Moderate Amounts of Sun Exposure Can Provide Health Benefits
Most people are aware that sun exposure raises their risk of skin cancer. UV rays can also damage the skin by initiating a photoaging process that leads to wrinkles and dryness. For years, we’ve been warned that no amount of sun exposure has been scientifically proven to be safe. To protect ourselves, we’ve been advised to lather on high SPF sunscreens; wear hats, sunglasses, and specially designed sun-protective clothing; and simply stay out of the sun as much as possible. However, some recent research studies suggest that the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer/damage may not be as straightforward as once thought.
Some experts now believe that the very same sunburn-causing, skin-damaging rays that sunscreens are specifically designed to block can also do some good. Consider the following potential benefits:
- Vitamin D – A modest amount of sunscreen-free sunlight exposure can stimulate the body’s production of vitamin D, which can provide many disease-prevention and health benefits. Many people have low vitamin D levels, a condition that has been linked to poor bone health, diabetes, heart disease, and other conditions. Of course, a “link” is not the same thing as a proven cause-and-effect relationship; however, it does suggest possibility.
- Vitality – Basking in the sunlight – with the sun’s rays reaching the skin – can also help reverse “the wintertime blues,” or depression related to seasonal affective disorder. This condition is prevalent during the cold winter months when the days are shorter and people spend more time indoors.
- Fitness – The ability to be outside encourages all types of physical activities, which can directly lead to increased physical fitness.
So, what is the healthiest way to enjoy the benefits of sunshine? Moderation is key: For instance, you might step outside without sunblock for a period of 20 to 30 minutes two or three times per week.
If you have questions about skin cancer prevention or other health-related topics, please feel free to contact or visit South Tampa Immediate Care. No appointments are ever necessary to see a doctor at our walk-in clinic.