Doctors recommend using sunscreen on a regular basis to block out the UV rays that have been shown to cause skin cancer. Most of us have heard this information and understand the dangers of excessive sun exposure.
While UV rays do pose a health risk when a person is exposed to too much, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that, as the old adage says, “the poison is in the dose.” They believe that a minimal amount of sun exposure is good for your health for various reasons. Most who hold this opinion still do not believe spending lots of time in the sun without sunscreen or protective clothing is a good idea, they simply think the best thing is balance- not completely avoiding sunlight.
It is well known that the human body produces its own vitamin D when your skin is exposed to sunlight. It does not take long once even a small area of skin is exposed to sunlight before the body can produce ample amounts of vitamin D (although this depends on how strong the sun is where you live and how dark your skin is). Since vitamin D is extremely important for overall health- especially mental health and immune health- and vitamin D deficiency is so common, it’s worthwhile to consider whether a bit of sun each day could be good for you.
Sunlight has many different wavelengths of light in it- not just UV-A and UV-B. It also has red and infrared light, which triggers cells to produce ATP, the cell’s energy source. Once a cell has this energy available, it can then repair itself if it is damaged or carry out normal cell processes most efficiently. This extra energy could also make you feel like you have more energy overall, allowing you to be more active.
Sunlight also contains blue light wavelengths, which could be effective in killing bacteria and yeast/fungus on the skin. Many people with acne who believe their acne is caused by bacteria or yeast overgrowth treat themselves by making sure to soak up a few minutes of sun every day. Those with dandruff, toenail fungus or other problems they believe originate from bacteria or yeast overgrowth also use small amounts of sun exposure as a treatment. Depression is another problem sunlight could be useful in treating.
Vitamin D is a very important factor in many different aspects of health. Unfortunately, vitamin D deficiency is common, despite so many popular food items having vitamin D added (such as milk). Vitamin D deficiency has been implicated in different types of cancers (such as breast cancer, colon cancer or prostate cancer) as well as in immune system problems. While skin cancer is certainly a serious problem that everyone should watch out for, more and more people are coming to the conclusion that completely avoiding sunlight could actually harm your health.
Psoriasis and Sunlight/UV Light
UV light has been show to improve some autoimmune conditions. Psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes scaling and flaking of the skin as well as arthritis pain, has been shown to be improved by exposure to sunlight or UV rays.
Sunlight for Hair Loss
The UV light in sunlight has been shown to increase hair growth in men and women experiencing hair loss. The effect is minimal (only about 15% increase in hair growth) and seems to depend on how much of the scalp gets exposed to the light.