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Can you undo sun damage?

Not yet, but a new ingredient shows promise.

THE SCIENCE
Researchers applied two components from the meadowfoam flower, which is grown commercially for the oils it produces, to 3D reconstructions of human skin after they had been exposed to ultraviolet A and B (UVA and UVB) rays from the sun. They found that these chemicals protected the skin from DNA damage and collagen breakdown caused by UVB rays.
EXPERT INSIGHT
While the meadowfoam flower’s oils are presently used in cosmetics (like this facial oil and this hand treatment) to make them more moisturizing, these results suggest that byproducts could be used to reduce post-sun skin damage, says study author Arup K. Indra, Ph.D., an associate professor at Oregon State University’s College of Pharmacy in Corvallis, Oregon.
THE BOTTOM LINE

Eventually, these ingredients could make skincare products more protective. For now, meadowfoam-based offerings on the market contain oils that don’t offer these benefits, so stick with your regular sunscreen routine.

Still, you can embrace the flower's hydrating benefits now. Sarah Garland, senior manager of planning for The Spa at Equinox in New York City, recommends using meadowfoam-based face masks. Her favorite: the Dream Exfoliating Mask from Angela Caglia.

Photo: Dirk Kikstra/thelicensingproject.com