May is skin cancer awareness month and while we want to keep safe from the sun, we should remember that the sun does have some positive affects too. Yes, it feels so good on a cold day to bask in the warm rays of the sun. This may be linked to the fact that sunlight triggers the pineal gland, located in the brain, to produce chemicals called tryptamines, which elevate mood. This may in part explain why some people suffer from seasonal affective disorder and others do not.
The sun’s UV produces Vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D, sometimes referred to as the ‘sun vitamin’, helps increase immunity, bone and muscle strength and has been shown to lower risk for certain types of cancer.
The sun has also been shown to help those who suffer from certain skin conditions like psoriasis. Light treatment boxes have been simulated on doctor’s offices to produce a sun-like affect for sufferers.
UV has also been shown to kill virus and bacteria. The perfect example of this is when you hang out clothes to dry, the UV penetrates the cell of the bacteria/virus and kills it. Underwear, workout clothes and diapers are great to dry outside because of this.