Skincare with Almonds
Researchers find increased resistance to UVB exposure in young Asian women after three months of daily almond consumption
INDIA: Healthy dietary choices make important contributions to skin health. In fact, researchers have begun to investigate how food choices might influence the skin’s intrinsic protection against damage from sun exposure – known as photodamage. Avoiding prolonged sun exposure, wearing protective clothing and using topical sunscreen are key strategies to protect against photodamage, but research suggests that diet may play a supporting role. A promising new study[i] published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology and funded by the Almond Board of California provides the first clinical evidence that consuming almonds may help support the skin’s resistance to UVB light.
Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) investigated whether daily almond intake could increase resistance to UVB light (the main source of skin damage from sun exposure) and improve skin texture. The participants in the study were young women who self-identified as Asian, ages 18-45 years, with skin types that ranged from “burns and does not tan easily” to “burns a little and tans easily,” technically classified as Fitzpatrick skin types II, III or IV. The women were randomly assigned to eat 1.5 ounces (42 grams, 246 calories) of almonds or 1.8 ounces (51 grams, 200 calories) of pretzels daily for 12 weeks. Data from 29 participants was analyzed at the completion of the study
UVB resistance was measured by quantifying the minimal erythema dose (MED) for each study participant at the beginning and end of the study. MED is the lowest dose of UVB light needed to cause slight skin reddening or erythema to a specific site on the skin. (In this case, inner-arm skin was chosen because it has little exposure to the sun.) Erythema is the first indication of skin photodamage, so increased MED indicates improved protection against (or resistance to) UVB photodamage.
At the beginning of the study, there were no differences in MED between groups. After the 12-week intervention, there was an increase in both MED (~20%) and exposure time to reach minimal erythema for women in the almond group compared to the pretzel group. No statistically significant changes in MED or exposure time were observed in the pretzel group.
“Our team is interested in whether certain foods can help maintain healthy skin and strengthen the skin’s natural defenses from within. This study strengthens the evidence that dietary choices can have a meaningful impact on skin health,” said principal investigator, Dr. Zhaoping Li, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Clinical Nutrition, University of California, Los Angeles. “And this particular study showed that a daily snack of almonds (1.5 ounces, 42 grams) over 12 weeks improved MED – a measure of UVB resistance – in young Asian women by about 20%. The results suggest that including almonds in the diet may help support the skin’s internal defenses against UVB light.”
Secondary outcomes investigated in the study included measures of skin texture, sebum and hydration that were assessed by dermatologists. No significant differences were seen in these measures over time or between groups.
Speaking about the study, Dr. Geetika Mittal Gupta, Medical Director and Cosmetologist, said, “Most Indian women follow existing recommendations like wearing protective clothing and applying topical sunscreen to protect their skin from being exposed to UVB. It is interesting to note that eating almonds may support skin protection from the inside.. For years now, I have been recommending almonds as a natural healthy snack for better skin health – and the results of this study corroborate that. Besides this, almonds also contain healthy fats and vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) that may benefit skin health. So I strongly suggest all Indian women to add a handful of almonds to their diet every day as an addition to what they are already doing to protect their skin .”
Commenting on the results of the study, Regional Head-Dietetics, Max Healthcare – Delhi, Ritika Samaddar, said, “The study results highlight how healthy food habits like adding almonds to the diet everyday, may support increased resistance to UVB exposure among women. In fact, another recent study found a measurable reduction in wrinkle severity and skin pigmentation intensity in postmenopausal women as a result of regular almond consumption. I strongly urge women across India to take cognizance of these benefits, and make it a point to eat a handful of almonds everyday, to add to their skin’s overall health.”
 Rybak I, Carrington AE, Dhaliwal S, Hasan A, Wu H, Burney W, Maloh J, Sivamani RK. Prospective Randomized Controlled Trial on the Effects of Almonds on Facial Wrinkles and Pigmentation. Nutrients. 2021; 13(3):785. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13030785
[i] Li JN, Henning SM, Thames G, Bari O, Tran PT, Tseng C-H, Heber D, Kim J, Li Z.Almond Consumption Increased UVB Resistance in Healthy Asian Women. Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. 2021;00: 1-6. https://doi. Org/10.1111/jocd.13946
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