Health and Wellbeing

Antioxidants. Can they really help sunburn?

Sun, Surf, Sand, Summer… Sunburn

Everybody loves sunshine. It’s what we do best in Summer.

Yet sometimes we can overdo the sun a little and find ourselves with a touch of colour on our skin… or worse we fall asleep at the pool side and are toasted like a crispy lobster.

We all know that prevention is better than a cure and regular application of sunscreen is the go when we’re out in the sun and water all day. But is there anything you can do after the fact if you find yourself sunburned?

Once we have had excess sun exposure it can take up to 6 hours for the body to respond to the damage, which is why you wake up worse the next day. You may feel heat, pain and there might even be some swelling. In response to ultraviolet radiation from the sun your body produces toxins which damage your cells and DNA. It is these toxins that create the symptoms you feel. If you catch this early enough, you can reduce the amount of damage to your cells and your DNA and feel much better much quicker.

First things first – Hydration

When you’re sunburnt your body will continue to produce heat as part of the natural inflammatory response. This means that you will continue to lose water. So, hydration is key to a quick recovery. Keep drinking lots of water and you can even add in some natural electrolytes, so you maintain your fluid balance better. Coconut water is a perfect natural electrolyte drink.

Soothing – Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera has a long history of use for burns. It is almost 100% water, so it will help to add moisture to your dry burnt skin. Also, Aloe Vera has anti-inflammatory properties. Remember the cellular damage I was talking about earlier? Aloe Vera has a mild effect to reduce these inflammatory processes and can improve healing time.


There are certain antioxidants that are clinically proven to reduce the damage from UV rays. Taking these antioxidants in high dose as soon as you can, after sun exposure, will reduce the toxic load within your cells and prevent DNA damage. There’s also research that shows these antioxidants can even prevent sunburn to begin with.

Which Antioxidants are Best?

Plants that are high in polyphenols have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These include green and white tea, grape seed, chocolate and red wine (or even red grape juice). Supplementation would be ideal in an acute situation like sunburn. This will give you a concentrated dose that will have the greatest impact in reducing the toxic effects of UV rays.

My favourite product right now for this is the Herbs of Gold Resveratrol AdvantAGE. Only a few weeks ago we enjoyed a luxurious day at the beach with my family. But unfortunately, I came home a little red. I took 3 capsules as soon as we got home. And 3 capsules twice a day for two days following, and I saw a significant change in my skin as it healed.

If you want to know more about great antioxidants for your skin pop down to your local Health Squared and have a chat to one of our qualified staff.

This article was written by Nutritionist Tammy Sooveere

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