My mother always used the expression “solar-powered” to describe her attachment to the sun, or to complain about the lack of sunshine through the winter months. If you are anything like myself or my mother, you may also feel that you are “solar-powered,” or that you feel the best in and around the sunshine.
Although many skincare aficionados have begun to shy away from sun exposure to prevent aging and minimize the risk of skin cancer, moderate sun exposure can actually reap a number of benefits. In fact, the relationship between sun exposure and skin cancer are not as straightforward as some may think.
According to Harvard Health Publishing, people with paler skin who typically do not tan are more likely to get skin cancer from sun exposure. Furthermore, many studies have suggested that the level and timing of sun exposure is also a factor in sun safety. As a rule of thumb, moderate, steady sun exposure is safe with proper use of sunscreen.
Vitamin D Supply
Humans today are spending more time indoors than they ever have before. Many of us are likely lacking in Vitamin D, due to a lack of outdoor sun exposure. According to a study by Environmental Health Perspectives, approximately 1,000 different genes governing many different parts of the body are partially regulated by the active form of Vitamin D, 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3. Many of these genes are involved in calcium metabolism, neuromuscular functioning, immune system health, and other essential bodily functions.
In plain english: Vitamin D helps the body maintain strong bones, fight off infections.
Many other essential vitamins must be gained from nutrition, but Vitamin D can be synthesized in the skin through exposure to sunlight.
SAD, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a type of depression that usually surfaces during fall or winter months where there is less sunlight.
Regular sun exposure, especially during winter seasons where nights are longer, can reap mood benefits for those that have “winter blues.”
A study by Microbiome Journal found that UV rays from sunlight can also kill bacteria found in common dust. The dust and the bacteria within them found in indoor environments can act as triggers to asthma and allergy symptoms, according to another article by Experimental and Molecular Medicine.
Ultimately, we should not shy away from the sunshine, no matter the season.