Summer Done a Number on Your Skin?

September 2, 2009
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Your sunscreen may be to blame!

sunscreenIf your skin is starting to feel like the Sahara, you’re not alone. Even if you’ve been slathering on sunscreen all summer, the sun is hard on the complexion.

Part of the problem is what’s in sunscreen. A new report from Friends of the Earth questions the safety of manufactured nanoparticles—a popular, new way to deliver cosmetic ingredients—in sun protection products.

That’s because sun protective ingredients work differently as tiny nanoparticles than they do in their usual “bulk” form. Even the “gold standards” of sun protection—titanium dioxide and zinc oxide—don’t protect against dangerous radiation in minute form as nanoparticles.

This summer you may not have been getting the protection you thought from UVA (cancer-causing) rays and UVB (skin-burning) rays, but that’s not all!  Whether used in sunscreens or your favorite cosmetics, nanoparticles can easily enter the skin. They can also be inhaled through the lungs, where they enter the bloodstream with unlimited access to tissues and organs.

Benzophenone, found in most chemical sunscreens, “is one of the most powerful free-radical generators known to man,” says Canadian researcher Hans Larsen, MSc, ChE. This ingredient and its derivatives (oxybenzone and benzophenone-3) may actually help promote skin cancer.

Antioxidants, on the other hand, offer real protection in sunscreens. One new study finds that botanical antioxidants, green tea, and vitamin C and E in broad-spectrum sunscreen lessen UV-induced sun damage more effectively than other sunscreens. Other research finds that taking vitamin E, grapeseed extract, and other nutrients can raise the skin’s own sun protective factor (SPF) by 10 percent!

Dr. Ann Louise’s Take:

Knowing that the skin is a major detoxification organ, I always avoid nanoparticles in any cosmetic and skin care products that I use. And I’m well aware that beauty is only skin deep.

If you want to stop those fine lines that the summer sun has added to your face, consume essential fatty acids (EFAs) like flaxseed oil. They lubricate the fatty layer just beneath your skin, giving you a dewy complexion that everyone will admire. In addition to taking GLA (another essential fat) as a supplement, you can also break open a capsule and smooth it on sun-parched skin.

Nurture your complexion from the inside out with vitamin A, the number one wrinkle fighter. Getting enough of this vitamin from brightly colored fruits and vegetables (plus a good multivitamin) helps ensure that skin stays taut, silky soft, and youthful looking—at any age. And don’t forget other antioxidant vitamins C and E. Or that all-star beauty mineral, antioxidant zinc.

“B” smart with your skin nutrients. A guardian angel for women, vitamin B6 helps treat dry skin so common this time of year, as well as acne. Pantothenic acid stops premature aging and wrinkles—due to summer sun—in their tracks. Other B vitamins (like folic acid, niacin, inositol, and choline) also support clear, supple skin.

At any age or stage of life, follow the basics of good skin care twice a day. Cleanse with a natural product suitable for your skin type. To tighten pores, tone with an alcohol-free astringent to prevent drying. Then moisturize to protect your skin from bacteria, makeup, smog, and other damaging agents. Daily moisturizing fattens up skin cells, helping to make your skin feel smooth and silky.

Unless you have sensitive skin or broken capillaries, you want to exfoliate gently once or twice a week. This will get rid of summer’s dead, dry skin, while stimulating circulation to give you a radiant, healthy-looking glow.


Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Susan Hodges

    Ann Louise, your Edge On Health Blog is fantastic! Extremely helpful. Just yesterday, I was fretting about new wrinkles. And today, your latest blog post is about skin care — I’m so impressed! I also ordered the natural anti-depressant formula you recommended, and am pleased with it. Thanks again!

  2. Ann Louise Gittleman

    So glad to hear that you like this new venture.
    I LOVE the GLA directly on the skin, by the way, it is the missing link in most skin care and anti-wrinkles programs!

  3. Dorothy

    Does your multivitamin have all of the vitamins in them,that we need.

  4. Sandy May

    I love the idea of GLA on the face….I’m going to try that right away…
    Thanks Ann Louise for the great tip!!

  5. Ann Louise Gittleman

    The Female Multiple has everything most women from 18-80 need – without copper, a potentially toxic metal that has been connected with estrogen dominance, hyperactivity, and panic attacks, among many other symptoms. There are natural digestive enzymes in the formula; best of all, it has the desirable 2:1 magnesium to calcium ratio.

    Sandy: Yes, GLA is terrific for skin. It moisturizes some of the deepest skin layers and is very helpful in reducing redness, inflammation, and sunburn:)

  6. Dewey

    I want to follow your Fat-Flush program, but take a synthroid 1st thing each morning on an empty stomach. How can I incorporate life-long cocktail with my med?

  7. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Hi Dewey: More importantly, please note that thyroid replacement shouldn’t be taken with four hours of taking any supplement that contains calcium or iron. Also, wait at least an hour before you enjoy that one cup of “legal” coffee because the acids in coffee can inhibit thyroid meds. As for the Long Life Cocktail, I would take it mid-afternoon and mid-evening 🙂

  8. Marsha Dale

    I need a recommendation for a good make up cleanser. Soap and water feels best but I have always disliked that wet process at night, where you wash and rinse so often. Pre-moisented cloths seem to have too many chemicals and even benign Ponds cream does too. Help, please.

  9. Ann Louise Gittleman

    I use Dermalogica products – their “Smart” Anti-aging line for now. I am developing my own line, however, chemical-free 🙂

  10. funmi banjoko

    hi ann,
    i have been an avid fan of yours for years, i wish you could come to nigeria cos i dearly want to meet with you. Its very difficult buying your books over here, i wonder if you would consider tutoring me…i am presently about to register with ISSA as a personal trainer, everything i have learnt from your books have benefited my clients here in nigeria.How can you be of assistance to me?
    I would appreciate a personal reply please. Thanks and kind regards.

  11. Ann Louise Gittleman

    hi – thank you for your kind words. Please contact [email protected] so we can figure out something. I am currently privately mentoring several individuals!

  12. jjdavies

    Do you have a sunscreen that you recommend. I am in the sun alot and try never to get burned. I have used almost every sunscreen product and never found one I really liked. I am 54 years old – have been on Fat Flush for about a month and lost 14 pounds that I thought would never go away. Still have a few more to go.

  13. DeKendra

    I’m 30 years old. Should I be taking the GLA supplement?

  14. Carol

    Why not? I think there is such a massive deficiency that just about everybody 18 – 80 would benefit. UNI KEY sells the GLA-90s which is what ALG has used for years on her Fat Flush program. Two, twice per day with meals is the recommended dose but many women double up for a couple of weeks and then cut back. It really puts a glow on your skin and even helps with PMS and morning stiffness.

  15. Ann Louise Gittleman

    Dear Friends:
    I would love to answer each and every single one of your queries, as I have done to the best of my ability, in the past. The popularity of this Blog has grown to the extent that I can no longer provide that service but I am in the planning stages of an Internet – TV show where you can call in and get those questions answered by me in person! Please stay tuned for this exciting development. I first must complete a new manuscript and then will make some exciting announcements. In the interim, may I suggest that if you have questions about products, call UNI KEY at 1-800-888-4353. The folks there are helpful and will direct you accordingly. If you are concerned about a particular health condition, then by all means check out the Testing Kits on my site which will help you to determine underlying causes. Thank you so much for your enthusiasm and interest!

  16. liz

    Hi Kia,
    I thought this is great information too. Dr. Ann Louise really has interesting ideas about the underlying causes. Good luck with your research.


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