What’s So Bad About the Sun? | Sun Pros and Cons

What’s So Bad About the Sun? | Sun Pros and Cons

How Much Is Too Much Sun?

For optimal health, you’ll need sufficient quantities of vitamin D. One of the best and most efficient ways to get vitamin D is to spend time in the sun. So how do you get sufficient sun exposure, while at the same time ensure you aren’t overexposed to the damaging effects of the sun?

If you’re confused, welcome to the club! Let’s clear up the confusion and investigate pros and cons.

Why Some Sun Exposure Is Good!

Sun exposure increases your body’s natural production of vitamin D. When the sun touches your skin, it skin cells and the sunstimulates your body to produce this essential vitamin, which also happens to function as a hormone.  Benefits include:

  • Stronger teeth and bones
  • Reduction in high blood pressure
  • Improved brain function
  • Promotes weight loss
  • Better quality sleep

There are studies that propose Sunlight May Improve Heart Health and Decrease the Impact of Depression.
With all of those benefits (and more!), why do doctors, dermatologists and aestheticians make such a big deal about staying out of the sun? Let’s discuss.

Why Too Much Exposure To The Sun Damages Your Skin

Medical professionals tell us that too much sun exposure can negatively impact the skin by:

  • Creating fine lines and wrinkles
  • Increasing and darkening freckles
  • Promoting pigmentation and discoloration
  • Producing sallowness (yellow discoloration)
  • Exposing small veins and capillaries
  • Quickening the loss of elasticity

While these consequences of the sun do not sound like total beach time deal breakers, the problem lies in what UV rays from the sun can do over time. When a skin cell gets burned by these harmful rays, the cell’s DNA cannot repair itself properly, turning into a mutation. These mutant cells then begin to reproduce, over and over, putting us at risk for basal and squamous cell skin cancer, melanoma, and various carcinomas. 

Facts & Myths About the Sun

  • Fact or Myth: Only UVA rays from the sun cause cancer.
    • Myth: The truth is, exposure to all UV rays (UVA, UVA and UVC) can potentially result in the development of skin cancer after prolonged exposure.
  • Fact or Myth: Because of increased education, sunburn reports in Arizona have decreased. 
    • Myth: In 2004, a reported 42% of white adults had at least one sunburn in the last year. This is an increase from 26% reported in 1999.
  • Fact or Myth: Using a tanning bed is safer than tanning in the sun.
    • Myth: The International Agency for Research on Cancer classifies tanning beds as “carcinogenic to humans”.
  • Fact or Myth: You need only be concerned about sun damage after the age of 30, when your body has decreased the creation of collagen.
  • Fact or Myth: Arizona is the 2nd sunniest place on earth, making it a top contender in the U.S. for reported skin cancer cases.
    • Myth: Arizona does not even make the top contender list for reported cases of skin cancer. Top states include Utah, Delaware, Vermont, Minnesota and Idaho. 
  • Fact or Myth: Skin Cancer is on the rise in the U.S. 
    • Fact: According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer, making it the most common form of cancer. 
  • Fact or Myth: Sun damage is preventable.
    • Fact! There are several ways to protect yourself from harmful sun rays and ensure you are not getting too much sun.

Protection & Prevention

Here are a few simple, practical ways to protect yourself from the sun, while still enjoying all of the positive benefits (sun pros)!

  • Where a hat, sunglasses, and layered light weight clothing
    • *Remember! (Arizonians especially), you are getting sun exposure when you are sitting in your car! Don’t skip out on sun protection just because you are staying in doors.
  • Use an umbrella to shade yourself during outside activities
  • Use sunscreen frequently throughout the day
    • Don’t forget to put sunscreen on your nose, ears and the back of your neck too!
  • Talk to your provider about a photofacial (IPL or intense pulsed light treatment)

don't overuse the sunConclusion

Like all things in life, balance is key. Go ahead and take in about 20 minutes of sunshine daily. Take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and loved ones from the harmful aspects of the sun, but be sure to enjoy yourself! If you are concerned about sun damage, be sure to contact us for a complimentary 3 tier skin analysis. We’ll take an in-depth look at your skin and share how you could improve the tone, texture and tightness of your skin and restore your youthful glow. You’ll be so glad you did!