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The Sun is not unhealthy!
Most of the time, the sun is described as something that is extremely harmful and that you should protect yourself against. Yet, everyone craves some sun and it's undeniable how good some sunshine can make you feel.
Some experts believe that a lack of sunlight increases the production of a chemical calledmelatonin in our bodies. Melatonin regulates sleep and can cause symptoms of depression. This is certainly true to my experience -- I feel horrifically depressed during the winter, and suddenly become the happiest person in the world during summer!
Anyway, what are some benefits to sun bathing or getting enough sunlight?:
- Enhances mood and energy
- Relieves seasonal affective disorder
- Treats skin diseases such as vitiligo and psoriasis
- Eliminates body odor (as long as you're not sweating from the humid heat!)
- Regulates body temperature
- Induces nitric oxide which helps to protect your skin from UV damage and helps with cardiovascular protection
So as you can see, our sun is nothing to be afraid of! In fact, splodging on the sunscreen can do you more harm than good. Sunscreen is loaded with chemicals such asoxybenzone (linked to hormone disruption and cell damage), butyl-methdiebenzolmethane (releases free radicals into your body), octyl-methoxycinnamate (ages your face), benzophenone 2 (decreases function of the thyroid), and retinyl palmitate (now proven to be a carcinogen).
Sunscreen also, most alarmingly, stops vitamin D from being absorbed by the skin. Vit D has many benefits like strengthening teeth, supporting the immune system, and is essential for bone health. Vitamin D increases the absorption of calcium, another important vitamin for bone health.
I remember when I was deficient in vitamin D, I was also deficient in calcium and felt incredibly weak and tired, despite how good my diet and exercise was. I was put on some supplements and in a few months felt brand new. Unfortunately, living in a not-very-sunny place like England, deficiencies are common. If you live in such a country, please make sure to supplement with vitamin D!
Last summer was the first time I didn't use sunscreen and I was surprised by how much better my skin felt and how quicker it healed from sunburns. In my previous years of using sunscreen, I burned in raised blotches and peeled like an onion.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is: don't be afraid of the sun! Summer is almost here -- go outside and tan, run, play sports. Don't depend on sunscreen and don't lock yourself in when it's a beautiful day outside.