Everyone loves to be outdoors during a sunny day. Although being in the sun might make us feel good, we all recognize that too much time spent in the sun can sooner or later cause wrinkling and worse, skin cancer. Wrinkles, which are in fact signs of skin damage and aging, make you look and feel older than you really are. Skin is among the most important organs of the body. Wrinkles indicate that the skin is losing the elastin that keeps it young and healthy. Sunshine is essential for our bodies to turn specific types of cholesterols in foodsinto vitamin D, a significant nutrient that helps decrease aging of the immune and cardiovascular systems. The liver and kidneys then change vitamin D into vitamin D3, the active form of the vitamin. Ten to twenty minutes of sunlight each day seems to be the optimal amount that each of us requires.
Regrettably, a lot of people live in areas where the sun isn't adequate for them to receive this benefit. It takes a fair amount of energy from the sun to turn the cholesterol precursors of vitamin D to vitamin D3 just any old sunshine won't be enough. Actually, anyone who lives north of Raleigh, North Carolina, will not get this benefit of the sun starting October 1 to April 15, because the sun doesn't have plenty of energy throughout this period to convert precursor vitamin D to vitamin D3. If you are living in the North, or in the South but unable to get some sun each day, you must take 400 IU of vitamin D daily, or 600 IU if you're over sixty years of age. Reports on mood elevation indicate that sunlight and exposure to broad-spectrum light help enhance our mood. Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and other forms of depression can be improved by exposure to sunlight. So a bit of sun is good.
How much is too much?
Too much sun ages us since exposure to ultraviolet light ruins elastin and elevates wrinkles. It also harms the chromosomes in skin cells. Chromosomes are the strands of DNA found in each cell in your body. If you look through a microscope at sun-damaged skin cells, you will see literal breaks in the chromosomes where they've been damaged by solar radiation. Astonishingly, the sun can even damage the chromosomes in cells indirectly exposed to sunlight. This chromosomal damage can lead to cancers.
There are two types of skin cancers: basal cell cancers, and squamous cell cancers. Even though these skin cancers are seldom fatal and can typically be removed surgically without major aging backlashes, they are usually disfiguring. Still, there is a third type of skin cancer that is much subtler. Malignant melanomas are quite serious and can be fatal. About 54,000 cases are reported annually.
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