Glow trumps Tan

In every skin regime there is a quest for glow — that elusive luminosity of the skin from within — the glow is defined on several dimensions — authentic vs superficial — momentary vs sustained. Sweating during a hard workout provides for example an authentic but momentary glow — glisten if I am to be precise. Highlighting makeup provides a slightly more sustained but superficial glow. Tanning especially in the winter to rescue a sallow appearance is another example of sustained but superficial glow. I needn’t go into the problems of actual tanning with sun care considerations but let’s just say it’s neither good nor very convincing.

The alternative authentic and sustained glow is actually from excellent nutrition — consuming fruit and vegetables that are orange in colour and manifests in healthy radiant skin. The impact is not merely cosmetic — the antioxidants reduce the damage caused by UV rays, environmental pollution not to mention secondhand smoke and forms an internal sunscreen of sorts. In this rather external validation seeking experiment scientists from Bristol discovered that people could discern between a glow and a tan and preferred a glow to a tan. There is a warmth to a carotenoid glow that is missing from a tan — also missing the guilt of gamboling in the sun knowing what we do about the importance of staying out of the sun.

While one can add this as a supplement, there are advantages to directly consuming colourful produce — fiber that unsung hero also makes skin clearer. It’s also not just carrots and oranges but peppers, green vegetables — kale, spinach and even peas! Fiber keeps the food in one’s body a little longer and enhances nutrient absorption. Adding some Omega 3s also adds to the body’s absorption of beta carotene. And eating more produce just makes one less hungry for unhealthy food. It’s a constellation of good habits that create the optimum glow.

You want to be careful though since over-consumption has problems too — whites of the eyes tinged orange — it’s a harmless condition called carotenodermia but perhaps a bit OTT!

But talk about a carrot to consuming more produce — a glow that can’t get rubbed off and feels real and is truly from within. It’s as revolutionary as Cezanne suggested —

The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.