In recent history, we’ve been made to fear the sun. Popular outlets push to sell us sunscreens with claims that we need a barrier between our skin and UV rays - and that the sun will always cause skin cancers and should be avoided as much as possible. But to the contrary, we need sunshine. Direct, uninhibited sunshine. That’s where healing and true reparations happen! It is my hope to shine some positive light (pun intended) on why we need the sun, how to get it safely, and the scientifically backed benefits of therapeutic sunshine.
Why We Need The Sun
Some sun-lovers are already aware of exposure increasing our Vitamin D levels within the body. It’s a powerful byproduct of UVB light and is found in all tissues.
Vitamin D modulates over 200 genes in the human body. That’s no small feat, as these genes regulate several functions like:
- cellular growth and health
- insulin production
- renin stimulation
- innate immune responses
- skeletal health
- enhancing the balance of healthy capillary growth and regeneration
It’s estimated that over a billion people worldwide are severely deficient in Vitamin D. Moreover, deficiencies are related to an increase in heart disease, infectious diseases, and mental health conditions. But the benefits of the sun far exceed increased vitamin D alone.
Prolonged exposures to early morning rays set the circadian rhythm of every cell, which regulates our hormones. The skin creates messengers in response to sunlight that enhance nitric oxide, thyroid balance, growth hormones, chemicals that aid in pain relief such as steroids, and increases serotonin. Morning and evening exposures signal the pituitary gland to produce melatonin, which is not only our body’s natural sleep aid, but a very powerful antioxidant.
The sun has been proven to help with the removal of brown fats from our cells due to its ability to deeply penetrate subdermal layers, resulting in faster and more sustainable weight loss. And how about the production of collagen, hyaluronic acid, and synthesis of bioflavonoids? That sounds a lot like anti-aging to me, which is the opposite of what they warn us of. Hospitals, nursing homes, and many doctors utilize sun therapy for pediatric jaundice, chemo recovery, surgery recovery, injury recovery, and mood stabilization to name a few.
It is no doubt that the healing is in the sun, but how do we do that safely?
There are a few caveats when it comes to sunlight and individual tolerance. Those with pale and fair skin types tend to sunburn more easily, and in turn they run to harmful sunscreens or try to avoid the sun altogether. It doesn’t have to be that way! There is a way to help build melanin in the skin gradually and effectively, for any skin tone, so that the sun is better tolerated. Working with a professional is the best way to go about doing that. And remember, you may be able to finally build up that golden sun kissed look you’ve always wanted, but a tan is just a bonus to all the amazing benefits of exposure.
Fair skin types aren’t the only ones prone to sunburn, though. Believe it or not, the sun isn’t always the only culprit to the reason one may burn. Inflammation, vitamin deficiencies, and certain autoimmune reactions can also contribute to overly accelerated melanin production during sun exposure. Timing is everything! Early morning and evening/dusk exposures are times where the beneficial UV rays are available. If you can dedicate at least 20 minutes upon rising in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening, you will see tremendous healing benefits. And if your goals are both to create a gorgeous tan AND reap the benefits, here are some products that I love that have some natural protection, enhance UV benefits, and benefit the skin and body post exposure.
Products the Support Healthy Sun Exposure
First, we want to make sure we have a few foundational items internally. Vitamins E and Zinc are not only highly protective, but will also work synergistically to enhance the UV benefits from within.
ISUN is a very popular and highly vetted company. Their products are designed to link natural ingredients, natural bodily responses, and energetic substances to enhance overall results. The Golden Sun Body Oil includes ingredients that not only make you look good in the sun, but aid in the skins production of messenger responses. The Photo-Enzyme Serum has constituents that help you lock in moisture after you've cleansed your skin after exposure. A lot of people don't know this, but when we wash after being in the sun too quickly, we stop some of the beneficial processes. So wait a while, wash, then apply this. The After Sun Balm helps also with heat retention to calm the skin. And if you want a little protection SPF wise, without all of the nasty chemicals in commercial sunscreens, ISUN's Antioxidant Sun Butter is a great option providing SPF 27 and lots of other goodies to protect your skin. Click here to see all of our ISUN products.
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**These statements are for educational purposes only and are not intended to be medical advice. If you have a medical condition, you should speak with a practitioner**