The best skin protectors and sunscreens contain antioxidants. They are nutrients/enzymes which prevent and repair any damage to your body tissue. Antioxidants prevent harmful oxidation caused by free radicals (which are everywhere).
What should you eat?
Omega 3 fatty acids
Studies have suggested this free radical fighter also prevents some forms of cancer. Plus they are anti-inflammatory.
Red and orange fruit and vegetables
Red fruit/veg contains lycopene which protects against skin irritation and eradicates free radicals. Beta-carotene, present in both red and orange fruit/veg reduces sunburn and flavanoids in orange/pink citrus fruits improve the skin’s ability to protect against UV rays.
Chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa contains flavanoids to keep your skin hydrated, increase oxygen saturation and blood flow. It also reduces UV induced skin issues such as sunburn. But don’t eat too much, it’s high in fat.
Broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc have all been found to protect against cancer and are extremely beneficial to your organs.
Fresh herbs like parsley, basil, sage and rosemary are packed with free radical fighting antioxidants. Spinach contains polyphenols and carotenoids which naturally protect skin against sun damage. In fact, one study found that eating leafy greens prevented the reoccurrence of skin cancer.
Green and black teas
The polyphenols help restrict cancer development by limiting blood flow to the cancerous area. Studies have found that drinking a cup of green or black tea daily lowers the risk of melanoma.
Chlorella and spirulina contain the carotenoid Astaxanthin which is ×550 more powerful then vitamin E in fighting free radicals.
Staying hydrated encourages NMF (natural moisture factor) which helps protect skin from environmental factors and of course, prevent dehydration.
Disclaimer: eating and applying antioxidants does not provide your skin with all the protection it requires. You still NEED sunscreen, ideally one with antioxidants.