Why we need to sunbathe regularly
This is a controversial topic but for the sake of our health, it needs to be understood.
Let’s start at the very beginning…of human life.
For most of our existence we lived outdoors. To survive the harshness we encountered daily, our skin became our suit of armor, protecting us from the environmental conditions, like the sun. As a result, our skin adapted by developing its own survival mechanisms, allowing in what it needed and repelling what it didn’t.
Melanin, the skin's brown pigment, is our natural sunscreen, protecting us from ultraviolet (UV) rays emitted by the sun. UV has gotten a bad wrap over the years but it’s not UV that is necessarily bad, but how we expose ourselves to it.
UV is absolutely essential to our health. When our skin is exposed to UV, it stimulates the production of Vitamin D, a critical hormone needed to absorb calcium and promote bone growth. Without it our bones would be brittle and prone to breaking.
Our problem is that we don’t prepare our skin adequately prior to exposing it to the sun. We spend most of our time indoors, from morning to night, depriving our body of natural sunlight. Then when we do go outside, our skin hasn’t had a chance to gradually increase its melanin levels, our sunscreen. Without this protection, UV can have harmful effects and trigger potential genetic mutations leading to things like skin cancer. But if we better prepared our skin, with regular but low doses of sun exposure, our melanin levels would be higher and our skin could handle the UV better, like it was designed to in earlier times.
So, it isn't that the sun and UV light originally caused skin cancer, it's that our modern lifestyle indoors and lack of frequent sunlight exposure makes us vulnerable.
Can’t we just wear sunscreen to block the harmful UV light? We could but…remember that UV light is needed for the production of Vitamin D. Lack of Vitamin D leads to brittle bones. Brittle bones break. Hardly a way we can live our lives. Vitamin D is also necessary for many other vital functions in our bodies, but we’ll leave that for another post…