Ask the Dietitian: The Secret To Conquering Sun Damage

  • By RenewAlliance, Inc.
  • 30 Jun, 2017
We all live for the summer months! Nothing is better than going to the lake, beach, or hanging out at the pool with your family and friends on a long, hot summer day. While this is therapeutic to the mind and spirit, it may not always be so great for your skin. And we all know that we’re supposed to wear sunscreen on the regular to help protect our skin from the sun’s damaging rays, but maintaining coverage and reapplying sunscreen is sometimes a task that escapes us while we are having fun. Unconsciously, we may end up with a sunburn, which is a clear indicator of immediate skin damage. This damage accumulates over time, and accelerates the skin aging in all of us, resulting in dark/sun spots (hyperpigmentation), and contributes to other subcutaneous skin structure breakdown that leads to lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin. Which is a major bummer for our beauty goals.

So yes, we know sunscreen is a must. But what else can we do to help protect and heal the effects of summer skin mishaps? Starting from the inside and working out, nutrition can play a role to help heal and repair skin integrity, as well as appearance. In addition to an overall balanced diet, the two key nutritional components to help you achieve healthier skin are collagen and antioxidants .


Collagen is a very important structural protein in our bodies, found in tendons and ligaments, cartilage, bones, blood vessels, and of course skin. In the skin, it is the major protein found in the matrix, with elastin and hyaluronic acid. Which basically means it is a key component to making your skin looking young by maintaining its structure and shape over time.

The collagen family consists of over 28 types of collagen, and different types are put to work in our bodies in different ways. When it comes to skin, when we are young it is made of 80% type I collagen and about 15% type III collagen. As we age, in our adult years we begin to lose the natural ability to replenish collagen by about 1.5% per year, and the collagen we maintain becomes thicker and shorter, ultimately decreasing the structure and elasticity of the skin. And sun damage only further exacerbates this process, contributing to premature aged skin.

The good news is we can give our bodies a little extra help when it comes to collagen replenishment to support our skin. By adding a supplement of high quality, hydrolyzed collagen, containing mostly type I with some type III collagens, you can provide your body with some of the most important building blocks to help maintain the health of your skin matrix, even after a week of sunning in the Caribbean. Taut Premium Collagen fits this bill, with 13,000mg of high quality marine hydrolyzed collagen, 90% of which is type I and the remaining is type III. 


When it comes to summer skin health, antioxidants are your first line of defense inside the body as they assist to fight the harmful effects of free radicals caused by sun exposure and other environmental factors from summer fun. Studies estimate that of all the free radicals found in the skin, 80% of these are directly caused by UV rays, or sun exposure. Therefore, our skin needs all the help it can get to help combat the negative effects of free radicals to not only help in preventing serious conditions such as skin cancer, but also to help prevent premature aging. This is yet another reason why eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is so important, to ensure a diet rich in a variety of antioxidants.

In addition to a healthy, plant-based diet, supplements can certainly be beneficial in supporting antioxidant activity in the skin, especially those rich in flavanols and polyphenols. The latest new product that is now available is Masquelier’s® French Pine Bark Extract + Original OPCs, rich in flavanols and polyphenols. It is a powerhouse antioxidant supplement that not only supports skin health by protecting collagen fibers from free radical damage, but also protect your blood vessels and improve circulation.

Formula for Skin Success in the Summer Months

This summer, get out there and enjoy the sun and warmth, but make sure you are taking care of your skin at the same time! Never skimp on sunscreen (and reapplying as needed), make fruits and vegetables the base of all meals, and supplement your diet with a powerful collagen and antioxidant supplement for the ultimate skin protection plan. And if that sounds complicated, it doesn’t have to be! The latest unique summer package, the ANTIOXY FOXY KIT , provides 24 bottles of Taut Premium Collagen, plus 50 capsules of Masquelier’s® French Pine Bark Extract. So all you need to remember is sunscreen and a balanced diet – let the Antioxy Foxy Kit take care of the rest!


1.    Sibilla et al. An overview of the beneficial effects of hydrolysed collagen as a nutraceutical on skin properties: scientific background and clinical studies. 2015; 829-42.

2.    Oikarinen A. The aging of skin: chronoaging versus photoaging. Photodermatol Photoimmunol Photomed 1990;7(1):3-4.

3.    Uitto J. Understanding premature skin aging. N Eng J Med 1997;337(20): 1463-5.

4.    Poljsak B, Dahmane R. Free Radicals and Extrinsic Skin Aging. Dermatology and Research Practice. 2012 Feb 29. doi:   10.1155/2012/135206

Monica Amburn - Nutritionist/Dietitian
About the author:   Monica Amburn   , MS, RD, LDN  
Monica is a nutritionist with a passion for providing trustworthy nutrition information that can be easily implemented into everyday life. A registered dietitian/nutritionist since 2004, Monica received her bachelor’s degree in foods & nutrition with a minor in dance (yes, dance), from Radford University in Virginia. She later received her master’s degree in nutrition & dietetics from the University of North Florida, and now works as the Senior Director of Health & Wellness for healthyAisles® in the supermarket industry. While she is a Virginia mountain girl at heart, she now lives in central Florida, where she spends her free time ballroom dancing, doing yoga, cooking, dressing her pug in silly outfits, and blogging at   .

If you have a nutrition question, just ask Monica. Email    to ask her a question.   It's like having your very own nutritionist.  We may even feature your question to benefit others.

Note: If you would not like your name to be shown, please let us know and we will keep your question as Anonymous.

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By RenewAlliance, Inc. 13 Oct, 2017

It was difficult to spot the difference because you look at your face every morning. You stumble upon an old picture from college or even just five years ago. “My skin used to be so smooth and firm!” “Where did that saggy, extra skin come from underneath my chin?”

Skin issues can be emotionally difficult to deal with. We feel self-conscious when there is a giant, red pimple on our nose or when there are more dark spots and less firmness in our skin. It is the first thing people see and generally, we cannot hide it.

As a teenager, I struggled with acne and later in my twenties, I remember waking up one morning with dry, scaly patches on the bridge of my nose and on my neck. Seemingly overnight, I found myself dealing with moderately severe eczema.

People would ask, “What’s wrong with your neck? Did you get a really bad sunburn.” As much as I tried to convince myself that I was not self-conscious about my skin, these innocent comments from friends and family started to wear down on me.

I would hesitate to wear t-shirts because they exposed my neck, and I did not want to deal with the “innocent” comments or have to explain that I was not contagious. I tried different eczema creams and lotions but this was more than just dry skin.

As much as I disliked going to the doctor, my mom, who is a pharmacist, convinced me to make an appointment with my family physician. My doctor examined my skin and came back after 5 minutes with two tubes of medication—two different forms of topical steroid creams. He said, “Just apply these until the patches go away.”

“How long will I have to use these?”

“Probably off and on for the rest of your life.”

That just did not make any sense to me. This was one of those turning points in my life that started me down the path of looking for answers about what these symptoms mean and how to get to the root cause of the issue rather than just covering up the issue with medications.

Little did I realize, or did my family physician, that my form of eczema (also commonly called atopic dermatitis) was not primarily a skin disease, but rather a sign that my body’s internal environment was out of balance.

My mom was always the one encouraging myself and her customers at the pharmacy to use as few medications as possible. She promoted healthy lifestyle and nutrition because she understood that medications were not the answer to all health problems. You might see why I was inspired to look to a different approach to medicine. My holistic medical education at Bastyr University, an accredited naturopathic medical school, taught me to look at symptoms in the context of whole-body health.

Even if you do not have a skin condition, taking care of your internal environment will keep your skin healthy, radiant, and smooth. 

Let me explain.

By RenewAlliance, Inc. 14 Sep, 2017

Produced by fibroblasts, elastin is an important protein that enables our skin to return to its original shape after it stretches or contracts. Elastin fibers are like little rubber bands in the connective tissue throughout our bodies. Eventually, the fibers lose their ability to snap back.

Through the years, there are many things that can take a toll on your skin, including the sun, bad habits, and pollution. Exposure to these elements can damage the elastin fibers in your skin, which causes the skin to sag and stretch.

Loose skin and tissue under the upper arm area due to damaged elastin is a common issue. Flabby upper arm skin may make you feel reluctant to wear sleeveless shirts and swimsuits. Factors that contribute to sagging underarm skin include aging, smoking, genetics, and weight loss.

When your weight fluctuates, it can break or weaken the elastin fibers in the dermis, which results in the loss of tensile strength. Therefore, the skin is unable to bounce back and regain its original shape, similarly to when a rubber brand is stretched beyond its limit. If you lose weight and simultaneously lose muscle mass, this leads to a loss of tone that causes the skin in the underarm area to appear flaccid. 

Here are some tips for avoiding and treating sagging underarm skin.  

By RenewAlliance, Inc. 25 Aug, 2017

Nearly everyone has heard of collagen and its importance for skin health, but few people know how to tell the difference between the many truths and falsehoods that abound regarding collagen supplements. Most people’s skin care knowledge lies somewhere between science and pure hype, and many misconceptions about collagen supplements are spread through word-of-mouth. 

Let’s expose the top 5 myths about collagen supplements, so you can ensure that you’re using proven treatments in a correct way while saving yourself time, money, and effort.

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