Sun Exposure: It’s not all Bad News
If we were to ask you about sun exposure, your immediate response might be that you know you need to stay out of the sun. Most people recognize the need for a quality sunscreen product anytime they are spending the day outdoors. Many take measures such as staying indoors during the mid-day hours and wearing UV protective clothing if they do need to be outside for more than a few minutes. There is no doubt that too much sunshine is a bad thing; but what about the other side of the coin? Sunlight also has some health-giving benefits that we shouldn’t overlook.
The Vitamin D Factor
Science has confirmed that vitamin D provides a valuable service to numerous bodily processes. More than 2,000 genes rely on this vitamin for optimal expression. Deficiency has been associated with some health concerns, ranging from depression to multiple sclerosis to heart disease and certain forms of cancer. When we spend time in the sunshine, we also encourage the proliferation of white blood cells, which boost immune function.
As we move from the darker, colder winter months, there is little that can feel better than turning your face up toward the sun. The warmth of sunlight does more than increasing actual body temperature; it can also be a vital aspect of endorphin synthesis in the brain.
Your dermatologist may be the last person you would expect to condone UV exposure. In reality, the benefits of sunlight cannot be denied, so we wouldn’t think to try. What we can do is encourage sun-safe habits. Every person is different in the makeup of their skin, so must approach UV exposure carefully. The average duration of exposure for beneficial effects is 5 to 15 minutes. Those with lighter skin want to stay in the shorter time frame, and may also want to sit in the sunshine earlier in the morning before the sun reaches full height and intensity. Anything more than 15 minutes outdoors requires sunscreen.
Are you prepared for summer? Contact Dermatology and Skin Surgery Center at 610-594-6660. We are happy to consult with you about the best sunscreen for your skin type or schedule your routine skin cancer screening.