With Summer comes that weird transition time when I first bare my pasty-white skin to the warming rays of the sun. I do my best to do this in small increments to avoid the "Lobster-Look" I so often sported in the early Summers of my childhood. With all the damage I've done, it's amazing that I have any skin left at all!
As a tot, my mom slathered me with Sea & Ski at the beach, but during my unsupervised visits to the beach as a pre-teen/teen, I was untouchable (literally)...coated in a slippery layer of whatever tanning oil promised the darkest tan and smelled the most of coconut deliciousness. (I still love the smell to this very day!) My bestie would be by my side, covered in baby oil and we would return home, after hours at the ocean, hair frizzled and lightened by the sea salt and bodies so red and painful that even lukewarm showers were impossible. Sigh. Not the brightest...unless you were talking about the color of our skin...
I happen to believe that there are some benefits to getting sun exposure in moderation (please note, I'm talking small increments here--not sitting out for hours at peak sun height).
And I'm not alone in my thinking. We have all heard that sun exposure can boost Vitamin D (it's estimated that over a billion people worldwide are Vitamin D deficient or insufficient). And, according to Dr. Axe, Vitamin D is good for the following:
And apparently, there are benefits to measured sun exposure that AREN'T related to vitamin D. According to Dr. Mercola:
"New evidence presented in the April-June issue of Dermato-Endocrinology1 confirms that exposure to the sun in appropriate and measured timeframes has a number of health benefits unrelated to vitamin D production, such as:"
Enhancing mood and energy through the release of endorphins Protecting against and suppressing symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS) Treating skin diseases, such as psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, and scleroderma. UV radiation also enhances skin barrier functions Inducing nitric oxide (NO), which helps protect your skin against UV damage and offers cardiovascular protection, promotes wound healing through its antimicrobial effect, and has some anti-cancer activity Melatonin regulation through the "third eye" of the pineal gland photoreceptors Relieving fibromyalgia pain Standard treatment for tuberculosis 100 years ago, long before the advent of antibiotics Treating neonatal jaundice Can be used to sterilize your armpits and eliminate the cause of most body odor Treating Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Synchronizing important biorhythms through sunlight entering your eye and striking your retina Regulating body temperature Protecting against melanoma and decreasing mortality from it May be effective in treating T Cell lymphoma
So what's a person to do? Sun? Sunscreen? No Sun? Hide in the basement all summer?
I can't tell YOU what to do because we should all make our own decisions based on the info we have...but for me, it's small bits of sun sans sunscreen and if I'm drinking in more than small bits of sun, I'll use sunscreen.
But only particular kinds.
A lot of U.S. sunscreens are useless or toxic. Yup. I'll cover that in the next blog. Researching this topic was an eye-opener for me. I wonder if it will be for you too?
Anyway, that's the scoop for now. Now get out there and enjoy your day...slathered in sunscreen...or not! It's gorgeous out!