Sunlight and Your Health
Did you know that small amounts of sun, especially early in the morning before it is brightest, can be beneficial in some ways fro your body.
How Much is Enough? This varies for everyone depending on skin tone, age, diet, history of health, and where you live. Typically, 5-15 minutes or up to 30 minutes for dark-skinned people, gets the most benefits from the sun without affecting your health. Using sunscreen gives the same effect but allows you to stay out longer.
Perks of Sun Exposure: - Vitamin D: UV rays help to produce Vitamin D which is important for bones, blood cells, and the immune system. Vitamin D also aids in absorption and use of calcium and phosphorus. - Diseases: Too much sun exposure can raise chances of skin cancer, however sun exposure producing Vitamin D can be linked to lower levels of multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. - Better sleep: Eyes need light to set your internal clock. Sunlight early in the morning helps people sleep at night. - Weight Loss: 20-30 minutes of light exposure between 8am and 12pm can help keep your weight down. Scientists believe sun rays may shrink fat cells. - Emotional Well-Being: Sunlight boosts serotonin which gives more energy and keeps you calm, positive, and focused. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) can be treated by low levels of natural or artificial light to produce serotonin. - Eye health: Moderate amounts of sun in your teens and young adult years may make you less likely to become nearsighted. Be cautious, too much sunlight can hurt the eyes. - Skin: Use sunscreen to avoid skin cancer. Regular, small amounts of UV light can ease symptoms of eczema, psoriasis, and vitiligo. - Jaundice: Sunlight can be used to treat jaundice on new borns. Never put a newborn in direct sunlight.
Do not get too much sun. Too much sun without protection can make you more likely to skin cancer, age your skin faster causing wrinkles, leathery texture, and dark spots. Sunburns use white blood cells to heal, this can affect the ability to fight off germs and make you more likely to get sick.
SPF 15 or higher is best. Apply sunblock 30 minutes before you go outside and reapply after swimming or sweating.
See the WebMD article below to further explore the Do’s and Don’ts of sun exposure.