Soaking up the sun (with SPF of course), can do more than give your body a radiant glow. Countless studies have uncovered the impact the sun has on our overall wellness, proving how truly beneficial even just 5-15 minutes of direct sunlight* two to three days a week can affect our mental and physical health. Aside from regular skin examinations and daily use of sunscreen, there are numerous ways to maintain a healthy relationship with natural Vitamin D in order to receive its near-immediate benefits. Below we note some of the top reasons to step into the light, as well as some of our favorite non-toxic products that will help you do so with ease and safety.
*Please note: If you plan on being in the sun for longer than the daily recommended time, be sure to apply sunscreen.
What we get naturally from the sun:
The sun’s ultra violet rays crate Vitamin D in our body, which is essential for many bodily functions and prevention of common ailments, including:
- Improved bone health
- Improved immune support
- Protection against dementia and brain aging
- Prevention of excess body fat
- Improved health of our teeth
- Decreased asthma symptoms
Benefits of daily, moderate sun exposure (while wearing sunscreen!) on our mental and physical health:
Increased Vitamin D: Vitamin D promotes reduced inflammation and modulates cell growth. It only takes 5-10 minutes of exposure — while wearing sunscreen — to natural sunlight to gain the benefits.
Improved Mood: Sunlight deprivation is REAL. A lack of sun and nature cause us to feel down and depressed, increasing any symptoms of depression and anxiety. Stepping out for a walk in the middle of the workday can literally help us achieve a “sunnier disposition.” Grab a hat, apply that SPF and take a stroll.
Better Sleep: Not only does sun-sourced serotonin improve our mood, but it can also help calm your mind when it’s time to catch some zzz’s.
Sun’s light can help calm inflamed skin: If you’re suffering from psoriasis, acne, eczema or fungal infections, take a few moments to step into the sun.
Sunlight can lower cholesterol: Just 10-15 minutes of exposure to the sun can lower blood pressure in individuals with high blood pressure.
Sunlight increases oxygen content in human blood: The sun can impact our stamina, fitness and muscular development, as exposure can enhance our bodies capacity to deliver oxygen to the tissue, similar to he effects of exercise.
Sunlight can build a stronger Immune System: White blood cells increase with sun exposure, and these play a major role in defending the body against infections.
According to HumNutrition.com, Harvard's School of Public Health reports that an estimated 1 billion people worldwide are deficient in vitamin D.
This report also cites several studies that link vitamin D levels with bone strength, muscle retention, heart health, and the immune system. Studies have also shown that Vitamin D can boost elasticity and collagen production in the skin while also reducing the appearance of lines, dark spots and acne. Clinical trials surmised vitamin D supplements can be particularly beneficial to older women.**
Symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency include:
- Brittle bones
- Fatigue and tiredness
- Bone and muscle aches
- Depression and anxiety
- Difficulty healing
- Stomach issues: bloat, gas, etc.
- Hair loss
If any of the above symptoms sound familiar, ask your doctor to run a simple blood test to determine your current serum level.
**Source: "Vitamin D and Health." Harvard School of Public Health. Robbins JA, et al. "Women's Health Initiative clinical trials: interaction of calcium and vitamin D with hormone therapy." Menopause. February 2014. PubMed. NCBI. NLM. NHI.
Do you still have to take a Vitamin D supplement during the summer months?
If you were to supplement natural sun exposure with Vitamin D during summer months, the max amount to supplement with if you do not have a known deficiency and are not being monitored by a physician is 600 IUs, as recommended by the National Institutes of Health.
Here’s how we protect our skin copal beauty:
Vitamin D3 is the active form of vitamin D which the body can use more efficiently. It has been studied for its effects on the immune system, bone health, hormone balance and digestive health.
That's why Hum Nutrition formulated Here Comes the Sun, the "sunshine vitamin," especially made for skin craving the benefits of the sun. Packed with D3 for strong bones and cellular health and regarded as superior to D2 by many scientists, Here Comes the Sun offers a summer day, every day.*
Suntegrity Skincare provides this all in one, "UV Chemical-Free"Tinted Sunscreen/Beauty Benefit (BB) cream that treats, hydrates, protects, primes and covers the skin. Supercharged with youth promoting antioxidants that help to scavenge surface free radicals, this cream also provides mineral Broad Spectrum SPF 30 protection. Hyaluronic acid, astaxanthin, red algae and Certified Organic: aloe vera, jojoba, sunflower, pomegranate, cucumber, and green tea help provide additional sun protection and hydration. Non-nano sized zinc-oxidenot only protects the skin from the damaging UVA and UVB rays, but it also soothes and calms the skin. Zinc-oxide is known for it's anti-inflammatory properties that often help skin conditions like rosacea, acne, and melasma.
This cucumber scented and lightly tinted formula is made with natural Rose Hip Oil which is rich in free radical fighting Vitamin C. Naturally calming Evening Primrose and Flax Seed Oils deliver abundant Omega-3 and Gamma-Linolenic Acid to improve elasticity and help skin retain moisture. Natural Shea Butter smoothes and hydrates while the phyto-protector Plankton Extract rejuvenates skin. Formulated for all skin types and tones, including those that are especially sensitive or oily.
Provides hydrating, chemical-active free sun protection for even the most sensitive skin.
This easy-to-apply COOLA Mineral Body Sunscreen Spray provides hydrating, chemical-active free sun protection for even the most sensitive skin. Genre-defying technology helps disperse non-nano Zinc Oxide evenly, for a sheer application with a lightweight and eminently wearable matte finish.
COOLA Daydream™ SPF 30 mineral primer is your weightless, multitasking best friend for radiant-looking skin and makeup all day long. The silky smooth formula shields your skin with signature Plant Protection® and mineral broad spectrum SPF 30, while a bouquet of Honeysuckle, White Lily and Iris Stem Cells instantly enhances overall skin quality. The lightweight texture offers a photo-reflective appearance to blur fine lines, even out skin tone and minimize pores to create a smooth finish when used alone, or for a flawless makeup application.
This oil-free, airy-light formula gently glides on to form a transparent veil, ideal for everyday use. Non-nano Zinc Oxide provides broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection while our plant-derived Full Spectrum 360° complex helps mitigate the effects of today’s modern-world skin-aggressors – HEV light, IR, and pollution. A proprietary blend of supercharged antioxidants helps defend against free radicals while a bouquet of plant stem cells and niacinamide helps promote skin radiance and youthful-looking skin.
Get broad-spectrum protection that is free of harsh chemicals like parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, mineral oil, synthetic dyes, sulfates, nanoparticles and chemical UV absorbers. It's non-greasy and contains 20% non-nano, uncoated zinc-oxide for therapeutic broad-spectrum protection against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays. This sunscreen formula is easy to apply, loaded with antioxidants for healthy protection all year round and has a light uplifting citrus scent. TSA Friendly.
This convenient, water resistant Sport Sun Stick provides UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum protection from the sun's harmful rays. Formulated with non-nano zinc oxide in a solid stick form, it glides onto skin smoothly without leaving a greasy feel. Organic coconut oil, shea butter and cocoa seed butter leave the skin hydrated and moisturized while organic sweet orange essential oil uplifts the senses. This stick is great for quick touch-ups on your hands, face, chest and shoulders.
Blended with a high percentage of organic ingredients, and available in a 6 shades, it’s a must have for those who don’t want to use a mirror but do want to pull a chic, understated case out of their bag.
*Some information sourced from MindBodyGreen