One Effective Way to Prevent Skin Cancer

That has nothing to do with sun cream.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

Hi Radiant Being,

I grew up hearing the usual warnings on repeat:

“Be sure to get your skin checked!”

“Have you had your skin checked this year?”

“You have to get it done, Donna. Your mother and grandfather have skin cancers cut off every year!”

And maybe all those words of caution were warranted. After all, more than a million new cases of skin cancer emerge in the world every single year.

We all know already how important it is to protect our skin from the sun, since UV exposure is the biggest risk factor.

But did you know there may be another cause?

A study of 300,000 Americans linked over-consumption of alcohol with increased rates of sunburn. Alcohol is kind of toxic for our stomach, mouth, throat, liver and colon, as we well know, but skin? Surprising, right?

What’s happening with alcohol and sun damage? Are heavy drinkers just forgetting to use sun protection? (Maybe, but it’s not that!) Does alcohol breakdown use up antioxidants that would otherwise protect our skin? Maybe.

Here’s what we know for sure: Plants protect themselves against sun damage, and when we ingest them, we ingest those protective properties, too. We also know that consumption of plant foods gives us more antioxidants, which in turn may protect us from the sun in a similar way.

Actually, not maybe—that’s what happens, and we have proof!

A recent study took 20 female test subjects, and had half of them consume three tablespoons of tomato paste every day for three months. The other group ate as usual. They then burned both groups’ skin with UV lamps. And guess what, mama…those who were eating the tomato paste had significantly less DNA damage in the burned area—up to 40%!

And here’s where alcohol ties back in. Those same volunteers were exposed to the UV lamps again after a few drinks. They started going red significantly sooner than before. In fact, just eight minutes after consuming three shots of vodka, the antioxidant levels in test subjects skin drops. That’s fast!

In short: alcohol + sun exposure = faster burning, skin damage and ultimately aging and cancer risk.



M E Darvin, W Sterry, J Lademann, A Patzel. Alcohol consumption decreases the protection efficiency of the antioxidant network and increases the risk of sunburn in human skin. Skin Pharmacol Physiol. 2013;26(1):45-51.
D Lettieri-Barbato, F Tomei, A Sancini, G Morabito, M Serafini. Effect of plant foods and beverages on plasma non-enzymatic antioxidant capacity in human subjects: a meta-analysis. Br J Nutr. 2013 May;109(9):1544-56.
R T Narendhirakannan, M A Hannah. Oxidative stress and skin cancer: an overview. Indian J Clin Biochem. 2013 Apr;28(2):110-5.
R N Saladi, T Nektalova, J L Fox. Induction of skin carcinogenicity by alcohol and ultraviolet light. Clin Exp Dermatol. 2010 Jan;35(1):7-11.
M A Eastwood. Interaction of dietary antioxidants in vivo: how fruit and vegetables prevent disease? QJM. 1999 Sep;92(9):527-30.
W Stahl, H Sies. β-Carotene and other carotenoids in protection from sunlight. Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Nov;96(5):1179S-84S.

Originally published at

Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

You might also like...

Never Stop Learning//

Sun, Sea and SPF

by Clémence von Mueffling, NSL Experience

My Sister Died at Age 29 from the Easiest Cancer to Detect and Treat if Caught Early

by Carolyn Burns Bass

What Your Skin Needs To Know Before You Hit The Beach This Spring Break

by Mandy Murry

Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

Thrive Global
People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.