. 1999 Sep;92(9):527-30.
W Stahl, H Sies. β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov;96(5):1179S-84S.

Originally published at wilddonna.com