There is so much buzz about the damage that the sun does to your skin. The negatives of sun rays are discussed in such detail that most people would do anything to try and avoid the sun.
While overexposure to sunlight is surely not a safe option, you need to remember that the sun does play a vital role in our overall growth and development.
In ancient times, sunbathing was a part of yoga. It was considered to have numerous healing properties. Many cultures, such as the Greeks, also practiced sunbathing to heal different illnesses.
Today, scientists have concluded that exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation present in sunlight has both beneficial and detrimental effects on human health. The same UV radiation that causes skin diseases can also cure some diseases!
Sunlight not only helps our body respond to stressful situations but also has other functions as diverse as maintaining the blood pressure, managing the release of insulin, and converting fat and carbohydrates into energy.
Let us look at the benefits of sunlight for skin, hair and health.
Benefits Of Sunlight For Health:
1. Boosts Supply Of Vitamin D:
It’s no secret that the sun is one of the richest sources of vitamin D that is essential for good health. By constantly applying sun block creams and lotions on your skin every time you step out of your home, you are depriving yourself of this precious vitamin.
Vitamin D is vital for the health and strength of your bones and teeth, to support your immune system, for protection against dementia and aging of the brain, and also for minimizing asthmatic symptoms. You may be surprised to know that it also protects your body against cancer.
The supply of Vitamin D increases due to sunlight, which is why it is also known as the sunlight vitamin. Mostly, every tissue in our body is regulated by the active form of Vitamin D – 1,25-Dihdroxyvitamin D3(1,25[OH]2D3), some of it being involved in the metabolism of calcium, the immune system and neuromuscular functions. Vitamin D deficiency occurs due to lack of outdoor sun exposure.
2. Sunlight May Protect You From Prostate Cancer:
The lesser sunlight you get, the higher your chances of being diagnosed with prostate cancer. Yes! You read it right. It is a well-known fact among scientists. In many researches it was found that in the US, African-Americans have the highest death rate and the shortest survival span. According to a 2005 study done by North Carolina Wake Forest University, lack of sunlight can increase the chances of prostate cancer.
3. Sunlight Lowers Cortisol Levels:
The stress hormone is known as cortisol. It may increase your appetite and experts suggest that high cortisol levels lead to weight gain. In a study conducted by the Center for Neuroscience, University of Colorado, it was found that through exposure to bright light, cortisol levels can be decreased.
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4. Sunlight Can Help Lift Depression:
Sunlight can help people suffering from depression. Due to less sun exposure, a particular form of depression called seasonal affective disorder (SAD) can occur. It mainly happens in winters or during fall. In 2001, a study conducted by the University of Milan, Italy shows that the early morning sunlight can reduce the length of hospitalization in patients with bipolar depression. In case of hospital rooms where no sunlight enters, the patients’ length of hospitalization is increased as compared to the rooms where sunlight enters.
5. Lack Of Sunlight Increases Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure:
A study in 2008 at Harvard Medical School found that due to less sun exposure, the risk of developing high blood pressure increases. In addition, sunlight can directly affect the risk of cardiovascular disease according to the same report. It seems that Vitamin D is one of the most powerful hormones for regulating blood pressure.
6. Sunlight Lowers The Risk Of Multiple Sclerosis:
According to a study done by the Australian National University, less direct sunlight received by the people living at higher latitudes leads to a higher incidence and prevalence of multiple sclerosis. Higher latitudes include North America, Europe and, of course, places like Iceland.
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7. Sunlight Lowers Your Risk Of Diabetes:
According to experts, Vitamin D has a preventative effect on diabetes. A study in the year 2006, led by the University of Lund and Malmö University Hospital, Sweden found that the consumption of Vitamin D in early life was strongly associated with a lower risk of Type 1 Diabetes.
8. Helps In Psoriasis:
Psoriasis is a skin disease in which red, dry plaques are produced which thicken the skin. It is said that it is a non-curable disease. Light therapy is used for the treatment of psoriasis and is known as phototherapy. The sun is the source of light and therefore, sunlight can help you reduce psoriasis.
9. Sunlight Treats Vitiligo:
Vitiligo may be caused by an auto-immune process and it is treated with ultraviolet light (UVA) exposure in combination with a drug or a natural remedy. It is a skin disease in which white patches occur on the skin. Some areas of the pigment-making cells are destroyed in this disease.
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10. Sunlight Protects Against Arthritis:
Adults and children with uncontrolled asthma have significantly lower levels of Vitamin D in their blood than those found in healthy people. This was claimed by a study in 2013, which was conducted by Dr. Stephanie Korn in Germany. Those who use corticosteroids or sputum eosinophilia have a higher risk of acquiring Vitamin D deficiency.
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Benefits Of Sunlight For Skin:
Apart from providing a great tan, sunlight has some amazing skin benefits.
11. Treats Acne:
Skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema, etc. can be healed with the power of sunlight. A recent study indicated that a four-week outdoor therapy of sunbathing did wonders in relieving the symptoms of psoriasis in more than 80 per cent of the subjects. Fungal infections can also be healed with sunlight.
Sunlight therapy, or Heliosis, works marvelously well. The trick to make sure that your skin benefits instead of getting damaged is to gradually expose your skin to the sun instead of complete exposure from the very first day. This is especially important if you are sensitive to the sun and your skin is not used to the exposure.
13. Helps You Lose Weight:
Another amazing benefit of sunlight is that it helps in losing weight. Sunbathing is actually great if you want to lose weight as it helps get rid of the excess fat in your body.
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Benefits Of Sunlight For Hair:
Is sunlight good for hair? It’s not just your skin that needs the sun for health. Your hair can actually benefit from the sun as well.
14. Remedy For Hair Loss:
Heliosis is an effective remedy for hair loss. While this is great news for those who suffer from extreme loss, it’s important to also remember that overexposure to sunlight can do more damage than good, so go easy on giving your hair a dose of the sun’s rays. The epithelial cells that help your hair grow are known to be highly sensitive to UV light, and too much exposure can deplete the levels of vitamin E and C that are essential for hair growth.
15. Helps Hair Growth:
Sunlight allows your body to produce Vitamin D and this, in turn, stimulates the growth of your hair and prevents hair loss.
While it is important to always have sunscreen on, especially if you’re going to be outdoors for a long period of time, remember that you shouldn’t totally deprive yourself of the sun’s rays. Get out a little more and let your body receive the vitamins it needs to give you healthy skin and hair.
Revel in the sun’s light and embrace its warmth! Hope you found this article helpful. Do share your experience in the comment section given below.
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