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Antioxidant Foods that Help Prevent UV Damage and Skin Cancer

According to Cancer Research UK, the rate of skin cancer incidence in the UK is projected to go up by 7% between 2014 and 2035.

In 2015, there were 15,906 recorded cases of melanoma skin cancer, representing around 4% of total cancer cases in the UK.

UV Rays, Skin Damage and Cancer

UV damage remains as the main cause of skin cancer and premature ageing including wrinkles, sagging skin and hyperpigmentation. Exposure to UV rays trigger the formation of free radicals in the body. These free radicals cause cellular damage including DNA damage which may lead to the formation of cancer.

Using a sunscreen to protect your skin against UV damage has been one of the most effective preventative actions against skin cancer. Numerous studies also showed that eating certain type of foods can reduce the cancer risk including skin cancer.

Antioxidant Foods Help Reduce The Cancer Risk

Foods that are rich in antioxidants are shown to be beneficial in preventing the development of cancer. Antioxidant has the ability to neutralise free radicals, molecules that cause damages to body cells including DNA damage.

Sweet Potatoes 

Sweet potatoes are rich in Beta-Carotene. Also known as pro-vitamin A, Beta-Carotene is an antioxidant that together with other phytochemicals in sweet potatoes help neutralise free radicals.

Citrus Fruits

Known as the sources of vitamin C, a water-soluble antioxidant that helps prevent free radicals to damage body cells and DNA.

Fatty Fish

Fatty fish like Salmon, Tuna and Mackerel are rich in vitamin D and Omega 3 Fatty Acids.

Studies showed that both vitamin D and Omega 3 fatty acids help prevent skin cancer. 

Sunflower Seeds

Sunflower seeds are rich in vitamin E, one of the popular antioxidants. Eating sunflower seeds regularly helps reduce free radical damage in your body and strengthens skin barrier.


Turmeric contains Curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that gives the root an amazing orange colour. According to University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Curcumin helps lower the risk for cancer.


Several studies suggested that eating tomatoes may help lower the risk for skin cancer. This is likely due to Lycopene, the antioxidant found in tomatoes.

Dark Chocolate 

Polyphenols are phytochemicals found in some foods such as dark chocolate, rose petal, cocoa powder, shea butter, clove, star anise, chamomile, green tea, fruits and vegetables.

Some studies revealed that polyphenols have anticarcinogenic properties that help reduce the cancer risk.  


A very popular vegetable in cooking, Garlic is known to possess anti-carcinogenic properties that help lower the risk for various cancers. For the optimum health benefits, it is best to eat it fresh and raw.


A recent study at The University of Texas at Arlington suggested that zinc can inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Therefore eating shellfish, the best source of zinc, may help prevent skin cancer.

If you are a vegan, you can get zinc from various legumes, seeds and nuts.

Foods That Help Prevent Skin Cancer

Does Taking Antioxidant Supplements Help Reduce Cancer Risk?

Several studies suggested that taking antioxidant supplements doesn't really help lower the risk of developing cancer. Isolated antioxidants found in various supplements don't seem to be as effective as the antioxidants in the whole foods in lowering the cancer risk.

Why Eating Whole Foods is Better than Taking Supplements?

Whole foods such as fruits, nuts, seeds and vegetables contain many other phytochemicals, in addition to the antioxidant contents. These phytochemicals and antioxidants seem to be working synergistically in neutralising free radicals. 

How To Protect Your Skin from UV-induced Damage and Ageing

1. Wear a sunscreen whenever you plan to be outdoor during the day. Reapply your sunscreen regularly, at least every two hours or more frequently if you are sweating or going for a swim.

2. Limit your skin exposure to UV rays. Even if you wear a sunscreen, do not stay too long under the sun especially during peak times. 

3. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables everyday. They contain phytochemicals that help protect against environmental damage.

4. Use skincare products that contain natural antioxidants. Some plants contain powerful antioxidants and phytochemicals that are beneficial for the skin and your overall health. At PariQu, we love to use botanical and natural ingredients that have excellent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and skin-soothing properties such as:

1. Rose Extract

A study showed that Rose extract contains several antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial compounds that are greatly beneficial for your skin health regardless of the skin type from mature ageing skin to acne-prone, sensitive skin. Rose extract is the main ingredient in award-winning Rose & Cacay Hydrating Serum Cream, two-in-one serum and moisturiser that also contains Saccharide Isomerate, the skin-identical phytocomplex that has been proven to provide an instant, deeply soothing and long-lasting hydration. 

2. Blue Chamomile essential oil

Chamomile has been used for its therapeutic properties for thousands years. Blue Chamomile essential oil contains Bisabolol, Chamazulene and Flavonoids; the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytosubstances that calm sensitive skin and help prevent premature ageing. It is the featured ingredient in Blue Chamomile & Cacay Facial Oil, a super nourishing yet quickly-absorbed face oil.

3. Colloidal Gold

The upcoming trend to use Colloidal Gold in skincare and beauty products has driven by the knowledge of its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body and skin. Colloidal Gold is the key ingredient in 24k Gold & Rosehip Rejuvenating Cream, a nourishing moisturiser to soothe and protect skin from dryness, harsh environment and premature signs of ageing.

4. Rice Bran oil

Rice Bran contains powerful antioxidant, soothing and skin strengthening phytochemicals including Ferulic Acid, Oryzanol and Tocopherols. Rice Bran oil is very soothing and nourishing, yet it doesn't trigger skin breakouts therefore it can be used on all skin types.

5. Rosehip oil

Rosehip oil is one of the best sources of Beta-Carotene which gives the oil its deep orange colour and helps protect the skin against free radical and UV damage. Rosehip oil and Caffeine are the key ingredients in Rosehip Eye Cream, a gentle protecting eye cream to soothe and nourish the fragile skin around the eyes.

6. Cacay oil

The richest source of Linoleic Acid (also known as omega 6 essential fatty acids), Cacay oil is one of my favourite plant oils. Linoleic Acid, the major component of this nourishing yet light on the skin soothing oil, has been proven to reduce various signs of ageing including UV-induced hyperpigmentation and skin discolouration.

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Sources: Cancer Research UK, www.cancerresearchuk.org; Diet and Dermatology, The Role of Dietary Intervention in Skin Disease, The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, 2014 July, 7(7): 46–51; The alpha-tocopherol, beta-carotene lung cancer prevention study: Design, methods, participant characteristics, and compliance, Annals of Epidemiology, Volume 4, Issue 1, January 1994, Pages 1-10; Polyphenols: skin photoprotection and inhibition of photocarcinogenesis, Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 011 Dec, 11(14): 1200-15; Zinc can halt the growth of cancer cells, study says, Science Daily, September 28, 2017.

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