In recent years, much has been written about the dangers of sunshine. True, the sun can cause skin cancers and premature aging of the skin—particularly in fair-skinned people—but it also helps keep us healthy and happy. Vitamin D is created when the sun shines upon our skin, and vitamin D is essential to life. Some doctors have speculated that the recent increase in colon cancer incidence is due to the overuse of sunscreens. (By preventing the creation of vitamin D, which is essential for colon health, sunscreens may cause the colon to become weakened and more susceptible to disease.)
Sunshine also helps to elevate the mood. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a type of depression affecting those who live in areas where sunlight is restricted. If you are feeling low, go for a walk in the sunshine! Many people have benefitted from the use of Chromalux® and Veralux® bulbs (available from many pharmacies), installed in the primary living spaces of their homes. Full spectrum light bulbs mimic natural sunlight’s healthful effects without its harmful effects. Avoid excessive sunlight in the peak time period (approximately 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.) to avoid damage to the skin. If you are planning on spending time in the sun, always wear a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection (UVA and UVB filtration). The SPF (which applies only to UVB protection), should be 15 or higher.