Chemical SPF’s in sun creams have been profited off for decades by skincare companies as they are effective, cheap to make, easy to formulate into lotions and creams and have long shelf lives.
However growing concerns over how many chemicals we are absorbing into our bodies via our skin along with rising percentages of sensitive skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis, as well as general hyper- sensitivity towards chemicals in skincare products and sun creams has prompted the skincare industry to begin looking into widely avaiable and naturally effective alternatives to chemical sun screens.
The answer, according to new research, could lie in some common fruits and herbs that have been found to offer sun protection without the need for chemicals.[quote]New research from US ingredient manufacturers Natural Sourcing has found that Red Raspberry (rubus idaeus) seed oil is as effective as titanium dioxide at absorbing UVB and UVC light, suggesting that it could be useful as a natural SPF ingredient in sun products. [/quote]
The study found that red raspberry seed oil has an SPF potential of 28-50 as well as having natural antioxidants to help protect and fortify skin again sun damage.
Two recent studies have found that the herb extract Milk Thistle (silibinin) can help protect the skin against damage and mutation (which can lead to skin cancer) from UV light. Milk Thistle extract was shown in one study, published in the journal Photochemistry and Photobiology, to both inhibit the growth of cells damaged by UV radiation as well as repair them. The study found that through a chemical chain reaction supplementation with silibinin, a higher rate of oxygen was released into the damaged cells resulting in cell death. In another study by the same authors and published in the journal Molecular Carcinogenesis, scientists also proved that supplementation with silibinin also protected skin cells from damage from UV light.
[quote]Strawberries have also been hailed in new research as a natural source of sun protection. An extract from strawberries was found in published research in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry to prolong cell survival and cell formation when exposed to 90 minutes of direct UV radiation.[/quote]
The suspected extract from strawberries is called anthocyanins, which is what gives fruits and leaves their red colour.
A common element of the three natural fruit and herb extracts that make them helpful as natural sun protection agents is that they have a strong anti-inflammatory action on skin.
Their anti-inflammatory actions, as the researchers conclude in each study, suggest that apart from being useful for using as natural SPF’s, these ingredients could also help form natural anti-inflammatory treatments for skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and may offer in the future a natural alternative to steroids for the treatment of inflammatory skin conditions.