The reality for most of us in today’s modern world is to travel from one box to the next. We sleep inside, we eat inside, we step into our cars and drive to the office, we drive home from the office, finish our day relaxing around the house and do it all over again. Our modern lifestyle has developed to the point where going outside has become an “option”. A whole week may come and go without ever feeling the sun’s rays on our skin or fresh air filling our lungs.
For years, doctors have repeatedly told us that the sun is bad for you and that it causes cancer. The fact is, the majority of all living things require sun to survive. The key is balance, and using your common sense to avoid getting sunburned.
The sun has a remarkable effect on your health and happiness, and is our best source of vitamin D, a hormone that: controls calcium levels in the blood thus maintaining strong bones, muscles and teeth; is involved in making hundreds of enzymes and proteins which are vital for preventing a number of diseases; strengthens the immune system; and has anti-cancer properties.
Research shows that sunshine has a significant effect upon mental health and wellbeing and is recommended in the treatment of depression; for treating psoriasis, eczema and acne; and for regulating circadian rhythms (our internal body clock that when disrupted can result in sleep disorders).
On the flip side, it is important to keep in mind that too much sun exposure does have consequences: an increase in the speed of skin aging and the potential risk of melanomas. So it’s all about finding the “right” balance for you, taking in to consideration your age, skin color, body weight, season of the year, and the latitude of where you live.
Personally, I like the idea of delaying wrinkles for as long as naturally possible, so I enjoy the sunshine in the early or late hours of the day, avoiding direct sun exposure between the hours of 11am and 3pm. However, if I am going to be out in the sun for long periods of time, I apply a natural sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide and wear a hat. Gone are the days where I lay on the beach sunbaking!
NOTE ON SUNSCREENS: Please choose a natural sunscreen that contains zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. Avoid those that contain fragrance, oxybenzone, PABA, alcohol, parabens, methylisothiazolinone, salicylates, mineral oil, TEA, DEA, MEA, propylene/butylene glycol as these ingredients are linked to dryness of the skin, allergic dermatitis, photosensitivity, cancer, skin aging and acne. If you’d like to research further, http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com is an excellent tool to search by product, ingredient or company.
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