Tag Archive for: skin care

Healthy Fingernails

Fingernails come in handy when you have an itch to scratch. But you may not know very much about them. This tough and hardy tissue protects your fingers and toes. Nails help you grip and manipulate small objects. Imagine peeling an orange or unwrapping a gift without them. But what makes for healthy fingernails?

Nails are very useful, but a bit mysterious. These curious clutches can give you valuable information about your health and nutritional status. Signs from your fingernails can alert you to nutrient deficiency and tell you when your diet is top notch. Healthy fingernails reflect a healthy body. Look closely at your claws to see what your body is telling you.

Fingernail Anatomy

Solving the mystery starts with anatomy. Your fingernails have been growing since before you were born. And they’ll be with you throughout your entire life. But fingernails are more than meets the eye. They are a complex hybrid of the cells and protein that constitute skin and hair.

Learning the following terms will help you understand how your fingernails are structured.

  • Stratum corneum: The outermost layer of your epidermis (skin). The stratum corneum is full of the protein keratin, which gives fingernails their firm texture.
  • Nail plate: Your fingernail. The nail plate is made of keratin that hardens and gives your fingernails structure and rigidity. The underside of the nail plate is full of ridges. These adhere to the nail bed below.
  • Nail bed: The area upon which the fingernail grows. The nail bed is vascular and has grooves that complement the ridges underneath the nail plate. This allows the nail bed and nail plate to stick together.
  • Lunula: The half-moon shaped, white arc at the base of your fingernail. The lunula is white due to the high concentration of nuclei in the nail matrix underneath.
  • Nail matrix: The nail matrix lies below the lunula and is the source of keratinization—the process where the proteins in fingernails are assembled in the nail matrix.
  • Cuticle: The cuticle is a layer of skin that grows over the base of the nail plate. This protects the nail plate from damage or infection.

The Lifecycle of Healthy Fingernails

Nail development begins during the ninth week of pregnancy. By week 16, fingernails are visible on a growing fetus. From birth and beyond, nails grow between three and four millimeters every month. This continuous growth can be attributed to the cells that make up the nail.

Fingernails are primarily comprised of the protein keratin. This structural protein is produced in large quantities by skin cells, and is also found in your hair. Since the rate of skin-cell turnover is high compared to other cells in the body, the supply of keratin is always being replenished. The keratin in your nails originates in the stratum corneum and is assembled at the nail matrix.

Your nails grow from the nail matrix at the base of the nail bed to the ends of your fingertips.  The nail plate covers the nail bed and protects the delicate skin and blood vessels underneath. The nail plate stays tightly bound to the nail bed through matching ridges and grooves that fit snuggly together. Cuticle tissue seals the gap between skin and nail and prevents germs and microbes from infecting the skin.

Each piece of your fingernail performs an important function. It is necessary to keep your nails in good condition so they can best serve you. Think of your fingernails as a dynamic timeline. From the fingertips to the base of the nail bed, your fingernails store valuable information about your health and diet. This information updates as your nails grow—so be on the lookout for changes.

Things Your Nails May be Telling You

Healthy fingernails are tough and strong. But when nutrition is lacking or another concern is present, this isn’t always the case. Be aware that changes in your fingernails could be signaling a change in your overall health.

Weak nails are brittle and split or crack easily. This can be a symptom of dehydration. Since nails and skin are similar in their cellular makeup, their care is, too. When dryness is an issue, moisturizing is an excellent remedy. Applying lotion to the skin and nails after a shower or bath is a great way to lock in moisture beneath the surface.

In addition to moisturizing, steer clear of things that dry out your nails. The acetone in fingernail polish remover is an often-overlooked culprit. To reduce any damage done to your nails by removers, limit yourself to changing your nail polish twice a month.

Avoid exposing your fingernails to household cleaners and detergents. The chemicals in these products dry skin and nails out quickly. Shielding your hands with a pair of rubber gloves could be the solution to dry and brittle nails.

You can maintain strong fingernails by getting B-vitamins in your diet. Biotin (a B-vitamin) has been linked to maintaining nail strength when taken as a dietary supplement. Taking biotin can have similar effects on your hair and skin, as well. There is preliminary evidence to suggest that biotin supplementation supports the thickness of hair and maintains a healthy-looking complexion.

Eating Well for Healthy Fingernails

A nutrient-rich diet can promote the color and shape of healthy fingernails. Eating foods rich in iron—like green veggies, lean red meat, and peanut butter—can supply your body with the iron it needs for smooth operation and beautiful nails. When diet alone is not enough to supply iron needs, supplementation may be necessary.

Zinc is another important nutrient to maintaining healthy nails. This mineral can be obtained through a diet that includes beef and seafood, as well as zinc-fortified cereal. This important mineral is also a common component of multivitamins and immune-support supplements.

5 Tips for Healthy Fingernails

You use your fingernails all the time, so it is important to take care of them. There are a lot of things you can do to develop happy, healthy fingernails:

  1. Keep your hands clean: Washing your hands often has the added bonus of maintaining nail health. Keeping your fingernails clean and dry helps protect your nails against potential pathogens. Follow a hand wash with a good moisturizer. Rubbing lotion into your nails and nail beds can strengthen them and keep them from splitting.
  2. Stop biting your nails: Using your teeth to cut your nails invites germs to set up shop in or around your fingernails and mouth. Nail biting can also hinder your nail’s ability to grow evenly and may lead to deformities. Yoga and meditation are two great ways to relax and may help reduce the urge to chew your nails. If you need more immediate relief from nail biting, try applying bitter-tasting nail polish or lemon juice to your fingertips. The unpleasant taste could help you (or your kids) break the habit.
  3. Cut your nails correctly: When you clip your nails safely and correctly, you can avoid painful ingrown nails and hang nails. Start by trimming long nails straight across. Then file the edges so they are slightly rounded. When nails snag or break, try to trim them quickly to avoid any additional injury.
  4. Get professional nail care: A manicure or pedicure session can be relaxing. Just be sure that the tools used are properly maintained and sterilized. This minimizes the spread of germs. If you are unsure of your favorite salon’s equipment handling, ask if you can provide your own. Remember to never remove your cuticles. Cutting your cuticles removes important protection for your nails. If you polish your nails frequently, opt for non-acetone-based nail polish removers. Acetone can weaken and dry out nails over time.
  5. Prep your body with quality nutrition: Fuel your body with the nutrients it needs to maintain healthy fingernails. Check your diet for adequate amounts of iron, zinc, and biotin. Supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals, and nutritionals that promote healthy, beautiful nails.

About the Author

Sydney Sprouse is a freelance science writer based out of Forest Grove, Oregon. She holds a bachelor of science in human biology from Utah State University, where she worked as an undergraduate researcher and writing fellow. Sydney is a lifelong student of science and makes it her goal to translate current scientific research as effectively as possible. She writes with particular interest in human biology, health, and nutrition.





Bragulla HH, Homberger DG. Structure and functions of keratin proteins in simple, stratified, keratinized and cornified epithelia. J Anat. 2009;214(4):516-59.

De berker D. Nail anatomy. Clin Dermatol. 2013;31(5):509-15.

Floersheim GL. [Treatment of brittle fingernails with biotin]. Z Hautkr. 1989;64(1):41-8.

Yaemsiri S, Hou N, Slining MM, He K. Growth rate of human fingernails and toenails in healthy American young adults. J Eur Acad Dermatol Venereol. 2010;24(4):420-3.

Boosting the quality of your diet checks a lot of boxes for your health. Weight, energy, and proper fuel come to mind first. The health of your skin should be added to that list. Nutritional skincare illuminates the natural radiance of your skin through a proper diet.

Your skin is the largest organ of your body. And its health is easily influenced by what you eat. Skin goes through many cycles of renewal and repair. Proper nutrition supplies your skin with the materials it needs to maintain its beauty and strength.

That means eating a variety of healthy, whole foods that include a wide range of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, lean proteins, and omega-3 fatty acids. Below, you’ll read about some of the foods rich in important nutrients for your skin. Make nutritional skincare a priority and ensure these nutrients are in your diet.

Vitamin C

Healthy skin requires a good supply of the protein collagen. This peptide is the most abundant protein in your body and is found in connective tissue and skin. Collagen gives your skin elasticity, bounce, structure, and durability.

Your body needs vitamin C to regulate the amount of collagen produced in your skin. Vitamin C stabilizes the genetic blueprints for collagen production and increases the rate at which it is made. This helps keep your skin looking as firm and healthy as possible.

There’s another way vitamin C influences the appearance of fine lines in aging skin. Oxidative stress leads to wrinkled skin. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that acts as a free radical scavenger and maintains healthy levels of toxic oxygen species in cells. So, vitamin C can aid in repairing the oxidative damage done to your skin cells to keep it looking healthy.

This nutrient can also support the production of cells called fibroblasts. Fibroblasts help maintain healthy skin, but their numbers dwindle with age. By recharging your body’s ability to produce fibroblasts, vitamin C gives your skin the tools it needs to maintain a youthful appearance.

Vitamin C is found in many fruits, vegetables, and dietary supplements. Good sources are:

• Oranges
• Apples
• Strawberries
• Spinach
• Broccoli

Eating a diet rich in vitamin C can help protect your skin and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. And if you’re looking for another vitamin to pair with it, vitamin E also an important part of nutritional skincare.


This mega molecule does a lot of work to keep your skin in tip-top shape. Glucosamine is an amino sugar necessary for building proteins and lipids in your body. As a precursor to hyaluronic acid, glucosamine is critical to supporting the production of this important ingredient in skin. That’s what makes glucosamine key to nutritional skincare. Because hyaluronic acid is widely known for its effects on skin health and appearance.

Making hyaluronic acid more available to vulnerable areas of skin is one way glucosamine helps maintain a healthy-looking complexion. Here’s how it works. Hyaluronic acid stabilizes and strengthens the tissues that heal minor skin scrapes. By supporting healthy levels of hyaluronic acid, glucosamine has the power to repair and fortify skin. As an added bonus, glucosamine can inhibit the production of a pigment called melanin. This works to reduce the appearance of age related dark spots.

Increasing the amount of hyaluronic acid in your body makes glucosamine a key part of your nutritional skincare. Look to this important molecule to help support normal pigmentation, and skin repair.

Glucosamine is most often obtained through nutrient supplementation, since dietary sources are scarce. Seafood, namely shellfish, can contribute significantly to the dietary sources of glucosamine. But if you want to incorporate it into your diet at optimal levels—those shown by research to be effective—supplementation is your best option.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin—A Powerful Pair for Nutritional Skincare

Lutein and zeaxanthin are known to support healthy eyes. And evidence suggests these nutrients could be an important part of your nutritional skincare, too. By working together to filter blue light, lutein and zeaxanthin help protect your eyes and skin from the effects of the sun.

High-energy visible light (HEV, or blue light) is emitted by the sun, your laptop computer, cell phone, and LED lights. Your skin’s defense against the barrage of blue light is filtering it out. Lutein and zeaxanthin are some of those filters.

Both behave as antioxidants and help keep free radical damage from blue-light exposure in check. These nutrients are not produced by your body, so it’s important to include them in your diet.

Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids—plant pigments. Other carotenoids, like beta carotene, can support your skin’s appearance, too. You’ll find these carotenoids in yellow and oranges foods. Cantaloupe, carrots, orange and yellow peppers, egg yolks, and salmon are all rich sources of zeaxanthin and lutein. They’re also found in green, leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, peas, and lettuce. Including these foods in your healthy diet can pay off in clear eyes and healthy-looking skin.

Alpha-Lipoic Acid

Known as the “universal antioxidant,” alpha-lipoic acid (ALA) is great at fighting off free radicals. ALA is active in both lipid layers of the skin and water-filled skin cells. Its primary role in the body is protecting cells from oxidative damage. Alpha-lipoic acid binds to oxidants and diffuses potential damage.

Oxidative damage causes wrinkles and fine lines. So, ALA is an important component of nutritional skincare that can help you achieve healthy-looking skin. ALA can also support even skin tone and minimize the appearance of redness and blotchiness. Wrinkles are kept at bay because antioxidant compounds like ALA protect the structure of your skin from oxidative stress.

Another function of ALA is the regulation of nitric oxide production. Levels of nitric oxide in your body influence the amount of blood flow to your skin. Increased blood flow helps your complexion transform from a dull and pale appearance to vibrant and glowing one.

Alpha-lipoic acid can also regulate the synthesis of a molecule called glutathione. Glutathione is an antioxidant, as well—one of the most powerful in your body. The antioxidant benefits of glutathione run the gamut, and with the help of ALA regulation, your skin is a benefactor.

One more function of ALA is its role in energy production. Alpha-lipoic acid serves as an essential cofactor in the biochemical cycle that turns macronutrients (your food) into energy. This cycle (citric acid cycle) produces the majority of the energy your cells need to function.

Your body creates very small quantities of ALA. There are a few food sources of this compound, but their bioavailability is limited. These foods include: kidney, heart, liver, broccoli, spinach, and Brussels sprouts. It’s most readily available to your body in the form of nutrient supplements. Increasing the amount of usable ALA in your body supports free-radical scavenging and provides antioxidant benefits.


Curcumin is another pigment that should play a role in your nutritional skincare. This phytonutrient is derived from turmeric, a spice used in preparing vibrant, tropical cuisine. Turmeric (and curcumin) comes from the root Curcuma longa and belongs to the ginger family. Adding turmeric to a meal gives it a beautiful bright yellow color.

But curcumin doesn’t just brighten up your plate. It has demonstrated considerable ability to help reduce the appearance of puffiness and swelling. By blocking the biochemical steps that produce the look of red and irritated skin, curcumin helps your skin tone look smooth and even.


Nutritional skincare doesn’t have to be hard. Probably the simplest thing to do to help your skin is drink water. And lots of it.

Hydration is crucial for the appearance of healthy and supple skin. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day provides your skin with an ample supply of moisture and helps flush out toxins.

Water helps fill out your skin to provide a smooth appearance. It also helps your skin look plump. You can maximize the effectiveness of topical moisturizers by making sure your skin is well hydrated.

Cell Signaling and Nutritional Skincare

Your skin is only as healthy as the cells that make it. And your diet has a big impact on your cellular function—including cellular communication or cell signaling.

Cells work together by communicating through chemical and electrical impulses. Cellular communication is the foundation for skin health, and the vitality of all your overall health.

So, you need to watch what you eat to ensure your skin cells are a well-oiled machine and fit for duty. Because promoting your cells’ natural ability to communicate helps your body (and skin) look good and feel great.

Your Skin, Your Choice

Nutritional skincare—and supporting your overall health—starts with your choices. When selecting nutritional supplements and shopping for food, look for items that provide a wide range of vitamins (especially C and E), minerals, omega-3s, and healthy proteins.

And think about what you can do to support healthy cellular communication. That include consuming foods and supplements that have plenty of antioxidant activity, are good sources of essential vitamins and minerals, and contain plenty of phytonutrients.

What you choose not to eat is also important. Limiting sugar and refined carbs can be helpful for your skin. So, next time you reach for a snack, think about how it might feed into the beauty of your skin.

About the Author

Sydney Sprouse is a freelance science writer based out of Forest Grove, Oregon. She holds a bachelor of science in human biology from Utah State University, where she worked as an undergraduate researcher and writing fellow. Sydney is a lifelong student of science and makes it her goal to translate current scientific research as effectively as possible. She writes with particular interest in human biology, health, and nutrition.



  • These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
skin layers

skin layers

About 15 percent of your body weight is skin. If that seems like a lot, remember that skin is your largest organ. And one of your most important. Understanding your skin’s structure is the first step to maintaining the health of your armor against the outside world.

The Purpose of Your Skin

Your skin comprises a large portion of the integumentary system. This organ system also contains hair, nails, and glands that produce sweat and oil. The three main functions of the integumentary system are protection, regulation, and sensation.

Skin’s primary function in this system is to act as a barrier. It provides protection from various environmental elements—temperature, bacteria, chemicals, the sun, and more. But the blood vessels in the skin also help it regulate your body temperature. And skin is where your body uses sunlight to manufacture vitamin D.

Layers of the Skin

skin layers

Your skin performs a lot of important functions, and each of its three layers play a role.


The epidermis is the top layer of your skin. It’s made up of millions of skin cells held together by lipids. This creates a resilient barrier and regulates the amount of water released from your body.

The outermost part of the epidermis (stratum coreneum) is comprised of layers of flattened cells. Below, the basal layer—composed of proteins in column-like arrangements—makes new skin cells. That’s because this layer is the only one of the epidermis’ five parts that perform mitosis (division of the cellular nucleus). So your older skin cells flake off the very top layer, and the newer ones push up from the basal layer to take their place.

Your epidermis contains four different types of cells. The majority are keratinocytes, which form your water-proof, protective barrier. Melanin—or skin pigment—is produced in the epidermal melanocytes. Langerhans and Merkel cells deal with immune response and sensation, respectively.


The next layer of skin is the dermis. It lies beneath the epidermis, and is responsible for a variety of functions.

This layer contains hair roots, nerve endings, blood vessels, and sweat glands that help regulate body temperature and remove waste products. The dermis also contains oil (sebaceous) glands that keep your skin looking soft and smooth, but also help with waterproofing.

Your dermis has two parts—papillary and reticular. The papillary dermis contains the interlocking connections that help supply blood and nutrients to the epidermis. The reticular dermis is the thicker, deeper portion that contains building blocks like collagen and elastin which give skin its flexibility and strength. Your hair follicles and glands also reside in the reticular dermis.

Hypodermis or Subcutaneous Tissue

The subcutaneous tissue is the lowest layer of the integumentary system. It’s used mainly for fat storage. The hypodermis contains the connective tissue that attaches the dermis to your muscles and bones. It also provides support to the blood vessels, nerves, and glands in the dermis.

Key Elements of the Skin Matrix

The skin matrix is a collection of proteins, fats, and peptides that provide resilience and stability. Here are the main components of this support structure:

  • Elastin – protein that forms elastic connective tissue, found in the dermis
  • Keratin – key structural protein that makes up the outermost layer of the skin
  • Collagen – long-chain amino acid that makes up the majority of protein found in your skin
  • Lipids – the natural ‘mortar’ that helps lock in moisture and bind the cells together
  • Peptides – chains of amino acids that signal our cells to let them know how to function

The More You Know

Learning these basics will help you gain a greater understanding of how to take care of and maintain your skin properly. Now that you know the basics of your skin’s structure, learn more about the important role nutrients play in healthy-looking skin.




The science of your skin and its proper care can be best understood through a comprehensive view of its anatomy and physiology. Learn about the structure and function of your skin and its important proteins so you can make better, more informed decisions on how to care for your skin.

Layers of the Skin

Your skin is a composite of three layers of connective tissue. The epidermis, dermis, and hypodermis join at cellular junctions to create the largest organ of your body.

Each layer of your skin has a unique role in maintaining homeostasis—your body’s state of equilibrium. The skin regulates internal body temperature, protects delicate internal organs, and defends against pathogens and microbes.

For more information on the individual layers of your skin, their structure and function, see

Layer by Layer: Understanding Your Skin’s Structure.



Water retention is essential for healthy, vibrant skin. Dry skin can lead to a rough and bumpy appearance, and can cause injury when your skin cracks and breaks. A recent study published in the International Wound Journal highlights the importance of moisturizing skin daily. Moisturizing skin twice daily was shown to reduce the incidence of skin tears by nearly 50 percent in elderly patients living in an assisted living facility.

Moisturizers are most effective on dry skin when their ingredients reflect the natural oils produced by your skin. This similarity makes for a seamless integration of the moisturizer and your skin. These kinds of moisturizers trap water in your skin and promote healthy hydration. Plant-derived oils are particularly effective at moisturizing dry skin.

Collagen and Elastin

Your skin is made of a complex network of fibers and proteins that strengthen and reinforce its structure. Collagen and elastin are two of these integral proteins.

Collagen gives your skin incredible strength. Collagen production in the skin decreases as you age. This decrease can lead to the visible signs of aging—flat and dull skin, wrinkles, and fine lines. Several types of collagen proteins reside in your skin, and each performs a unique function.

At the dermal-epidermal junction (DEJ), collagen creates a structural framework for other skin cells. Collagen also plays a role in maintaining structural stability at the DEJ. Wrinkled skin contains much less collagen at the DEJ and the lack of stability of the area can lead to more wrinkles.

Elastin is another important protein in the skin matrix. It gives skin its bounce and resilience. Decrease in elastin production over time causes sagging skin.

While elastin naturally decreases with age, photo damage to this protein is the best understood cause of sagging skin. UV exposure causes elastin proteins to stiffen and coil, inhibiting their ability to bounce back into shape. Photo damage over long periods of time causes elastin proteins to lose their elasticity, keeping them from supporting the structure of your skin.

Skin creams and treatments that help minimize the appearance of aging usually contain ingredients designed to stimulate collagen and/or elastin synthesis. These products work to minimize damage done by age and the sun to reverse visible signs of aging like wrinkles and fine lines. To effectively minimize the look of wrinkles and fine lines, combine a regimen of these skin creams and sunscreen.

Skin and Aging


Inevitably, your skin will change as you age. Many of the visible signs of aging can be minimized by proper skincare. There are two well-established causes of visible skin aging—intrinsic and extrinsic aging. Effective skincare regimens target the signs of both types of aging.

Intrinsic factors governing skin aging include variations in an individual’s genetic background. Extrinsic aging refers generally to factors that originate outside your body. These include smoking, sun exposure, and poor nutrition. Sunburn is thought to account for nearly 80 percent of premature facial aging. The extrinsic factors that cause premature skin aging are largely preventable.

One of the most effective methods of minimizing the appearance of aging skin is including antioxidants in your diet. Berries, tea-tree oil, green tea, and grape-seed extract are some notable antioxidants that can be found in your diet and skincare products. Antioxidants fight off the damage caused to skin cells from the sun, and promote healthy cell function. Antioxidants are not only important for your skin, but they help maintain a healthy brain and body, too.


Understanding what goes on behind the scenes can help you make smart decisions about your skincare. Choosing a good moisturizer and trying to reduce damage done to the collagen and elastin in your skin can improve the health of your skin and minimize visible signs of aging. In addition, eliminating extrinsic aging factors from your daily life can be the extra boost your skin needs to look and feel healthy and strong.


Baumann, L. “Skin ageing and its treatment.” The Journal of Pathology 211.2 (2007): 241-51.

Carville, Kerlyn, Gavin Leslie, Rebecca Osseiran-Moisson, Nelly Newall, and Gill Lewin. “The effectiveness of a twice-daily skin-moisturizing regimen for reducing the incidence of skin tears.” International Wound Journal 11.4 (2014): 446-53.

Obagi, Suzan. “Why does skin wrinkle with age? What is the best way to slow or prevent this process?” Scientific American. N.p., n.d. Web. 28 July 2017.

“The layers of your skin.” American Academy of Dermatology, n.d. Web 28 July 2017.

Warm weather and longer days have many people spending more time outside. But you can forget an important step to truly enjoy this precious time outside—protecting your skin from the sun. Practicing healthy sun exposure can keep your skin happy, and is a habit that will serve you well into the future.

Sunburns lead to blistered and peeling skin. They can also create more serious health problems. But there are many ways to protect you and your little ones from the sun. The first step is understanding how and why you need to protect your skin.

UV Radiation Overview

Much can be gained from spending time outside on a sunny day, but there are many risks associated with sun exposure. The sun’s rays allow us to manufacture vitamin D and can lift our spirits after a long period of cloudy weather.

However, ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the culprit behind painful sunburns and peeling skin. UV radiation is known to cause damage to oxygen-carrying cells in the body and to DNA. Understanding how UV radiation can be dangerous for your health starts with an explanation of the two types of dangerous UV rays.

Both UVA and UVB radiation penetrate the skin, but UVB is more harmful than UVA radiation. UVA and UVB rays are differentiated by their wavelengths, with UVB being the shorter of the two. UV radiation causes damage to DNA, which leads to genetic mutation.

Sun Exposure Behavior

A 2001 study in the journal Preventative Medicine found that less than one-third of youths in the US practiced regular sun-protection behavior. Sun protection considered in this study included:

  • wearing long pants
  • wearing sunglasses
  • staying in the shade
  • wearing sunscreen.

While these results may be dated, it is clear that children between the ages of 11 and 18 struggle to protect themselves effectively from prolonged exposure to the sun.

This extended time in the sun without proper protection leads to painful sunburns and blisters, and the increased risk of DNA damage from UV radiation. Children need to learn safe sun exposure early and practice it often. It can be difficult to understand when you need to wear a hat or stay in the shade. That’s why sunscreen should be used daily to safe-guard children and adults from the sun.

Parental Role Modeling

Ample evidence suggests that setting a good example for children can increase their likelihood of practicing healthy sun exposure. Parents who practice frequent sun protection are less likely to get sunburnt while outside and are more likely to have children who also practice frequent sun protection.

A study in the Journal of Pediatrics in 2001, used survey data to find that nearly half of all parents and children in the US were sunburnt during the previous summer. With sunburns occurring on such a large scale, it is imperative that parents teach their children through example how to best protect their skin from the sun.

Sunscreen Application

Wearing sunscreen is by far one of the most popular and effective methods of protecting your skin from the sun. Sunscreen is virtually non-restrictive, so wearing sunscreen won’t keep you from being active while outside.

Sunscreen’s efficacy against UV radiation is measured by a sun protection factor (SPF) index. With SPF, the higher the number, the more sun protection the sunscreen offers.

But these SPF indices can be misleading. They imply that one application of a sunscreen with high SPF will keep you from being sunburnt. This is not the case.

Sunscreen must be applied early, and often, to maximize its protective effects. Many people don’t know how much sunscreen they need to apply to be protected from the sun. Clinical and Experimental Dermatology published the results of a study in 2012 that suggest most people who use sunscreen don’t apply nearly enough to be protected.

To reach the SPF coverage displayed on a bottle, the recommended two mg/cm3 (two milligrams per cubic centimeter) must be applied all over the exposed skin. This exact volume is hard to measure, so the researchers suggest a double application of sunscreen is best before playing outside. By applying a double layer of sunscreen and reapplying every couple of hours you can be confident your skin will be prepared for a day in the sun.  


They call it fun in the sun, but in reality, playing outside without proper sun protection can be dangerous. Sun protection can take many forms—from sunscreen to wearing long-sleeved shirts and hats to cover sensitive skin from UV radiation. All of these methods can be helpful in preventing sunburn. But they are most effective when practiced correctly and used often. Practice healthy sun exposure by using defensive sun-protection methods today, and safely enjoy time outside for years to come.

skin appearance

skin appearance

Using data from the first National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I), scientists examined associations between nutrient intakes and skin appearance in 4,025 women between the ages of 40 and 74 years. Clinical examinations of the skin were conducted by dermatologists. Skin-aging appearance was defined as having a wrinkled appearance, dryness associated with aging (senile dryness), and skin atrophy (shriveling or shrinking).

Higher vitamin C intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of a wrinkled appearance. Higher linoleic acid (an omega-6 essential fatty acid) intakes were associated with a lower likelihood of senile dryness and skin atrophy. A higher than average fat and carbohydrate intake also increased the likelihood of a wrinkled appearance and skin atrophy. These associations were independent of age, race, education, sunlight exposure, income, menopausal status, body mass index, supplement use, physical activity, and energy intake.

Elevated intakes of vitamin C and linoleic acid and reduced intakes of fats and carbohydrates are associated with better skin-aging appearance. Promoting healthy dietary behaviors may have added benefit for the appearance of skin in addition to other beneficial health outcomes in the population.

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 86, No. 4, 1225-1231, October 2007