“Everything in moderation”—and that includes sunlight.
Although too much exposure to the sun’s rays damages the skin and may lead to skin cancer, getting a moderate amount of sunlight has health benefits.
• According to researchers, getting 30 minutes of sun while wearing a bathing suit causes our skin to produce significant amounts of vitamin D, which is important for healthy bones and a healthy immune system. Even as little as 15 minutes of sun on the hands, arms and face two or three days per week provides some vitamin D benefits.
• Sunlight boosts our levels of serotonin, a mood- and energy-enhancing hormone produced in the brain.
• British researchers have found that sun exposure supports the body’s production of nitric oxide, a substance that helps lower blood pressure as well as chronic inflammation, which may have a role in the development of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
• Even with these health benefits, doctors warn against getting too much sun, particularly during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., when the sun’s damaging ultraviolet rays are at their peak. When you are out in the sun for 15 minutes or longer, always wear sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.