The Sun: Our Love Hate Relationship

the sun - its benefits and harm

The Sun: The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

The sun. We wouldn’t have this beautiful world of ours without it, would we? The sun’s light and energy give us the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the weather and the seasons we enjoy. But it can also bring drought, famine and destroy fields, farms and forests. Our human bodies have had a similar “love/hate” relationship with the sun and its rays for as long was we’ve been on the planet. Basically, a little sun = good. Too much = bad.

The Good:

  • Vitamin D — essential for bone health and key to our muscle, nerve and immune system functions; but 15 minutes a day of exposure is all that our bodies need to keep production at a healthy level
  • Mood enhancer — many people suffer from seasonal depression and low energy; doctors recommend increased exposure to natural light as the best cure
  • Better sleep — exposure to sunlight first thing in the morning is a proven way to wake up the body and mind (and to keep the body’s natural sleep rhythms on track for improved night-time sleep)

The Bad:

  • Tan lines  — purely an aesthetic complaint — but who hasn’t stressed over how your tan lines don’t match up with the lines of your new sundress; or realized how goofy your “farmer’s tan” looks just as you take off your shirt to impress your new girlfriend with your beach volleyball moves?
  • Freckles — sure Grandpa called them “angel kisses” and sure, some people look great with them. But for me, they lost their charm as soon as my middle school friends started pointing out how much I look like the “Wendy’s” girl. Or when I noticed that the freckles surrounding my lip make for a not-so-great moustache.
  • Age spots, sun damage and wrinkles — just one more thing making you look way older than you actually feel….

The Ugly:

  • too much unprotected time in the sun can quickly cause severe sun burn and/or dehydration and heat stroke
  • Skin cancer — this sobering fact from the American Academy of Dermatology:  “On average, one American dies from melanoma [skin cancer] every hour. In 2015, it is estimated that 9,940 deaths will be attributed to melanoma — 6,640 men and 3,300 women”And this fact on tanning from skincancer.org: “More people develop skin cancer because of tanning than develop lung cancer because of smoking”

Practice Safe Sun Exposure

So although the sun has it’s pluses and minuses. It’s always best to practice safe sun exposure – always apply sunscreen and limit your time in the sun, especially during peak hours.