Skin cancer is a growing problem—but with revelations about the potentially dangerous ingredients found in traditional sunblock, how can a person best protect her skin?

More than 3.5 million skin cancers in over two million people are diagnosed annually in the U.S., according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

New research indicates some herbal agents, taken orally or applied topically, can prevent sunburn and limit the damage caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light.

The article “Herbal Sunscreens and Ultraviolet Protectants” specifically identifies golden serpent fern (Phlebodium aureum or Polypodium leucatomos) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) as herbal products that, when taken orally, may reduce the local and systemic negative effects of UV light exposure, including photoaging, increased risk of skin cancer, and harm done to immune-system function, according to a press release from Mary Ann Liebert Inc., which published an article on this topic.

“Sufficiently high oral doses or topical application of green tea (Camellia sinensis) may also offer photoprotection,” the release noted.

Natural products with proven and promising photoprotective properties are highlighted in an article in Alternative and Complementary Therapies. The article is available free on the Alternative and Complementary Therapies website.

Related article:

• Skin Cancer Rising at “Alarming” Rates, say Mayo Clinic Researchers