We all know that over exposure to the sun can lead to severe skin issues, but what about not getting enough sun? We actually absorb important vitamins from the sun’s rays. Discover what you are missing if you are limiting your sun exposure too much.
When the sun hits the skin Vitamin D is formed. There is a type of cholesterol in the outer layers of the skin that converts to Vitamin D when ultra violets B rays sufficiently penetrate it. This is the major health benefit linked to sun exposure.
If you draw a straight line from northern California to Boston on a map, between the months of November to February, everyone living north of this line is not receiving enough ultra violet sun rays to create vitamin D. This sometimes leads to a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
SAD is a mental condition where people have normal moods during most of the year but during the winter months they exhibit signs of depression. It is recognized as a common disorder. The prominent theory is that the lack of sunlight decreases the amount of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This is a “feel good” neurotransmitter and can be attributed to these `winter blues’.
People who are extremely cautious about their sun exposure have been called “sunophobes”. They are so diligent about staying out of the sun that they may be missing some important benefits brought about by sun exposure including Vitamin D and the serotonin release mentioned above. Another side effect of not enough vitamin D is lack of calcium in your bones leading to structural and growth disorders.
There is certainly nothing wrong with being concerned about the amount of sun exposure you get. Over-exposure can lead to sun burn which is excessive stress on the skin. We know that too much exposure can lead to different types of skin disorders including skin cancer. However, not enough exposure can prevent the production of vitamin D and other important chemical cascades that promote a healthy life. The bottom line is there needs to be a balance between too much and too little sun exposure.