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Shine On Me!

by Sharon Gayle August 30, 2014

The Healing Benefits of Sunlight and Vitamin D.

When the sun is high overhead we often take cover to avoid the intense heat. However, sunlight is natural and has an multitude of benefits for humans. The sun not only provides both light and heat that sustains us, but I think we would all agree that that whether it’s strolling in the sun, sunbathing, sitting in a window daydreaming on a sunny day; sunlight affects how we feel, and often transfers positively into how we look.  New research supports those feelings, indicating that a short daily dose of midday sun is healthy!  

Of the two main wavelengths in sunshine, UVA and UVB, it’s the UVB rays that help our skin produce vitamin D.  While it is wise to avoid burning or excess solar or indoor tanning, solar UVB radiation (290-315 nm) is the primary source of vitamin D. UVA rays, which penetrate skin more deeply and causes oxidative damage, are constant throughout the day, UVB rays are much stronger during the middle of the day.  The health benefits of UVB through production of vitamin D are considerable, with experts finding more and more benefits as research is continued.

Midday Summer sun is the best source of UVB, since minimal exposure times are required, and the UVB to UVA (315-400 nm) ratio is highest.  For most people, exposing arms and legs to the midday sun (without sunscreen) for 10-15minutes can produce a day’s worth of vitamin D.

Positive Exosure
Vitamin D, often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin” has been shown to provide significant protection from the risk of:

  • cardiovascular disease
  • diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • bone fracture risk
  • breast prostate
  • colon cancers
  • cognitive decline as we age

Negative Exposure
Excess exposure to sunlight may sometimes be destructive, as it can lead to ailments such as:

  • eye damage, melanomas
  • skin cancer
  • change in the color as well as thickness of the skin
  • appearance of irregular spots on the face
  • itchiness or tenderness to the skin

Naturally, the benefits obtained from sunlight depends upon its usage.  Sunbathing and sun tanning are both effective means for getting sufficient sunshine, however, it is medically recommended that you use a quality after-sun lotion in order to moisturize your skin post sun tanning.  Wearing clothing that covers your arms and legs after sunbathing, will also protect you from further unnecessary exposure.

The Sun is your friend if you are responsible and use caution by avoiding chronic exposure!  Enjoy! ~SG.

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