What You Should Know About the Side-Effects and Benefits of Sunbathing
The winter of 2020 cursed us with the very miserable COVID-19 pandemic. And since then, it has forced us to stay indoors. We have started spending up to 90% of our time inside our homes-feeding our eyes with artificial light.
Sadly, this lack of vitamin D is why we deal with so many skin and health-related problems nowadays. However, Vitamin D is abundantly available in the lovely sun rays of the early morning. So, all you need to do is to go outside and get soaked in the sunshine for about 15 minutes daily, and you can see a significant improvement in your mood and health.
In this article, we will examine the benefits of sunbathing and the side effects. Along with that, we will talk about some precautions to take and alternatives to having a sunbath.
Let’s get started by first understanding the correct method of taking a sunbath.
How to Sunbathe?
The best time for having a sunbath is before 8 in the morning or after 5 in the evening. That is the time when the sunrays are not too strong and you can enjoy the maximum benefits of sunbathing. Exposure to solid sun heat for a long duration can burn your skin. Start off with a short course of 5-10 minutes and gradually increase it to 20-30 minutes max. However, immediately stop if you start sweating too soon or get a burning sensation. Doing this 2-3 times a week should be enough.
-Try to expose your whole body to sunlight to get maximum effects. However, if you cannot find a private place to do so, make sure at least 70% of your body is exposed. Wear thin, white-colored cotton clothes.
-Cover your head with a white wet towel. While sunbathing, keep changing positions so both sides of the body can benefit. Stay hydrated and drink lots of water while exposed to the sun.
-The UV rays dehydrate the skin. So when you are done sunbathing, make sure to bathe in cold water and moisturize your skin.
Health Benefits of Sunbathing
Sunbathing always comes with many health gains. Some of the benefits of sunbathing are:
- Happy skin: The UV rays destroy bacteria that cause skin infections. Exposure to the sun also improves skin texture, removes blemishes, and brightens the skin in general.
- Serotonin boost: Here’s a fun little fact: serotonin can also be called the happiness hormone. It gives your mood a major boost and keeps you protected from depression. Morning sunbathing will help you make your entire day calm and content. Here’s another fun little fact: serotonin may aid weight loss. Though it does not directly help in fat burning, it does suppress your appetite and keeps you full.
- Stronger bones and teeth: Vitamin D helps absorb calcium which is really good for bone health and prevents arthritis.
- Healthy hair: Vitamin D stimulates hair growth and retards hair fall. In addition, sunlight makes your hair more shiny and strong.
- Better sleep: Sunbathing helps regulate circadian rhythm, which means your sleep cycle will improve. As a result, you will get a night of better sleep and prevent insomnia.
- Boost Immune system: Your immune system has specific fighter cells that need to mature to become active. Sunlight helps to grow these cells and fight off infections.
- Cleanse blood vessels: Sunlight is a natural detoxifying agent that unclogs your blood vessels, facilitating blood circulation.
Potential Side Effects
Now that we have read so many benefits of sunbathing, it is hard to believe that it could also have side effects. But unfortunately, sunbathing in the wrong manner can also prove dangerous, along with not yielding any benefits.
The UVA and UVB radiations can speed up the aging process. This aging happens because the radiations penetrate deeply into the dermis and damage the collagen elastic fibers. When we lose the elasticity of our skin, we get wrinkles. The existing wrinkles deepen, and the skin also becomes rough and dry. This phenomenon is known as photoaging. Excessive exposure can even lead to sun poisoning in unfortunate cases. Skin redness, itching, and peeling are some of its symptoms. In addition, sunburns can cause glistening or even malignant melanoma in later life, a type of skin cancer.
Another side effect that we cannot miss is on our eyes. UV rays can contribute to conjunctivitis and cause damage to the lens and the retina of the eye. In addition, they increase the likelihood of cataracts. Sunbathing while pregnant can lead to prolonged pregnancies. Overexposure to the sun suppresses the immune system and also leads to dehydration.
Precautions to Take
Now that we know the potential harms of sunbathing let us discuss the precautions you need to take to avoid these harms.
- Do not sunbathe for prolonged periods. Keep your sessions within the recommended duration only.
- Take breaks in some shade and avoid sitting in the same position the whole time.
- Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated while exposing yourself to the sun.
- Eat tomatoes. Tomatoes have a pigment called lycopene. UV rays cause skin redness, and lycopene helps to prevent them.
- Do not eat anything 2 hours before the session, and do not eat immediately after the session.
- Apply SPF 30 at least 15 minutes before going outside to prevent sunburns.
- Don’t take a sunbath if you’re allergic to light.
- Before going out, check the UV index at the time and place. If it is greater than 3, you will need sun protection.
It would be best to be very careful while messing with UV radiation. I cannot emphasize enough the need to take proper precautions while sunbathing.
There can be a variety of reasons why people don’t prefer to lie down in the sun. They may have a photosensitive reaction to the sun caused by sun allergies, or maybe they simply don’t want to. Luckily, there are many other ways to get the benefits of the sun. You can go for a walk or a run outside. Open the windows and curtains of your office or bedroom to get more natural light. Avoid excessive use of artificial light during the day. Eat Vitamin D-rich foods like milk, eggs, cheese, and fish. You can also take Vitamin D supplements.