Sunlight is an essential factor of life, and it is necessary for each of us to maintain overall good health. Adequate and chronic sun exposure is also the best natural remedy to sun damage. We at Skinergies have been advocating for mindful and adequate sun exposure as it benefits not only our skin but also our health in general: a growing number of research shows that the lack of exposure to sunlight is becoming a critical health factor, and that chronic and non-burning sun exposure could actually decrease the risks of developing skin cancer.
Our body is a wonderful machine and has everything it needs to manage and modulate the impact of sun exposure, under a few important and super simple conditions (all free!):
1. We need to expose ourselves to the sun regularly
Nowadays, with our increasingly indoors lifestyle, our skin is losing its photoadaptation capabilities and mechanically becomes more prone to sun damage. Photoadaptation is the ability of the skin to self-adapt - prepare, manage and repair - to the effects of sunlight. Melanin is the core component of this photoadaptation mechanism. Like any other function in our body that would be under stimulated, our melanin becomes less active, and the consequence is that once we expose ourselves to the sun, our melanin is rapidly overwhelmed and we burn more easily, creating photo damage and favorable conditions to skin cancer.
2. We need our melanin to be at maximum capacity
Whatever amount of melanin we were born with, it is like a capital: we need it at full capacity and we need to manage it. This is because melanin, this natural pigment in our skin, is responsible for the absorption of UV radiation in the skin; it is the first line of defense of the body against radiations, and also has incredible repair capabilities. It is also melanin that creates pigmentation (tanning).
Our melanin needs chronic and non-burning sun exposure (ie without sunburns) to maintain adequate levels in the skin, for it to play its essential role during incidental sun exposure and limit sun damage.
3. We need the full spectrum of sunlight
This means technically from dawn to dust. Sunlight has wavelengths, that distribute throughout the day and each play a specific role; our super smart body “chooses” the wavelength it needs to perform a certain task. As an example, the best time to synthetize vitamin D is between noon and 3pm in the spring-summer, when the UVB are at their maximum; early morning sunlight is dominated by infrared (vs UV radiation), which prepares the skin for the coming UV rays during the day – in the evening, IR repairs whatever damage occurred during the day. This also helps with managing circadian cycles (in short, having energy during the day and sleeping at night). We’re not going to go into too much technical details about what’s happening in the skin and body, but you got the idea.
4. We need to synthesize Vitamin D from sunlight
UVB radiation is responsible for vitamin D synthesis. UVB are mostly present in the spring-summer seasons and are stronger around solar noon (between noon and 3pm). Mindful and adequate sun exposure of a large part of your body (legs, arms, back) at that time of the day is your best way of synthesizing Vitamin D. Vitamin D, along with melanin, plays a role in the photoadaptation mechanism. Not sure about how long is enough? Download our mobile app Sun Keeper today!
5. We need to avoid artificial light and man-made electromagnetic fields as much as possible
The radio frequencies (RF) and microwaves (MW) generated by artificial light, and all sorts of electronic equipment have many negative biological effects, and could also be blamed in the development of skin cancers.
In conclusion, even if it sounds like a paradox, sunlight is our natural remedy to sun damage. This is a shortcut to a longer idea: adequate and mindful exposure to sunlight every day or so, especially during the spring-summer seasons is the best way for our body to develop its natural protection and be adequately equipped to benefit from incidental sun moments. You know, all these moments where we don't even realize we are exposed to sunlight and UV rays in general... at lunchtime in the spring or when running errands in the summer, but also when walking on the street in the fall or winter, when UVA radiations are equally strong. Chronic, adequate and mindful exposure to sunlight has many benefits, and it’s not only us at Skinergies saying it, it’s research and scientists. But don’t be a fool and don’t go to the beach for hours without any protection, supposedly because the more the better. When it comes to sun exposure, the important words are: adequate, mindful and chronic.