Getting a perfect suntan Things we should do immediately
Dr. Giulia Leoni
Even if this May has so far been a little uncertain, the good season is coming and, with it, also the first sunshine and the consequent desire for suntan.
Indeed, a beautifully tanned skin is often perceived as healthier and more seductive, therefore it is understandable that all are attracted by it, but we should not forget the good rules to be followed to achieve a beautiful suntan that will also be long-lasting and, more importantly, really healthy.
From proper nutrition to body pampering, there are some strategies we should start adopting immediately, if we want to develop a nice tan and glow all the summer long and beyond! Indeed, exposing to sunlight with the proper preparation, which includes the use of a sunscreen, beside contributing to our beauty, will improve our health and mood thanks to VitaminD: a real blessing for our immune system.
Tanning tips: we protect the skin
Savage suntanning, beside being out-fashioned, is actually unhealthy and was shown to be the main cause of early skin ageing. The keyword for a perfect tan is “gradually”.
Suntanning is a natural skin protection process (let’s keep it in mind!), therefore exposing too harshly, for too long and without adequate skin preparation can cause minor issues, such as uneven tan, to more serious issues, such as sunburns, erythema and photo-aging.
Oxidative stress is the result of an unbalance of the delicate equilibrium between physiological production of free radicals (also caused by exposure to specific environmental factors like sunlight, radiations, pollution and xenobiotics) and the body antioxidant defenses.
How to prepare for the sun?
Whatever your photo-type is, it is highly recommended that, at least one month before exposing to sunlight, you start building up the reserve of antioxidants by eating antioxidant food.
The easiest way to intake these precious elixirs is a diet rich in fruit and vegetables with red, orange or yellow peel or pulp. Enjoy them raw, so to get the best of their properties (eating them with their peel would even be better) in the form of salads, smoothies, gazpachos or fruit salads.
Alternatively or additionally, you can take a specific diet supplement for 30 days at least Radical Stop® by BeC is a supplement of vitamins, minerals and vegetable extracts and is a precious aid to contrast cell ageing processes induced by free radicals. Dosed in vegetable gelatin capsules, hence ideal also for people on vegetarian or vegan diet, it can be a valuable supplement in our daily nutrition.
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as it enriches our diet with extremely important elements to maintain cell integrity and fight ageing, to protect our body and help prevent the many pathologies which have been shown to be, directly or indirectly, related to excess free radicals (among them cardiovascular diseases, liver affections, etc). Particularly useful to fight free radicals are vitamins A, C and E, which trap these highly reactive species, thereby protecting our cellular structures from their aggression. Extremely important are also the vegetable extracts provided by Radical Stop®, such as the extracts of Blood Orange, Olive, Grape, Pine bark, and Blackberry, especially rich in tannins, bio-flavonoids, and other polyphenolic compounds, able to revert the action of free radicals.
It should, however, be kept in mind that a proper diet and the intake of diet supplements cannot replace the sunscreen, which needs to be used in all cases to avoid sunburns, erythema and photo-aging.
In order to prepare skin to sunlight, we also need to work from outside. A deep scrub, at least once a week, will remove dead cells from your skin, making it smoother, free to deeply breeze and ready for sunlight.
Geo green by BeC is a body mud-mask based on natural silt with skin-purifying action, ideal to remove the “winter layer”, since it offers a delicate and physiological peeling that will remove from skin those impurities that have accumulated in wintertime.
Its special formula rich in vegetable oils and extracts brings hydration and trophic activity, aiding epidermis renewal and leaving the skin smooth and silky. Furthermore it is an excellent aid to drain liquids and help cellulite treatments, thanks to the extract of Ivy, Fucus, Birch and Boswellia, which shape and tone our silhouette, making it firmer and helping us successfully pass the stressing “bath-suit test”.
The final secret is to apply everyday a good moisturizing cream and, after a day of sunbathing at the seaside, a specific aftersun lotion that will help sooth possible reddening. Indeed, suntan will rapidly fade away if it is not taken care of because of the continuous renewal or outer epidermis layers, with continuous removal of dead cells. By using a moisturizing product since the first sunlight exposure, we can, instead, slow down the peeling process and greatly extend the duration of our even suntan.
SÉ® body cream by BeC, thanks to its emollient and moisturizing principles, helps re-establish the physiological skin balance, particularly for dry, dehydrated or cracked skin.
Furthermore, thanks to the extract of Centella that stimulates the biosynthesis of collagen, and tanks to the extract of Echinacea that inhibits the degradation of hyaluronic acid, increases skin elasticity and inhibits the free radical processes that would damage collagen and elastin, thereby contrasting stretch marks. Aescin extracted from horse chestnut works synergically with Rutin (from rue) in protecting blood vessels and reducing edema, improving peripheral microcirculation and giving relief to swollen legs. Its smooth texture and the rapid absorption, along with 100% natural fragrance on citrus and almond notes, will make your skin silky smooth and sensual.A healthy and golden suntan is to be gained before exposing to sunlight. As summertime is coming, start pampering yourselves with specific and effective products, so to fully enjoy sunlight beneficial action and get a glowing suntan that will turn your friends jealous.
Cyclooxygenase, lipoxygenase and the inflammatory process
Cyclooxygenase and lipooxygenase are the two families of enzymes that are commonly involved in the inflammatory process, through a complex of reactions which is called arachidonic acid cascade. This complex of reactions develops as follows: a first enzyme, a phospholipase cleaves the phospholipids of biological membranes, releasing arachidonic acid, a polyunsaturated fatty acid with 20 carbon atoms (eicosa-5Z,8Z,11Z,14Z-tetraenoic acid ; C20:4; ω-6). The arachidonic acid is then transformed by two parallel enzymatic pathways, that is, by two families of enzymes: the cyclooxygenase which transforms it into prostaglandins and thromboxanes and the lipooxygenase which transforms it into hydroperoxides which in turn transform into leukotrienes .
There are two cyclooxygenase isoforms indicated with type 1 and type 2, briefly COX-1 and COX-2. COX-1 is the enzyme present in most cells (except red blood cells), and is constitutive, that is, it is always present. COX-2 is an inducible cyclooxygenase isoform: it is constitutively present in some organs such as brain, liver, kidney, stomach, heart and vascular system, while it can be induced (i.e. developed if necessary) following inflammatory stimuli on the skin, white blood cells and muscles.
There are various types of lipooxygenase that lead to different products, the most important in the inflammatory process is 5-lipooxygenase, 5-LOX.
Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes
Prostaglandins, Thromboxanes, and Leukotrienes are chemical messengers or mediators, that is, molecules that bring a message to specific cells and activate or deactivate metabolic responses in these cells. They, therefore, have a function similar to hormones, only that, unlike what hormones do, the chemical message is carried only at a short distance, that is, only to the cells that are in the vicinity of the place where the mediators were produced. There are different prostaglandins, different thromboxanes and different leukotrienes that carry specific messages. In many cases these act as mediators of the inflammatory process , therefore they trigger all the events that are involved in inflammation:
– vasodilation with consequent blood supply (redness),
– increased capillary permeability with consequent fluid exudation (swelling or edema),
– stimulation of nociceptive nerve signals (pain),
– on-site recall of immune system cells that attack a possible invader (chemotactic action)
– activation of the biosynthesis of fibrous tissue to strengthen or repair the affected part (even if there is no need)
– generations of free radicals that can chemically destroy an invader (but also damage our tissues, i.e. they just “shoot in the middle”).
Prostaglandins and thromboxanes, however, also play important physiological roles in normal conditions, i.e. in the absence of inflammation. For example, they regulate the secretion of mucus that protects the walls of the stomach, they regulate the biosynthesis of cartilages and synovial fluid in the joints, they regulate vasodilation, hence the correct flow of blood in the various local districts, and more.
Triglycerides are the main components of most oils and fats. These are heavy, non-volatile and little polar molecules, insoluble in water, made up of glycerol (or glycerin) esterified with three molecules of fatty acids: therefore, it is a tri-ester of glycerin, from which the name derives. Each fatty acid contains 8 to 22 carbon atoms (commonly 16 to 18) and can be saturated, mono-unsaturated or poly-unsaturated. The size of the fatty acids and their saturation determines the physical and sensorial properties of the triglycerides, which can appear as oils (liquids at room temperature) or fats (solid or semi-solid) and can have greater or less greasiness and smoothness on the skin. Unsaturated triglycerides or with shorter fatty acids are more fluid and have greater flowability.
Fatty acids (saturated, mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated)
The name fatty acids is commonly used to indicate those organic acids that are found in the composition of lipids, that is, in animal and vegetable oils and fats, both in the free form and in the form of esters with glycerol (e.g. in triglycerides), or they are esterified with “fatty” alcohols, that is, long chain alcohols, to form waxes. Fatty acids are carboxylic acids (formula R-COOH) which have a long carbon chain (R), unlike common organic acids such as acetic acid and propionic acid, which have 2 or 3 carbon atoms in total, respectively. Fatty acids are defined as saturatedif they do not have double carbon-carbon bonds, (called “unsaturations”), they are defined mono-unsaturated if they have only one, they are defined mono-unsaturatedpoly-unsaturated if they have two or more double bonds (see figure). The term omega-3 (ω-3) or omega-6 (ω-3), refers to the position of the first double bond starting from the bottom of the chain of carbon atoms: if the first double bond is encountered after 3 carbon atoms the fatty acid is classified as omega-3 , if after six carbon atoms omega-6 , as shown in the figure. The most common saturated fatty acids are palmitic acid (16 carbon atoms and no double bond, C16: 0) and stearic acid (18 carbon atoms, 18: 0), the most common mono-unsaturated is the oleic acid, typical of olive oil (18 carbon atoms and 1 double bond in position 9, C18: 1; ω-9), while the most common poly-unsaturated are linoleic acid and linolenic acid, progenitors respectively omega-6 and omega-3 (see figure).
Terpenes and terpenoids
Terpenes or terpenoids are a large family of natural molecules, typically containing 10 to 30 carbon atoms, which are biosynthesized from a common “brick”, isopentenyl pyrophosphate (IPP), containing 5 carbon atoms (see figure). The discovery that the repetitive brick consists of 5 carbon atoms is relatively recent, while it was once assumed that the entire family was created by repeating a brick of 10 carbon atoms, which was called “terpene”. Therefore, the molecules with 10 carbon atoms (such as limonene, see figure) were called mono-terpenes, i.e. composed of a single brick, diterpenes those with 20 carbon atoms (e.g. the cafestol that gives the aroma to the coffee), triterpenes those with 30 carbon atoms (e.g. beta-carotene). Since molecules made from 15 carbon atoms were also found (such as bisabolol), it was thought they contained a terpene and a half, and were called sesquiterpenes (from the Latin semis = half + atque = and). Today it is known that the repetitive unit is composed of 5 carbon atoms, therefore it is easy to understand how mono-terpenes contain two (see figure), sesquiterpenes three, diterpenes four, triterpenes six.