Sunlight and it’s Health Benefits

Sunshine is a mixed blessing. There’s no question that it may be a danger to your skin. But moderate sun exposure can have benefits for your health, including stronger bones, better sleep, enhanced mood, along a healthier immune system.

And when you continuously protect yourself from sunlight or always cover every inch of exposed skin with sunscreen, you might be missing out.

Since the evidence grows that sunlight comes with benefits, many experts are rethinking their staunch sun avoidance advice.

By way of instance, despite Australia having one of the maximum skin-cancer speeds in the world, Cancer Council Australia recognizes that a while in the sun without sunscreen or other defense is important, according to Robyn Lucas, Ph.D., a professor at the Australian National University College of Health and Medicine, who researches environmental effects on health.

And the National Academy of Sciences recently gathered a global group of medical experts from different fields to talk about sun security.

Bone Health and Beyond
The best-known advantage of sunlight exposure is vitamin D synthesis, which occurs in the skin in reaction to the sun’s UVB rays. Vitamin D is a critical nutrient. “It is absolutely crucial to promote absorption of calcium, the mineral that helps keep bones strong,” says Clifford Rosen, M.D., an obesity researcher in the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough.

But the sun may play other roles in promoting good health too. The study is continuing, but so many studies suggest that UV exposure may lower blood pressure (which helps protect against heart attack and stroke), curb appetite, and reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and possibly certain autoimmune disorders.

Sunshine may even be connected to longevity. A Journal of Internal Medicine study which tracked nearly 30,000 Swedish women for approximately 20 years found that people who spent more time at the sun lived six months to two years more than those who awakened with less sun exposure. “More study is required to replicate this job, but if it is a true effect, it is very significant,” Lucas says.

However, the UVB rays that assist our skin produce vitamin D is also the same type that causes sunburn, and becoming burned is a major risk factor for skin cancer. That is the reason it’s so essential to obtain the right balance.

Short Stints Do the Trick
According to Rosen, in the summer it takes just about ten minutes a day of unprotected solar exposure on a small area of skin to create around 5,000 IU of vitamin D, which is enough for most people–even older people, that have a slightly reduced capacity to generate vitamin D–to maintain normal blood levels.

However, for many folks, 10 minutes may be too long; for others, too brief. “How much is enough is hard to measure since skin pigmentation impacts just how much UV radiation your skin absorbs, but it is far less than you want to have a sunburn,” Lucas says.

To find out the length of time you may remain in the sun without burning, Lucas suggests using the UV index, which predicts that the degree of solar power locally on a scale of 0 to 11. To locate the UV index for any specific day and time in the U.S., enter the ZIP code of the area you’re in on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.

To figure out the right UV dose for you, divide 60 (as in the number of minutes in an hour) from the UV index to find out how many minutes outside it will take for you to receive 1 SED. SED stands for”standard erythemal dose,” a predetermined dose of sun intensity that will lead to erythema or reddening of the skin.

See the table below for the approximate SED it takes for various skin types to burn off. For instance, if the UV index is 7, then divide 60 by 7 to get 8 minutes for 1 SED. If you are honest, you’ll get sunburned with two to 3 SED (16 to 24 minutes).

So it is best to be conservative with them. From the preceding example, for instance, to be on the safe side you could go in the sun unprotected for 12 minutes max.

“You don’t even want to obtain a little pink, because UV exposure that is sufficient to cause sufficient damage to the skin clearly outweighs the benefits of that exposure,” says Robert S. Stern, M.D.

Remember, also, that the quantity of time you can spend in the sun without burning on a particular day doesn’t reset to zero with subsequent time outside. “If, for example, the calculation you work out involving the UV index is 15 minutes, which should be your complete limit for the day–whether that is in one sitting or two or three sittings,” Lucas says.

Permit From the Light
When going out to soak up some sun, Lucas recommends applying sunscreen to your face and hands (they’re always getting sunlight and therefore are at high risk for skin cancer, wrinkles, and brown spots), sporting a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and exposing what you can of your arms and legs. If you are particularly sun-sensitive (as an example, you have had skin cancer if you take a medication–for example certain diuretics and antidepressants–that raises your chance of sunburn), talk to your physician before visiting sunscreen.

The Health Advantage of Seawater

In the 19th century England, seawater baths gained fame as an unconventional convalescence treatment for a variety of ailments, ranging from melancholy to respiratory ailments. Patients were told to spend some time by the sea or to enter tubs full of seawater to help them get back into health.

The history of utilizing seawater in medicine goes back much longer, however. There’s evidence, by way of instance, the Ancient Egyptians used it in the treatment of severe burns and wounds. To this day, the amount of scientific literature about the subject remains quantitatively significant, but the quality of the evidence about sea water’s curative benefits varies broadly. The majority of the studies have focused on its effect on skin ailments and psychological health.

Seawater and skin conditions
Even the Dead Sea, in particular, is known for its high levels of calcium and has been a popular destination for people who want to try an alternative treatment route to help handle their skin ailment.

This has to some extent been encouraged by research. A study published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology showed that patients who have chronic, stable, plaque-type psoriasis benefited from spending time in the Dead Sea, taking sea bathrooms, and getting sun exposure, which resulted in remission periods lasting more than three months on average. These outcomes were subsequently backed up by following and more recent studies, though none clarified which components of seawater, if any, had this impact.

“Any improvement seen after swimming in the sea could be explained by exposure to UVB rays from sunlight as this may enhance skin conditions, such as psoriasis.

The evidence concerning the effect of seawater on skin conditions such as eczema is even less clear.
There is some evidence to suggest that water in the Dead Sea can help to improve eczema flares, but most evidence is anecdotal, Rai clarifies.

It’s also likely that it’s not merely seawater per se that’s having an impact. It may be that being in a new environment, with another climate, from the shore, is what helps some patients.

The mainstay of therapy for psoriasis and psoriasis incorporates topical therapies and biologics in the case of psoriasis, says Rai.

Enhancing your mental health
Mental health is another important place where scientists have been active to study the effects of swimming in the sea. This type of research has increased in popularity in recent years, in particular, thanks to the launch of BlueHealth, a pan-European research initiative exploring the connections between environment, climate, and health. In particular, scientists at the program look at how the sea and other water-based environments can affect well-being.

There is ample evidence to indicate that physical exercise is very beneficial for mental health, in particular, to control stress and anxiety, partly because it promotes the release of endorphins (the feel-good hormones).

This, according to the study, seems to be much more true for people that exercise in natural, outdoor environments, including the ocean.

Exercise also reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, that has been associated with a range of mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, Stephen Buckley, head of information at Mind, the mental health charity, explained.

After we are swimming, our breathing patterns change, which might lead to a more relaxed state.

Suggestions to enjoy the sea benefits

Shield yourself
Do not forget that sea generally means sun, and both sun and sea bathing have been connected to improvements for the skin. But get good sunscreen also. “It’s important that individuals ensure they stay protected whilst out in the sun, on account of the possible danger of developing skin cancer,” Rai says.

Do not stop taking your meds
Even if you decide swimming in the sea will help you, do not discontinue the other treatments you are taking. If you have concerns and want to change anything on your treatment program, talk with your doctors first, to get their advice.

Find an activity you enjoy
An outdoor swimming team or other team action may be best for you if you find being sociable provides you a boost, while for others who gain from yourself, an activity like conducting might work better,” Buckley says.