Soak Up the Sunshine
Reviving the Sun as Essential to Health
Our relationship with the sun needs to be balanced and restored to reflect its significance on human health. Since the beginning of time, the sun’s life-giving energy has enabled the development of all life on earth and without it we would cease to exist.The sun is truly magnificent! The innate and complex interaction between the sun and all life forms leads one to believe that the sun, perhaps, is friend, not foe.
I used to see a doctor in Cleveland, OH named Dr. Adiel Tel-Oren, a.k.a. as “Dr. T”. Over the years, I attended his many lectures and skin clinics when he came into town. What I loved and respected about this man was his holistic, comprehensive, and scientific approach to skin care. In fact, his scientific perspective on the sun, skin cancer, and skin health would both surprise and empower you.
As he had stated, so eloquently, in his book, Embracing the Sun,  the following quote: “Numerous crucial compounds are manufactured by our skin and brain in response to full spectrum visible, ultraviolet and infrared sunrays, all of which change in intensity throughout the day, causing various hormones, neurotransmitters, and immune messengers to crescendo and diminuendo – maintaining our metabolic harmony.”  In other words, full spectrum sun, in appropriate amounts, influences our entire biology. We cannot reduce the myriad of health benefits that we receive from full-spectrum sunlight with a vitamin D supplement. The sun, and nature in general, are more complex than this.
Meet Dr. Sunshine
According to the scientific literature, a lack of sun may be nearly as detrimental as smoking! [1,5] Why? The health benefits of receiving regular sun exposure far exceed the negative effects. The health benefits of receiving regular sun exposure are:
The Manufacturing of Natural Vitamin D
- Sunlight is the natural source for vitamin D production.
- Vitamin D is needed for strong bones and teeth.
- Vitamin D supports healthy heart function and blood pressure.
- Vitamin D maintains muscle strength and tone.
- Vitamin D increases our resistance to infections particularly bacterial and viral.
- Vitamin D supports healthy nerve function.
- Vitamin D supports healthy cognitive function.
- Vitamin D is necessary for normal cell division.
Sun Benefits Independent of Vitamin D
- Sun exposure resets our body’s natural circadian rhythms resulting in improved physiology and reduced stress.
- Mood is uplifted through sun exposure due to the release of serotonin and natural endorphins.
- Sun exposure increases nitric oxide in the blood improving circulation and reducing blood pressure.
- Sun exposure lowers blood sugar.
- Sun exposure increases iron in the blood naturally raising energy levels.
- Sun exposure is an exceptional antiseptic and antibiotic.
- Sun exposure balances hormones and increases libido.
- Sun exposure is an antidote for erectile dysfunction.
- Skin issues such as acne, eczema and psoriasis show much improvement with sun exposure.
- Sun exposure balances the gut’s microbiome.
Essentially, the sun is not the enemy of our health, and should not be feared, but it should be respected.
Sun Wise Advise
First, it is essential to understand your skin type. How does your skin interact with the sun? Do you burn, sometimes burn, or rarely burn? Your ability to absorb UV rays depends upon the amount of melanin in your skin. Melanin is the biological substance that gives your skin color, yet it also serves as sun protection preventing cellular damage from UV rays. The more melanin in your skin, the more resistance you have to the sun. It’s important to build melanin gradually and without burning. Ideally, enjoy about 5 minutes of sun daily and slowly begin increasing the time until you have an established tan. By establishing a tan, you will have more resistance to the sun’s rays. Further, if you have fair skin you will need less time in the sun to receive the sun’s benefits, approximately 10 – 15 minutes. If you have darker skin, you will need more time in order to receive the sun’s benefits, approximately 30 minutes. Remember, the key to healthy sun bathing and exposure is to prevent burning.
Diet has a lot to do with how your skin interacts with the sun. The foods that you eat can either inhibit or promote sun damage. Foods rich in polyphenols prevent free-radical damage, and hence, protect the skin. Polyphenols are a class of phytonutrients that are known for their cellular protective, anti-inflammatory, and immune supportive properties. Polyphenols are prevalent in foods such as berries, kale, broccoli, apples, parsley, green tea, dark chocolate, lemons, almonds, pomegranate, black beans, and turmeric. Carotenoids, another class of phytonutrients, has received recent attention specifically for their ability to protect the skin from UV damage.  Foods such as carrots, cantaloupe, mango, papaya, sweet potatoes, red pepper, tomato, and watermelon are all rich in carotenoids. In essence, you can build your inner SPF with the healthy foods that you eat regularly.
Topical skin care products can further affect how your skin interacts with the sun, and can either inhibit or promote sun damage. I encourage you to choose your skin care products just as you would your food – clean, organic, and nourishing. Integrating pure botanicals into your skin care routine can protect and regenerate your skin before and after sun exposure. Many of these botanicals are also rich in polyphenols and carotenoids providing your skin the topical nourishment it needs to harmonize with the sun’s rays. 
As far as blocking the sun’s rays, I suggest wearing hats, covering up with clothing, seeking shade, and zinc oxide. Zinc oxide is a mineral compound that reflects the sun’s rays. It is not only a safe, non-toxic block, but it is also healing and soothing to the skin. You can find zinc oxide in “clean” and organic skin care lines. I’d also like to mention practicing mindfulness while in the sun. Once you feel your skin getting hot it is time to seek shade or cover up.
Embrace the Sun
I am please to see the growing interest and science related to how our skin and bodies interact with the magnificent sun. I encourage my readers to get the book, Embrace the Sun.  It is a wealth of information related to sun exposure and how the sun interacts with our bodies and protects us from many diseases.
Additionally, if you’re interested in using skin care that is natural and organic, plus supports sun exposure naturally and holistically I invite you to try EVOLVE Desert Love Facial Oil and Elixer. You can learn more about these products HERE.
Purchase the book on Amazon: Embrace the Sun
- Sorenson, M. B. Ed.D. and Grant, W. B. Ph.D., 2017, Embrace the Sun
- Artemis, N., 2017, Renegade Beauty
- Wolfe, D., 2007, Eating for Beauty
- Balić A, Mokos M. Do We Utilize Our Knowledge of the Skin Protective Effects of Carotenoids Enough? Antioxidants (Basel). 2019 Jul 31;8(8):259. doi: 10.3390/antiox8080259. PMID: 31370257; PMCID: PMC6719967.
- Alfredsson L, Armstrong BK, Butterfield DA, Chowdhury R, de Gruijl FR, Feelisch M, Garland CF, Hart PH, Hoel DG, Jacobsen R, Lindqvist PG, Llewellyn DJ, Tiemeier H, Weller RB, Young AR. Insufficient Sun Exposure Has Become a Real Public Health Problem. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 13;17(14):5014. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17145014. PMID: 32668607; PMCID: PMC7400257.