What are the Risks

The Health Benefits of Some Sun Exposure


What About the Risks?

More and more, we hear studies warning  against excessive sun exposure. Recent increases in the statistics of  skin cancer have some people very nervous when it comes to exposing  their skin at all to the sun. However, direct sunlight can be beneficial  for the human body in many ways.


Moderate sun exposure may have  benefits for your health, including stronger bones, better sleep,  improved mood, and a healthier immune system, and when you continuously shield yourself from the sun or always cover every inch of exposed skin with sunscreen you could be missing out.

For example, despite Australia having one of the highest skin-cancer rates in the world, Cancer Council Australia recognizes that some time in the sun without sunscreen or other protection is important, according to Robyn ­Lucas, Ph.D., a professor at the Australian National University College of Health and Medicine, who ­researches environmental effects on health. 

Referencing an article in the The Harvard  Medical School Family Health Guide entitled “Benefits of Moderate Sun  Exposure” calls people who are so concerned about  getting skin cancer that they stay inside or cover every bit of skin up  “solar-phobes”.  He shows that there are a lot of other factors involved  with skin cancer, besides just exposure to the sun. These factors  include your genes, your skin type (people with very white skin who  cannot tan are more at risk), as well as the “dose” of the sun exposure  and its timing. Several studies have suggested that suddenly getting a  lot of sun is more dangerous than steady exposure over time.


Bone Health and Beyond

The best known benefit of sun exposure is vitamin D synthesis, which occurs in the skin in response to the sun’s UVB rays. Vitamin D is a critical nutrient. “It’s absolutely essential to promote absorption of calcium, the mineral that helps keep bones strong,” says Clifford Rosen, M.D., an osteo­porosis researcher at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute in Scarborough.

But sunlight may play other roles in promoting good health as well. The research is ongoing, but so far studies suggest that UV exposure might lower your blood pressure (which helps to protect against heart attack and stroke), curb appetite, and reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and possibly certain auto­immune diseases.

Sunshine may even be linked to longevity. A Journal of Internal Medicine study that monitored nearly 30,000 Swedish women for about 20 years found that those who spent more time in the sun lived six months to two years longer than those who racked up less sun exposure. “More research is required to replicate this work, but if it’s a real effect, it’s very impor­tant,” Lucas says.

The same UVB wavelengths of sun that CAN  cause sunburn if over-exposure occurs have very positive benefits when  in moderation. They kick off the chemical and metabolic chain reaction  that produces Vitamin D in our bodies. Research shows that many people  have low Vitamin D levels. There is a well-documented relationship  between low Vitamin D levels and poor bone health. Now links have been  made to everything from Multiple Sclerosis to Prostate Cancer due to low  levels of Vitamin D. Getting some sun may also shake off the wintertime  blues. Research suggests that light hitting your skin, not just your  eyes, helps reverse seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

In indoor tanning, most salons put a  limit on how long you may stay in a bed or booth, thus reducing the  likeliness of a burn. Many salons also prohibit visiting the facilities more than once in a 24 hour period, to help reduce the likelihood of over-exposure.  Ultimately, though, it's your responsibility to protect your body and be  moderate with your tanning habits. Remember, the best looking and most  even tans are results of short but regular periods of sun exposure.

Keep in mind that many tanning beds  now boast UVA only bulbs. UVB's are the rays primarily responsible for  the burn reaction in one's skin. By eliminating these harmful rays, you  reduce the risks.

Nobody wants to get skin cancer, but  we’ve gone from sun worship to sun dread. Dr. Stern and others say there  is a middle ground that includes using protective eyewear, as well as a  sunscreen and following the age-old mantra: "everything is okay in  moderation".

But can you get a tan with sunscreen on?  Even the most die-hard tanning advocate will condone the use of some  sort of protection on your skin. Brazilian Tan has a wide selection of such  products. Ask the staff for recommendations and they will accommodate  you. 

Another protection that cannot be  overlooked is the necessity of wearing tanning goggles. The Food and  Drug Administration requires all tanning salons to direct patrons to use  them.  Closing  your eyes will NOT block the UV rays from reaching your retina and  possibly damaging it over time.  These rays can change the entire structure of your lens, possibly  leading to cataracts. So, without question, always remember to wear your  tanning goggles. These goggles are very small and just rest over your  eyes. Remember…no tan is worth risking your sight for. Eyewear must be  certified 21CFR. We offer a selection of goggles that meet these  Federal standards.

Lips are another area of concern. Lips do not produce melanin, so always wear lip balms with sunscreen.

For those who are still worried about  any negative effects from UV ray exposure, Brazilian Tan offers UV Free  Tanning- alternative VERSAPRO sunless spray tanning. If you need to be  exquisitely tanned in an instant, here's the answer. Our instant tan  techniques mist your body with premium bronzers, moisturizers and DHA  for a smooth, natural-looking, beautiful tan in an instant. If you have  trouble tanning, this UV-free solution is right for you. It allows you  to choose the perfect shade for an even tan that lasts 5 to 7 days. UV  Free tanning is a great way to prepare for a special event or night on  the town.