Foods That Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage & Sunburn

7 Foods That Protect Your Skin from Sun Damage & Sunburn

Eating foods that protect your skin from sun damage is becoming more popular. Ingredients in plants, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, help protect plants from too much light and shield human skin from UV damage. 

When consumed through a balanced diet, these micronutrients disperse to light-exposed tissues like the skin and eyes, offering an extra layer of protection. Compounds like beta-carotene and lycopene work to prevent skin redness caused by UV rays, while dietary flavanols also provide UV protection. 

Studies have shown that, after around 10-12 weeks of including these nutrients in your diet, there is a noticeable reduction in skin sensitivity to UV rays.

Incorporating these micronutrients into your diet can help protect your skin from UV damage throughout your life.

Article at a Glance:

Reasons You Need To Know Foods That Help Prevent Sun Damage

Ultimate List of Foods That Provide Sun Protection

The Magic of Autophagy: Prolonged Fasting to Help Repair Sun Damaged Skin

What Foods Provide Sun Protection?

Eating for sun protection involves consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients known to combat the damaging effects of UV radiation.

These antioxidants protect skin cells from UV damage by neutralizing harmful free radicals. These foods reduce inflammation, enhance the skin’s natural barrier, and neutralise harmful free radicals caused by sun exposure.

Specific nutrients like omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamin E, lycopene, and lutein are crucial in skin protection from UV rays.

Reasons You Need to Know Foods That Help Prevent Sun Damage

Foods That Help Prevent Sun Damage

The need to protect your skin from sun damage extends beyond vanity. The sun’s rays can cause significant harm, making it crucial to know which foods offer sun protection for maintaining skin health and preventing serious conditions like skin cancer.

  • Prevent Premature Aging: UV rays accelerate skin aging, causing wrinkles and fine lines.
  • Enhance Skin Health: Nutrient-rich foods improve overall skin condition, making it more resilient.

Diet is pivotal in how well your skin can handle sun exposure. 

The foods you consume can either enhance your skin’s defense mechanisms or leave you vulnerable to damage from UV light.

Ultimate List of Foods That Provide Sun Protection

Introducing these powerful foods into your diet can significantly affect your skin’s ability to fend off UV damage. 

Vitamin E, an important antioxidant, protects the skin from sun damage by absorbing energy from UV light and preventing UV-induced free radical damage. Here’s how you can start.

1. Tomatoes

lycopene in tomatoes

Why? Tomatoes are packed with lycopene, a potent antioxidant known for its sun-protective properties. Lycopene protects skin by fighting free radical damage from the sun and preventing UV-induced free radical damage. Regular consumption of tomatoes or tomato-based products can help reduce skin redness and inflammation caused by UV exposure.

Execution: Incorporate tomatoes into your daily meals through salads, soups, or sauces. Cooking tomatoes enhances the bioavailability of lycopene, making it easier for your body to absorb and utilize this nutrient.

2. Carrots

beta-carotene in carrots

Why? Carrots are rich in beta-carotene, another powerful antioxidant that can protect your skin from sunburn and free radical damage.

Execution: Snack on raw carrots, add them to salads, or blend them into smoothies. Aim to consume carrots regularly to build up your skin’s defenses.

3. Sweet Potatoes

beta carotene in sweet potatoes

Why? Sweet potatoes offer a double whammy of beta-carotene and vitamin C, both of which are essential for skin health and UV protection.

Execution: Bake or roast sweet potatoes as a side dish or add them to stews and casseroles. Their sweet flavor makes them versatile ingredients in both savory and sweet dishes.

4. Red, Orange & Yellow Bell Peppers

beta carotene in peppers

Why? These vibrant peppers contain antioxidants, including beta-carotene and vitamin C, which help protect your skin from sun damage.

Execution: Slice peppers into strips for a crunchy snack, add them to stir-fries, or grill them as part of a vegetable medley. Their bright colors also make them appealing additions to any dish.

5. Blueberries and Grapes

resveratrol in grapes

Why? Blueberries and grapes are rich in resveratrol and other antioxidants, which protect healthy skin cells and bolster the skin’s defenses against UV-induced damage.

Execution: Enjoy these fruits as a snack, add them to yogurt or oatmeal, or blend them into smoothies. Their natural sweetness makes them a delightful treat any time of day.

6. Salmon

omega-3 in Salmon

Why? Salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and astaxanthin, which provide anti-inflammatory and sun-protective benefits.

The anti-inflammatory properties of omega-3 fatty acids can make sunburn less severe and may help prevent the development of skin cancer.

Execution: Grill, bake, or pan-sear salmon for a nutritious meal. Include salmon in your diet at least twice a week to reap its nutrients’ sun-protective benefits.

7. Watermelon

lycopene in watermelon

Why? Watermelon is another excellent source of lycopene, offering hydration and protection against sunburn.

Execution: Enjoy watermelon slices as a refreshing snack, or blend them into a hydrating smoothie. Perfect for hot summer days, watermelon keeps you cool and protected.

Key Considerations for Absorbing Antioxidants from Your Food

While incorporating these foods into your diet is beneficial, consuming them regularly over time is essential to build up your skin’s protective qualities.

Vitamin E is crucial in absorbing UV light and protecting the skin against sun damage. For instance, the benefits of beta-carotene and omega-3s require consistent intake over several weeks to months to be effective.

The Magic of Autophagy: Prolonged Fasting to Repair Sun-Damaged Skin

Prolonged Fasting for Sun Damaged Skin

Autophagy, a natural cellular process where the body cleans out damaged cells and regenerates new ones, can be enhanced through prolonged fasting.

This process helps repair sun-damaged skin by removing impaired cells and promoting the growth of healthy ones.

Quick Guide to Prolonged Fasting to Trigger Autophagy:

Start Slow: Begin with shorter fasting periods (12-16 hours) and gradually increase to 24-48 hours.

Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water during your fast to support cellular functions.

Avoid Sugary Drinks and Snacks: Stick to non-caloric beverages like water, tea, or black coffee.

Monitor Your Body: Consider how your body responds and consult a healthcare professional if needed.

Other Ways to Increase Autophagy:

Exercise Regularly: Physical activity stimulates autophagy in muscle and other tissues.

Eat a Ketogenic Diet: High-fat, low-carbohydrate diets can promote autophagy.

Reduce Stress: Chronic stress inhibits autophagy, so practices like meditation and yoga can be beneficial.

Get Quality Sleep: Proper rest is crucial for cellular repair and autophagy.

Incorporating these practices can effectively enhance autophagy and support overall cellular health.

Alternatives to Antioxidant-Rich Food for Sun Protection

Organic Face Sunscreen Tinted Mineral SPF 50

(80 customer reviews)
Original price was: AU$40.00.Current price is: AU$34.99.

Hydrating, antioxidant-boosted natural face sunscreen crafted for adventure and endurance sports.


While diet plays a significant role, combining these dietary strategies with other sun protection methods is important. 

Aloe vera gel is a natural alternative for sunburn relief, known for its effectiveness in reducing skin redness caused by UV light exposure.

To maximize your skin’s defense against UV radiation, use a natural broad-spectrum sunscreen, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during peak sun hours.

Conclusion: Foods That Protect Your Skin From Sun Damage

Incorporating sun-protective foods into my diet has been a game-changer for my skin health. Over time, I’ve noticed fewer sunburns and an overall improvement in my skin’s resilience.

Consuming these nutrient-rich foods makes me more confident enjoying outdoor activities without worrying about sun damage.

Remember, your diet is a powerful tool in your skincare arsenal. Start today by adding these seven foods to your meals and experience the benefits of natural sun protection.

This is by no means an exhaustive list so look for more foods with betacarotene, lycopene, antioxidants, and omega-3 fattyacids!

Remember the most important thing of all is consistency, incorporating these foods into your diet must be done regularly for at least 10 weeks to see real results.


What are foods that help sunburn?

Foods high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, such as tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, and leafy greens, can help soothe sunburns.

These foods provide essential nutrients like beta-carotene and vitamins C and E that assist in skin repair and reduce inflammation.

What heals sunburn fast?

To heal sunburns quickly, use aloe vera gel, hydrating moisturizers, and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.

Additionally, staying hydrated and consuming foods rich in antioxidants like blueberries, grapes, and salmon can speed up healing.

What foods are good for sun damage?

Foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and omega-3 fatty acids are excellent for repairing sun-damaged skin. These include tomatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, blueberries, grapes, salmon, and watermelon.

These nutrients help reduce inflammation and promote skin regeneration.

Do bananas help sunburn?

While bananas are not particularly known for healing sunburns, they contain vitamins C and B6, supporting overall skin health.

Bananas are more beneficial when combined with other nutrient-dense foods specifically known for their skin-protective properties.

What foods are good for sun damage?

Avoid applying petroleum-based products, which can trap heat in the skin and worsen the sunburn. Also, avoid alcohol-based lotions or creams, which can dry the skin and exacerbate irritation.

Instead, opt for soothing, hydrating products like aloe vera and moisturizers specifically designed for sunburn relief.

Mick Wadley

Mick Wadley – Founder of Skorcha

After a decade in the scorching sun as a roofer and going door-to-door in sales – I was forced to take my skin health seriously following a skin cancer scare before the age of 30.

So began my passion for suncare, which is both effective and natural. Crafted for adventure and endurance sports, Skorcha formulas are non-greasy, have no eye sting and absolutely no bullshit (100% Organic).

My goal is to share what I’ve learned about skin health and safe ingredients, inspiring happier, healthier lives through adventure, organic goodness and conservation!

Help us plant a mangrove tree with every Skorcha product sold to protect fragile marine ecosystems and support underprivileged communities around the world.

Statements made on this website have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Products sold on this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Information provided by this website or this company is not a substitute for direct, individual medical treatment or advice. It is the responsibility of you and your healthcare providers to make all decisions regarding your health. Skorcha recommends that you consult with your healthcare providers regarding the diagnosis and treatment of any disease or condition.