The benefits of sunlight extend beyond its serotonin-boosting properties. There is a lot of discussion about the effects of the sun on your skin. The detrimental effects of sun rays are addressed so much that most individuals would go to great lengths to avoid being exposed to them.
While excessive exposure to sunshine is undoubtedly harmful, it is important to remember that the sun is essential for our growth and functioning.
Sunbathing was once considered an element of yoga. It was thought to have a variety of healing effects. Many cultures, including the Greeks, prefer sunbathing to treat various ailments.
Scientists have now indicated that exposure to the ultraviolet (UV) radiation found in sun rays has positive and negative impacts on humans. Some diseases can be cured by the same UV light that causes skin problems (1)!
Sunlight not only aids our body in responding to traumatic situations, but it also has a variety of additional functions, including blood pressure regulation, insulin release management, and the conversion of fat and carbs into energy.
Let’s take a look at the advantages of sunlight for your skin, hair, and overall wellness. Keep scrolling.
In This Article
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. But, do you need direct sunlight for vitamin D?
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 a lack of outdoor sun exposure (2).
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. According to preliminary studies, lack of sunlight may increase the risk of prostate cancer (3), (4).
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 (5).
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4. Sunlight For 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 early morning sunlight can reduce the length of hospitalization in patients with bipolar depression. In the case of hospital rooms where no sunlight enters, the patients’ length of hospitalization is increased as compared to the rooms where sunlight enters ( 6).
5. Lack Of Sunlight Increases Your Risk Of High Blood Pressure
When exposed to sunlight, the body’s stores of nitrogen oxides are released into the bloodstream, which decreases blood pressure due to the expansion of blood vessels. 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 (1), (7).
6. Sunlight Lowers The Risk Of Multiple Sclerosis
According to several studies 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 (8), (9), (10).
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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 (11).
8. Helps Treat 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 (12), (13).
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 (14), (15).
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10. Sunlight Protects Against Asthma
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 (16).
11. 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. Mice fed a high-fat diet showed reduced weight when exposed to low doses of UV radiation (17). However, more information is warranted in humans.
Benefits Of Sunlight For Skin
Apart from providing a great tan, sunlight has some amazing skin benefits.
12. Treats Acne And Other Skin Disorders
Skin disorders like acne, psoriasis, eczema, etc. can be healed with the power of sunlight. A study indicated that heliotherapy did wonders in relieving the symptoms of psoriasis. Fungal infections can also be healed with sunlight (18).
13. Sunlight Therapy
Sunlight therapy works marvelously well. The trick to making 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 (19).
Benefits Of Sunlight For Hair:
Is sunlight good for hair? It’s not just your skin that needs the sun for health. Your hair may benefit from the sun as well. Vitamin D seems to have a positive effect on the hair follicles – though more research is warranted in this regard (20).
14. Remedy For Hair Loss
While this is great news for those who are dealing with hair fall, it is 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.
The several benefits of sunlight for the skin include supplying vitamin D, protecting from prostate cancer, lowering cortisol levels, and helping people who suffer from depression. It also helps regulate blood pressure, lower the risk of multiple sclerosis and diabetes, prevents psoriasis, treats vitiligo, acne, and helps hair growth. Though sunlight has many advantages on your skin, too much exposure can cause harmful effects. So, always wear sunscreen while going out in the sun.
Infographic: How To Sunbathe Safely
While sunlight offers some great benefits for your health, unprotected exposure to the sun can result in sun rashes, sunburns, and a higher risk of developing melanoma. Check out the infographic below to learn about some crucial things to remember while sunbathing. Keep scrolling!
UV light may cause harmful effects on your skin, but it also helps treat various issues. The several benefits of sunlight for the skin include supplying vitamin D, protecting from prostate cancer, lowering cortisol levels, and helping people who suffer from depression. It also helps regulate blood pressure, lower the risk of multiple sclerosis and diabetes, prevents psoriasis, treats vitiligo, acne, and helps hair growth. Though sunlight has many advantages on your skin, too much exposure can cause harmful effects. So, always wear sunscreen while going out in the sun.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much sunlight per day do you need?
You should ideally get 10 to 30 minutes of sunlight every day.
Is sunlight good for the eyes?
No,directly staring at the sunlight may cause damage to the eyes.
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- The risks and benefits of sun exposure 2016
- Vitamin D and Sunlight: Strategies for Cancer Prevention and Other Health Benefits
- Life course sun exposure and risk of prostate cancer: population-based nested case-control study (ProtecT) and meta-analysis
- Sun Exposure, Vitamin D Receptor Gene Polymorphisms, and Risk of Advanced Prostate Cancer
- Acute Effects of Bright Light Exposure on Cortisol Levels
- Morning sunlight reduces length of hospitalization in bipolar depression
- UVA irradiation of human skin vasodilates arterial vasculature and lowers blood pressure independently of nitric oxide synthase
- Sun Exposure across the Life Course Significantly Modulates Early Multiple Sclerosis Clinical Course
- Sun exposure over the life course and associations with multiple sclerosis
- Association of UV radiation with multiple sclerosis prevalence and sex ratio in France
- Lower levels of plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D among young adults at diagnosis of autoimmune type 1 diabetes compared with control subjects: results from the nationwide Diabetes Incidence Study in Sweden (DISS)
- Phototherapy for psoriasis
- A clinical review of phototherapy for psoriasis
- Mechanisms of Phototherapy of Vitiligo
- [Phototherapy with UV-B in vitiligo]
- Severe and uncontrolled adult asthma is associated with vitamin D insufficiency and deficiency
- Sun Exposure and Its Effects on Human Health: Mechanisms through Which Sun Exposure Could Reduce the Risk of Developing Obesity and Cardiometabolic Dysfunction
- Effectiveness of heliotherapy for psoriasis clearance in low and mid-latitudinal regions: A theoretical approach
- Solartheology, heliotherapy, phototherapy, and biologic effects: a historical overview.
- Does D matter? The role of vitamin D in hair disorders and hair follicle cycling