With summer quickly approaching, it’s time to get ready for the extra sunlight and outdoor time that we are soon to have. Sunlight is not only a mood booster, but it also plays a crucial role in our overall health. The sun’s rays provide us with an essential nutrient: vitamin D. However, the benefits of vitamin D must be balanced with the potential risks that are often associated with prolonged sun exposure. Sunscreen can be an instrumental tool in staying safe while having a good time. In this blog, we will dive into vitamin D, the benefits and risks of sun exposure, and precautions that should be taken!
Understanding Vitamin D
Vitamin D is vital for a variety of bodily functions and plays a number of roles in our bodies. It is responsible for regulating calcium levels, promoting bone health and growth. It also plays an important role in supporting our immune system, cardiovascular health, and even mental well-being.
While sunlight is the primary source of vitamin D, it can also be obtained through certain foods and supplements. It is most often found in fatty fish, certain dairy products, and egg yolks. Most times, the vitamin D in our food sources is not sufficient enough and it’s important to get adequate sun exposure to maintain the levels. Our bodies ability to produce vitamin D depends on various factors, such as location, time of year, skin pigmentation, and sunscreen use.
Benefits of Sun Exposure
There are various benefits to sun exposure for our bodies. When our skin is exposed to sunlight, it triggers a complex process that leads to the synthesis of vitamin D. This essential nutrient, as mentioned earlier, plays a vital role in maintaining optimal health and well-being. Vitamin D has actually even been linked to reducing the risks of certain diseases, such as autoimmune disorders, cardiovascular issues, and certain types of cancers. Sunlight exposure also stimulates the promotion of serotonin in our bodies, which contributes to feelings of happiness and overall well-being. This is often why people feel a boost in their mood and energy levels when spending time outdoors on a sunny day! Sufficient sunlight exposure can also play an important role in our sleep quality. Exposure to natural light helps to regulate our sleep wake cycle, which significantly improves our sleep habits. Sunlight has also been shown to stimulate the production of endorphins, which can reduce pain and even induce a sense of relaxation. It’s important to get sufficient sun exposure, while still protecting your body!
Risks of Sun Exposure
While there are many amazing benefits to sun exposure, it is crucial to be aware of the potential risks with prolonged exposure. One of the primary concerns is the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that comes from the sun. Overexposure to UV radiation can cause immediate harmful effects such as sunburn, skin damage, premature aging (wrinkles, age spots, sagging skin), and even worse long-term effects. One of the most severe long term effects of sun exposure is cancer, and UV radiation is the leading cause. It’s important to note that there are risks to sun exposure even on cloudy days, and precautions should always be taken to avoid the risks.
Now that we know the potential benefits and risks of prolonged sun exposure, it’s time to discuss the precautionary measures that should be taken. Taking precautions is vital to protect our skin and to reduce the risk of sun damage. Here are some key things to consider:
Applying Sunscreen: This is one of the most important precautions that can be taken this summer. Sunscreen should be applied regularly anytime you are outdoors. It’s important to use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a high SPF. It should be used on all exposed skin (including the face, neck, arms, legs) and should be reapplied every two hours, or more frequently if swimming or sweating is involved.
Seek Shade When Necessary: It’s important to limit your time in direct sunlight, especially during peak UV radiation hours. These hours are typically between 10 AM and 4 PM. Seek shade under canopies, umbrellas, or trees to give your skin a break from the sun.
Wear Protective Clothing: If you are going to be spending prolonged time outdoors, it’s important to cover up any exposed skin. Use lightweight, long-sleeved clothing and wide-brimmed hats to protect yourself. There are even certain clothing items available with UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) for added protection.
Wear Sunglasses: Not only does your skin need protection, but so do your eyes! There are sunglasses available that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays, giving you optimal protection.
Stay Hydrated: While we should be staying hydrated regardless of the time of the year, it’s especially important when we spend prolonged periods of time in the sun. Dehydration can worsen the impact of sun exposure and heat, so remember to drink water regularly.
Sun exposure can have detrimental effects, so remember to follow these precautions for optimal health and well-being this summer.
Don’t let the possible effects from sun exposure keep you from having a good summer! If you are feeling extra stressed about all of the precautions and potential risks of prolonged sun exposure, consider adding a calming supplement into your summer routine!
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To restful and healthy days ahead,
The Relaxium Team
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.