Suntan lotion made from STRAWBERRIES could protect you from damaging UV rays
Compounds called anthocyanins, which give strawberries their red colour, have sun protection properties

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UPDATED:

16:38 GMT, 6 August 2012

Fruity: Skin tests in labs showed strawberry extract protected it from the harmful effects of UVA light

Fruity: Skin tests in labs showed strawberry extract protected it from the harmful effects of UVA light

Sun-tan lotions made from strawberries could soon be on sale after the fruit was discovered to protect against sunburn.

Strawberry extract acts as protection against ultraviolet radiation and reduces skin damage from over-exposure to the sun, according to researchers,

The team of Italian and Spanish scientists say their discovery opens the way for development of sun-tan cream made from strawberries.

Study leader Maurizio Battino, of the Universita Politecnia delle Marche in Italy, said: 'We have verified the protecting effect of strawberry extract against damage to skins cells caused by UVA rays.'

The team prepared human skin cell cultures and added strawberry extract in concentrations of 0.05, 0.25 and 0.5 milligrammes per millilitre

Using ultraviolet light, the samples were then exposed to a dose equivalent to 90 minutes of midday summer sun in the French Riviera.

Data confirm that the strawberry extract, displays photoprotective properties in those skin cells exposed to UVA radiation, it increases cell survival and decreases damage in the DNA when compared with control cells.

Mr Battino said: 'These aspects are of great importance as they provide protection for cell lines subject to conditions that can provoke cancer and other skin-related inflammatory and degenerative illnesses.'

Effective suncreams should protect against UVA and UVB light – the two types of ultraviolet rays that cause sunburn and increase the risk of skin cancer.

UVA rays are less powerful than UVB but penetrate deeper into the skin and can age the skin prematurely. UVB are absorbed by the top layer of skin, which releases chemicals that cause swelling, pain and redness.

The sun protection factor, or SPF, is a measurement of the amount of UVB
protection. In the
UK, UVA protection is measured with a star rating.

Suncream should contain protection against UVA and UVB light, which affect different layers of the skin

Suncream should contain protection against UVA and UVB light, which affect different layers of the skin

The researchers said their discovery was
the 'first step in determining the beneficial effects of strawberries in
our diet or as a possible compound source for ‘food integrators’ or
cosmetics for instance.'

Scientists believe that compounds called anthocyanins – pigments which give leaves, flowers and fruit their red colour – are responsible for giving strawberries their sun protection properties.

Co-author Sara Tulipani, from the University of Barcelona, said: 'These compounds have important anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-tumour properties.'

She said: 'At the moment the results act as the basis for future studies evaluating the ‘bioavailability’ and ‘bioactivity’ of anthocyanins in the dermis and epidermis layers of the human skin, whether by adding them to formulations for external use or by ingesting the fruit itself.'

The findings are published in the Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry.