Safety in the Sun: The Benefits, Risks, and Precautions to Take.

There are many benefits of sun exposure. It influences our internal body clock (circadian rhythm) which regulates our sleeping patterns and hormone levels. It is also a large source of vitamin D which supports and regulated immune health, muscle function and brain cell activity.  Too little sunlight can negatively impact us, one study even suggests it may increase our risk of dementia as this would inhibit the above functions which play a large role in maintaining our brain. They found that age can impact how much sun exposure you should have, with older adults seeming to require a relatively longer duration of sun exposure to experience the protective effects against dementia. This could be due to deterioration in the eyes such as yellowing lenses which reduce the amount of light to the retina, affecting the regulation of the circadian rhythm.


It is suggested there is such a thing as having both too little and too much sun exposure. Most of our vitamin D comes from sunlight which is why it is important to ensure we get some exposure but to also be mindful of how to do this safely!


What are the risks of sun exposure without precaution?


An increased risk of skin cancer – this is due to damage to skin cells over time causing them to mutate. The risk of this increases every time you burn as more damage is done.


Eye problems such as cataracts in the long term. – your eyes are much more sensitive than your skin, however, like skin the surface can also burn leading to complications further down the line.


Dehydration – when your body temperature goes up, you naturally start to sweat to cool down, this causes you to lose water quicker and can lead to dehydration if not replenished.


Premature ageing – a large factor which causes wrinkles and dark spots is unprotected sun exposure as the UV rays penetrate the skin damaging the elastic fibres that keep the skin firm.


How can we prevent this?


Stay in the shade wherever possible – particularly between the times of 11 am and 3 pm when the UV rays are strongest.


Consider what you are wearing – opt for clothes which provide more cover, darker colours can also protect against UV rays. Wearing a hat can also really help keep the sun off your face!


Protect your eyes with sunglasses! Not only do they look cool, but they help protect your eyes from UV rays.


Wear sun cream! – do this all year round not just when it is sunny! UV rays can be present even when it is cloudy. Opt for a high SPF sun cream, apply generously, and remember to reapply throughout the day! At the very least, apply to the areas not protected by your clothes such as your face, ears, neck, and hands.


Drink plenty of water – not only does this prevent dehydration but can also come with its own benefits!



Overall, sunlight exposure offers numerous benefits, particularly when it comes to our health and well-being. By taking the above precautions, you can reap these benefits and reduce the potential risks. Have a great summer!


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