Nowadays, it’s well known that intense and careless sun exposure can be dangerous for your health. The ‘Sunscreen/Sunblock’ industry makes billions of dollars each year on such products. Medical Doctors – not only Dermatologists – repeat frequently about the skin damages that occur because of too much exposure to ultra-violet rays (UV Rays).
Okay, well UV Rays (A, B, and C) can cause skin cancer, early signs of aging skin and dark spots, sun burns, cause an inflammation to certain diseases, and more… but, and there’s a HUGE but, people all over the world have a deficiency due to lack of controlled sun exposure. There are many benefits of responsible sun exposure that many are not receiving!
It is well established that regular exposure to sun rays have an important antidepressant effect on us. The northern-most countries of the globe, that have shorter periods of light during the day and longer winter times, have more cases of depression among their inhabitants. And unfortunately, more cases of suicide. It seems that the UV Rays in some way increase the natural production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for our sense of well-being.
The UVAB Rays are of fundamental importance for normal skin production of Vitamin D. Without the sunlight, it is not produced. The oral supplements of Vitamin D do not have the same effect that the natural one produced by our body has. It is exactly that, only a supplement. It’s the same concept with food. Vitamins are only to be used as supplements, not to replace a healthy diet through food itself. The compounds of food sources are much more effective and beneficial than supplements, same with your body receiving natural sunlight to produce Vitamin D.
Vitamin D is now considered much more than a simple vitamin. It is in fact, a hormone. Beyond helping our bones being stronger, Vitamin D is a big factor in preventing osteoporosis. Also, high levels of Vitamin D helps to protect our body against certain cancers (from lungs, brain, breasts and possibly others). Lower levels of Vitamin D = higher chances of cancer development. So, it is crucial that we have a balance between completely avoiding and getting enough sun exposure!
Here are some ‘tips’ and recommendations for healthy and safe sun exposure:
*Infants (6 months and younger) – do not use sunscreen, especially chemical sunscreens. If out at the beach or in a sunny area, keep the infant covered and in a cool place with shade.
*Choose a physical or mineral sunblock.
*SPF 30-60 is enough.
*Do not trust marketing tools or statements, such as “waterproof”. Reapply every hour when at pools, beaches, sporting, outside events, etc.
*Always use sunblock on the face, neck, and upper back. Same for décolleté and hands when outside.
To allow your skin to produce Vitamin D naturally, which will allow you to receive all the healthy benefits of controlled and responsible sun exposure, you should: *Try to get 15-30 minutes of sun exposure without sunblock on the arms, legs, trunk or abdomen, 3-4 times per week, between 10am-2pm. During this time, protect your face, neck, décolleté, and hands with sunblock, as well as hats, visors, etc.