With summer in full swing, you’ve probably seen lots of articles and recommendations for sun protection. While excessive sun exposure is dangerous and protecting your skin is important, there are also many important benefits of sunlight—and simply staying inside or always covering up isn’t the answer.
Here are four reasons to get out and enjoy the sun this summer.
Sunlight helps boost your mood
Sun exposure triggers the release of serotonin in your brain, which can make you feel happier, calm and focused. This should come as no surprise if you’ve ever experienced the recharging capabilities of taking a mid-workday break outside.
Sunlight can help prevent seasonal depression
On the other end of the spectrum, lack of natural light in your home or a week of rainy days can actually negatively affect your mood. This is especially serious for people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder in the winter and may use light therapy as treatment. Getting out in the sun can help prevent a serotonin dip that wrecks your mood.
Sunlight boosts your vitamin D supply
Lack of outdoor sun exposure can lead to a vitamin D deficiency. Since vitamin D can’t be acquired through food, like most other vitamins, minimal sun exposure is essential to avoid the negative effects of a deficiency. Not getting enough vitamin D can impact your bone health, including increasing your risks of developing osteoporosis.
Luckily, it doesn’t take much sunlight to obtain the necessary vitamin D levels. Depending on your skin tone, even just 15 minutes of sunlight on your arms and face a few times a week can do the trick.
Sunlight is good for some skin conditions
While sun overexposure can cause skin damage and wrinkles, it can also have a healing effect on some skin conditions for certain people. For instance, UV radiation therapy has been used to treat psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and even acne.
- How can you enjoy the benefits of sunlight while still protecting your skin from harmful UV rays? Here are a couple of tips:
- Enjoy the sun during hours when it isn’t as strong, like in the early morning or evenings.
- Practice moderation. While “too much sun” depends on your skin type, a moderate amount is usually safe without having to worry about excessive protection.