At Solbari, we’re all about enjoying the sun whilst staying protected under it. Sunlight has been proven to be mood elevating, stress reducing, improve vitamin production, assist with healthy sleeping patterns, and improve overall health and wellbeing. The connection between sunlight and skin health can sometimes be seen as confusing: too much sun, and you put yourself at risk of skin damage or cancer; too little, and you can develop vitamin D deficiency and lower serotonin levels. With just the right amount, the health benefits of the sun are surprising.
Sunlight travels to Earth as a mixture of both long and short waves. Shorter waves, like ultraviolet (UV) light, can cause problems. Too much exposure to UVB rays can lead to sunburn. UVA rays can travel more deeply into the skin than UVB rays, but both can affect your skin’s health.
When UV rays enter skin cells, they affect the skin’s growth and appearance. Over time, exposure to these rays can affect skin elasticity and thickness, making it appear leathery, wrinkled, and thin. Your skin has ways to repair such damage. For instance, the outermost layer of skin constantly sheds dead skin cells and replaces them. If you’ve ever experienced a bad sunburn, you might have noticed your skin peeling. Still, long-term damage to your skin can remain.
As we age, it becomes harder for skin to repair itself. Too much sun exposure can also raise your risk for skin cancer. When UV light enters skin cells, it can harm the genetic material (called DNA) within. DNA damage can cause changes to cells that make them rapidly grow and divide. This growth can lead to clumps of extra cells called a tumour, or lesion, which can be harmless (benign), or cancerous (malignant).
In some instances, the sun can be good for your skin. We often think about how the sun can damage skin, but for people with certain skin conditions, the sun can actually be a kind of medicine. For instance, psoriasis and eczema cause rashes and lesions, and UV light can help the healing process along. Doctors also recommend UV light treatment to jaundice and acne patients. Even for those who don't have specific skin issues, research shows that sunshine can lower blood pressure and improve heart health.
Another benefit of sun exposure is that sunlight triggers the synthesis of vitamin D within the body. There is a growing body of research suggesting that vitamin D deficiency increases the risk for several cancers, as well as other disorders including type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, tuberculosis, and multiple sclerosis.
Conveniently, one reason sunshine is so helpful is its ability to initiate a reaction within the body that triggers vitamin D production. While you can get vitamin D through certain types of food like salmon, tuna, egg yolks, cheese and fortified milk, most people don't include enough of this nutrient in their diet alone. So, how much sun do you need to get enough Vitamin D? It only takes 5-15 minutes of sunlight exposure on your arms, hands and face to get your daily value.
Soaking up some rays can brighten your day — literally and figuratively. This is because exposure to sunlight triggers a boost in serotonin, a chemical in the brain responsible for mood stabilisation and feelings of wellbeing. Low serotonin levels are thought to play a key role in depression, especially the kind that tends to hit during winter, when sunlight is scarce. On top of that, research shows that people who spend more time outside have higher levels of this "happy" neurotransmitter. So, if you're feeling blue, head outside to maximize the relationship between sun and serotonin.
The Bottom Line
The sun has many natural healing properties. We can all get the most out of these properties so long as we remain aware of what is at stake with too much sun exposure. Solbari is championing skin health in the name of enjoying the sun whilst staying safe under it. So, whether you’re going for a jog, a bushwalk, or hitting the beach, ensure you’re utilising reliable sun protection that you can count on.
You can find out more about Solbari's sun protective range by clicking the blue links below:
The Solbari Team
This blog is for information purposes only, always consult your medical professional for expert advice.