Summer Sun Safety

Posted at 10:20 PM on Jul 10, 2022


All of us living in Minnesota know how short our summers are, leaving us wanting to soak up every moment of them. We agree, and can’t get enough of that summer sunshine either. However, it’s important to remember to plan for sun safety.

Benefits of Sunshine

Before delving into the harmful effects, the sun may have on the body, let’s discuss the benefits first.

The sun makes you feel good, and it helps you get vitamin D. Which is essential for:

  • Healthy bones
  • Calcium levels
  • Reducing inflammation
  • Supporting the immune system and glucose metabolism

When exposed to UV rays, the skin produces beta-endorphins, hormones that reduce pain. The benefits of these hormones include:

  • Feeling of well-being
  • Improved mood
  • Boosts the immune system
  • Pain relief
  • Relaxation
  • Help wounds heal
  • Feeling more alert
  • Reducing depression

With the absorption of vitamin D and the release of beta-endorphins, the sun can have a powerful positive effect on the body. Research has noted that sun exposure may:

  • Help to lower blood pressure by triggering the skin to release stores of nitrogen oxides which dilate arteries
  • Reduce death rates associated with cardiovascular issues
  • Promote better sleep as it impacts the circadian rhythm by regulating levels of serotonin and melatonin
  • Reduce the risk of certain diseases, cancers, and metabolic syndrome

Practicing Summer Sun Safety

Now, before you spend all day soaking up the sun and its health benefits, it's important to note the adverse effects of exposure:

  • Sunburn
  • Skin changes
  • Early aging – wrinkling and loss of elasticity
  • Eye injuries
  • Skin cancer – the three most common types are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma

To enjoy the sun and prevent the harmful effects listed above, it’s essential to practice safe sun. This can be easily done by:

  • Applying broad-spectrum sunscreen before sun exposure (at least 30 SPF) – even on overcast days
  • Reapply sunscreen as needed, especially after sweating or if you have been in the water
  • Stay in the shade, avoiding long periods of direct sun exposure
  • Wear protective clothing with built-in SPF if possible
  • Wear sunglasses and a large brimmed hat

In addition to protecting yourself from the sun, you should regularly scan your body for abnormal moles, lesions, or discolored spots. These all could be signs of skin cancer and should be checked by your doctor.