Research shows that a minimum amount of sunlight exposure is needed most days to function properly. Like a plant needs sunlight to grow and thrive, the human body needs sunlight for proper cellular functioning.
Though excessive sunlight exposure can cause ageing and skin cancers there is scientific evidence that shows daily sunlight exposure is good for human health.
This article highlights known dangers of the sun and also its benefits, some widely known and yet some not. From a skin health professional point of view it may give some food for thought about how we give advice to patients about the sun, its dangers, protection from it, and indeed its benefits.
The Value Of Sunlight
Ultra violet radiation (SUNLIGHT) immediately causes people to think of cancer, cataracts, aging, wrinkles. Science is now saying that wearing sunglasses may severely weaken the body’s defences. There are strong indications that sunlight through the eyes stimulates the immune system. There is no question that UV light in large amounts is harmful, but in trace amounts as in natural sunlight it acts as a beneficial life supporting nutrient.
While too much sunlight can be harmful to your skin, the right balance can have mood lifting benefits, by increasing the brain’s release of the hormone Serotonin, boosting mood, and feelings of calm. Low levels may cause a higher risk of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a form of depression triggered by changing seasons. Night light releases the hormone Melatonin, needed to help us sleep.
Sunlight benefits sufferers of non-seasonal depression, anxiety and premenstrual tension according to the Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. UVB radiation in sunlight causes a person’s skin to create vitamin D for bone health, with low levels linked to bone-wasting diseases like osteoporosis.
Although excess sunlight can contribute to skin cancers, moderate amounts of sunlight has cancer preventive benefits. Areas with less daylight are more likely to have more people with a number of cancers than those who live with more sunlight hours according to a study from Environmental Health Perspectives.
According to the World Health Organization, sunlight can treat several skin conditions. psoriasis, eczema and acne.
Sunlight and Moderation
The World Health Organization, recommends getting 5 to 15 minutes of sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are less direct, on your arms, hands, and face two to three times a week for vitamin D-boosting benefits of sunlight, but the sun must penetrate the skin — wearing sunscreen and/or clothing over the skin won’t result in vitamin D production. If you’re going to be outside for more than a brief 15-minute period, - protect your skin! Apply30+ sunblock, and wear protective hat and shirt, sunglasses.
Adding a little sunshine to your life by getting outside more can relieve anxiety and reduce depression, from treating skin conditions to strengthening bones, sunlight, has other health benefits as well.
http://www.healthline.com/health/:Written by Rachel Nall, RN, BSN, CCRN
Medically Reviewed by Mark R Laflamme, MD on 9 November 2015