Eating Your Way to a Natural Tan

Wednesday Jul 17, 2013

Beach towel? Check. Sunscreen? Check. Spinach? Check. Forget lying out for hours under a sweltering sun and definitely skip the sunbed. Your answer to a beautiful tan this summer can be found in your fridge. According to Dr. Susan Stuart, board certified dermatologist in San Diego, eating lots of fruits and vegetables can give you the same golden glow.

"Studies confirm that eating certain fruits and vegetables are not only beneficial to your health but also to your skin," says Stuart. You can find these "skin superfoods" by choosing fruits and vegetables that are yellow or orange in color, such as carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe. The color of these foods is caused by a very potent antioxidant called carotene. You will also find that dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale have the superpower as well.

A commonly known myth is that eating "lots" of carrots will turn your skin orange. But just how much is a lot? In order to have your skin turn orange from a carotene overdose would mean incorporating carrots into 90 percent of your diet. However, when carrots are consumed regularly in moderation, the skin adapts a more natural and healthy looking hue. Studies have found that people actually prefer the natural glow to the look of a darkened skin tone from sun exposure.

Tomatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Cantaloupe and Apricots
Like carrots, these carotenoid rich fruits and veggies improve your skin's color while providing other health benefits.

Spinach and Kale
These dark, leafy greens should definitely be a staple in your diet as well as broccoli.

Olive Oil
All though olive oil doesn't contain any carotenoids, antioxidants and omega-3s will give your skin a moisture boost for a healthier appearance.

Other theories for tan skin include bathing in tea and taking beta-carotene supplements and other vitamins. It hasn't been proven that adding tea bags to a bath will tint your skin for longer than a few hours and taking supplements may give you an intensely orange complexion. Dr. Stuart suggests that the most effective method of achieving a natural glow is by consuming fresh fruits and vegetables as a large part of your diet.

Dr. Susan Stuart is considered one of San Diego's leading experts in dermatology and lasers and has been selected as one of American's top physicians in dermatology.


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