Everyone Needs A Little Sunshine Sometimes |

Added July 29, 2009, Under: Health, Skin Conditions

Sun, blue sky

After many years of constant warnings that the sun is bad for you, many experts have made a complete 360 degree turn so that we now learn that we actually need some sunshine and that it is even good for you.  In fact not only a little sunshine, but quite a lot!

A recent controversial report in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says that patients in the early stages of melanoma (the deadliest form of skin cancer) are significantly more likely to survive if they’ve had a history of sun worshipping.

While another study found that prolonged UV exposure was associated with a lower risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a cancer of the lymph nodes.

It is now widely thought that that Vitamin D may be the key to the benefits of sun exposure

This is because it has a role in regulating cell growth and may be able to inhibit tumor growth.

My own view is that you do need some sunshine daily if possible and I have always enjoyed a short break sitting in the sun whenever possible.  Many are not lucky enough to live in a sunny climate like I do but whenever the sun is shining, grab the opportunity of feeling the sun on your skin for a half an hour or longer at a time.   Apart from making you feel good, you look healthier too. The sun raises your levels of serotonin which elevates your mood.   Some people who suffer from depression or mood swings can certainly benefit from exposure to UV light.  During the winter months in northern regions when there is little or no sunshine around, you need to take a supplement of vitamin D3 because unfortunately you cannot get enough from food sources.

Most experts are now  recommending increasing your exposure to the sun to 15 to 30 minutes several times a week (depending on your skin tone) without sun block. The lighter the skin, the less time it takes to absorb the vitamin D.  As soon as your skin starts to turn pink, you will have had enough sun.

What to do when you have had enough sun

If you are going to spend a lot of time outdoors, then it is important to wear a natural sunscreen on exposed parts of the body after those 20 or 30 minutes or wear light clothing, a hat and sunglasses.   While it is vital to avoid actual sunburn, be very wary of commercial skin blocks which are now known to contain harmful chemicals and toxins which may even lead to cancer.

Why is Vitamin D so important?

Vitamin D is important for so many reasons.  It builds strong bones and teeth by promoting calcium absorption in the gut.  Without sufficient amounts of vitamin D, bones become thin, brittle or misshapen.  Together with calcium, vitamin D helps protect older adults from osteoporosis.   Vitamin D may decrease the risk of type 1 diabetes, muscle and bone pain, certain types of cancer, fibromyalgia, arthritis, depression, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease while helping to normalize your blood pressure.

I came across a guy called Dave who writes about his trials and tribulations with acne and how he uses “little tricks” to keep his skin clear.  I was interested to read about what he had to say about sunshine.  If you want to find out more go here.  His take on sunshine and acne is to try and get at least twenty minutes of good sunlight on the face every day.

The benefits for acne are 3-fold

1.  Blue sky/warmth supposedly makes people happy, which reduces stress, which seems to help acne.

2.  Suntans hide skin irritation and my hope/guess is that UV rays kill bacteria (the kind that lives on those bumps on your face).

3.  Vitamin D is probably good for your skin but he only added it because he learned recently that you need it to process calcium, which may not be good for fighting acne, but seems to be something you need.

Not very scientific but definitely worth trying out.

If you have fair, freckled skin you need to be more cautious about too much sun but you will make vitamin D more quickly.  The darker you are, the longer it takes to make vitamin D, so you would then need longer in the sun.

You need to find a healthy balance of sunlight.  Enjoyed every day, your skin will become more and more acclimatized to sunlight.

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