While unlimited and irresponsible sun exposure can cause damage to our skin, there are many positive benefits of moderate sun exposure and it is very beneficial for our physical and mental health. Exactly how much sun exposure you get depends on your age, skin tone and colour, and the continent you live on. For people with fair skin, 5-15 minutes a day may be enough, while people with darker skin can spend up to 30 minutes in the sun without suffering any adverse effects.
Sunlight causes our bodies to produce vitamin D, which plays an important role in maintaining our health. This nutrient is needed by our bones, blood cells, immune system and thyroid. Vitamin D contributes to the proper use of calcium and phosphorus, and to their more accurate utilisation. Children also need this vitamin because without it, bones become weak and brittle.
Exposure to sunlight increases the risk of skin cancer, but in its absence it can lead to autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s disease and multiple sclerosis.
Sunlight in our eyes helps us sleep better by improving our body’s internal clock. Many elderly people do not spend much time outdoors, which is one of the reasons why many have trouble sleeping. But too much sunlight can damage the eyes. The more time in the sun, the greater the risk of blurred vision or cataracts.
Sunlight releases the hormone serotonin, which guarantees emotional well-being. You’ll have more energy and feel calmer, more positive and even have a much better ability to concentrate.
Sunlight even plays a role in healing and alleviating the symptoms of certain skin conditions. These include psoriasis, vitiligo and eczema.
When we get sunburned, the immune system mobilises too many white blood cells to heal the skin faster. But this is dangerous because the immune system is less able to fight infections and other diseases.