Sunlight and the Skin: Part 1
It’s guest post time! Juliette Scarfe of Bare Skin Beauty has written a special series for us on sunlight and the skin, a timely topic since summer is just around the corner. Let’s delve a little deeper into why the body needs the sun and be sure to stay tuned for part 2 on Wednesday for some awesome DIY suncare recipes straight from Juliette! Enjoy!
Vitality Series: Sunlight and the Skin- Part 1
by Juliette Scarfe
Our bodies are powered and nourished by solar energy, which we consume directly by exposing our skin to sunlight, and in the form of foods, which have themselves collected and stored solar energy. We all need a minimum of 15 minutes of sunlight on bare skin every day, to maintain optimal levels of health and wellbeing.
Vital Vitamin D3
The sun, via UV radiation sends the body a message – this signals a molecule on the skin (7-dehydrocholesterol) to convert to the active form of Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) in the body. Vitamin D3 synthesis entirely depends upon UVB radiation, which effectively penetrates only the epidermal (outer) layers of the skin.
Vitamin D deficiency is a current, dangerous epidemic, estimated by experts to affect 90% of the world’s population. Due to commercial sunscreen and misinformation, many people are failing to get sufficient sun exposure. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risk of virtually every form of cancer, cardiovascular disease and immune insufficiencies. Data has existed for years, that proves a causal link between the use of commercial sunscreen and melanoma – even the FDA have gone on record, to state that commercial sunscreen has no evidence to suggest that it provides any protection against skin cancer.
UV Myth Busting
The sun emits many different types of rays – however only Ultraviolet A (UVA) and B (UVB) reach the earth’s surface. The amount of UV light that hits the earth is ever increasing, as our protective ozone layer is being depleted through mankind’s inability to protect the planet we inhabit.
UVB rays penetrate the epidermis and cause burning from overexposure to sunlight. They oxidize the fats in the cell membranes, destroying their barrier function. Some UVB rays penetrate further into the epidermis, causing sunburn, which constitutes oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is caused by free oxidizing radicals (unstable atoms with an electron missing that causes chaos by stealing an electron from a neighboring atom). Free radicals damage fats, proteins, connective tissue and our DNA, resulting in poor health and premature aging.
In summary, excessive UV light damages our cells on a molecular level, affects their ability to manufacture proteins, repair and reproduce. Collagen and elastin, which are both responsible for keeping our skin strong, supple, plump and elastic is damaged.
Overexposure and Sunburn
The redness and inflammation caused by sunburn, occurs as a result of oxidization and the dilation of blood vessels, as the skin begins the process of repairing the damage to the epidermis and dermis.
UVA rays are responsible for oxidative damage to our cells and the connective tissue in the dermis, leading to sunburn, dry skin and accelerated aging – leaving the skin more vulnerable to further damage. They penetrate deeper into the skin’s layers, down to the dermis where they damage collagen and elastin. UVA rays hit the earth even on cloudy overcast days and they penetrate glass.
As a natural skincare practitioner and facialist, I am often asked about the damaging effects of the sun. My personal opinion, based on years of research, is that the sun is hugely beneficial for us on a physical, mental and spiritual level – provided it is enjoyed in moderation. I often advise clients with skin conditions to ditch their synthetic make-up and sunscreen and get out in the sun to allow biochemical reactions within the skin, to kick start the healing and balancing process. Acne, psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema will improve from exposure to sunlight, provided the skin is bare. Ironically, it is the lack of sunlight on the skin that can cause skin problems. In this article, I have condensed all my advice and expertise to demonstrate that protecting your skin is not complicated or costly.
Stay tuned for Part 2 on Wednesday for tips on what to do when you get a sunburn. You don’t want to miss the super easy DIY recipes from Juliette!
About the Author
Juliette founded Bare Skin Beauty in 2008, with the aim of redefining the concept of beauty and empowering people to feel confident and radiant in their own skin. Natural beauty flows from inner health.
Currently studying Nutrition and Anatomy and Physiology, Juliette seeks to educate and enlighten through her writing, encouraging us to eradicate toxins and consciously reconnect with our bodies. Believing “we are what we absorb” and that her unique Skinfood skincare can nourish, balance and repair the whole body.
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