Lately, we have been sceptical about sunbathing because there is a lot of buzz concerning the adverse action that long sun exposure delivers. But is sunbathing really that harmful? Learn pros and cons of getting tanned and then decide if sunbathing is for you.
It’s hardly surprising that recently we have been critically discussing the drawbacks of tanning. Due to the growing number of skin cancers reported, also among young people, we began to analyse how the sun affects the skin. Nowadays, we are gradually becoming less protected due to holes in the ozone layer, which is a natural barrier shielding us from UV radiation. To compensate this loss in protection we use UV filters and have started approaching the topic of tanning very carefully. We are more and more eager to replace natural sunbathing with spray tanning or applying self-tanning cosmetics.
ADVANTAGES OF SUNBATHING
It’s worth realising that sunbathing, despite the risk that long sun exposure entails, has many pluses. All the advantages listed below prove that exposing our body to the sun, once in a while, has its positive consequences.
1. Sun supplies body with vitamin D, yet it doesn’t happen directly. It takes 20-30 minutes of exposing our body to the sun daily in order to provide oneself with just one essential dose of vitamin D3. It’s the very solar radiation that is responsible for boosting vitamin D3 production in human organism. What’s important, you can’t overdose vitamin D3 due to the sun, but it’s worth realising that this substance is crucial for our organism to: strengthen the immune system, support proper bone growth and enhance fertility (e.g. increases libido). This is a pure energy bomb.
2. Sun puts you in a good mood and even prevents depressive states. This autumn-and-winter time favours worsening of our mental state but, happily, it all disappears together with the first sun rays. A short stroll taken on a sunny day is what the sun requires to boost our mood by increasing production of serotonin – the hormone of happiness. In many countries (e.g. the region of Scandinavia) lack of sun results in increased vulnerability to depression.
3. Sunbathing boosts our natural sun barrier although it may sound slightly paradoxical. In short, due to UV radiation emitted by the sun, melanin production is stimulated. This, in turn, doesn’t only work as a natural pigment that is responsible for colouring skin with golden shade but also it absorbs the harmful radiation. This means that the more often we expose our skin to the sun, the more melanin is generated so our natural sun protection is getting stronger.
4. Sun affects the quality of sleep and this is directly connected with more than just better absorption of essential vitamins and minerals. If we keep spending a few minutes outdoors every day, not only to get tanned but also to take a stroll, our organism is getting used to this daily ritual of ours. We synchronize our biological clock with the parts of a day and, as a consequence, we have a better night time rest.
5. Sunbathing relieves PMS together with menstrual pain. Exposing our body to the sun minimizes these premenstrual ailments, especially pain and muscle tensions. Additionally, sun boosts our mood and relaxes. What’s more, it’s considered beneficial to spend a little while in the sun also when we suffer from various musculoskeletal disorders.
6. Sun improves skin looks but only if we sunbathe wisely and in small ‘dosages’. Subtle tan enhances looks not only because it hides skin blemishes such as discolorations. Natural sun phototherapy relieves psoriasis symptoms and enhances action delivered by various treatments targeting skin, e.g. preventing fungal infections.
DISADVANTAGES OF SUNBATHING
It can’t be denied that sunbathing is harmful if we do it the wrong way. Too frequent body exposition to the sun (especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun shines the strongest) is a shortcut to many health problems. As it applies to everything, we need to learn the a sense of proportion.
1. UV radiation increases the risk of cancer, and to be more precise, skin cancer. This is one of the most often enumerated drawback of sunbathing that is hard to defy. Excessive sun exposure can cause that seemingly non-invasive skin lesions transform into malignant tumours, and this is worth bearing in mind.
2. Sun causes discolorations including so-called moth patches and freckles. Too frequent sunbathing can also lead to pigmentation disorders the consequence of which is decolouration frequently appearing on face. This is solar radiation that enhances the visibility of freckles and frequent exposition to sun can contribute to appearance of spider veins.
3. Sun accelerates skin aging, which is also recognized as photoaging. UV radiation that penetrates skin in galore destroys collagen and elasticin fibres responsible for keeping skin supple. People who get tan regularly, also in solarium, experience wrinkles definitely faster than others. It’s worth realising that under the influence of the sun, skin loses moisturisation faster therefore it becomes thinner and more dehydrated. Also, it can become visibly more irritation-prone and dull.
4. Sunbathing enhances acne which has to be remained to all who mistakenly believe the information that sun has beneficial action to acne skin. Sun radiation neither dries out nor reduces visibility of acne. In fact, the effect can be quite contrary than intended because when exposed to the sun, squalene, which is an element of sebum, gets oxygenated so skin starts getting oily even more and this encourages blackheads, skin inflammations and acne.
5. Sun can burn our dermis what frequently affects people whose skin is delicate, sensitive and thin. Quite a problem is also encountered by those whose complexion is naturally pale because their skin produces less pigment which can protect against UV radiation. As a consequence, when this type of skin is exposed to the sun for too long, redness, rash and painful inflammation occurs.