Malignant melanoma is fifth most common cancer in the United States today, and if that's not enough the American Academy of Dermatology has also cited that almost a million cases of skin cancer will be diagnosed each year going forward.
Not only has this freaked out the folks who used to have a thing for getting a tan but now everyone afraid of exposing their bodies to the sun without sunscreen for the risk of dry skin, wrinkles and skin cancer at an extreme level.
But is it really all that bad?
Sun – The Source of Vitamin D
Ironically, another study shows that 10 % of all cancer-related deaths in the United States could have been prevented if these Americans had sufficient Vitamin D produced in moderate exposure to the sun. And these figures far outnumber the figure of deaths for melanoma and skin cancer.
So, in order for one to not get bamboozled by rumors and gossip in regards to what is right or wrong about getting a sun tan, it is important to understand what happens during the process of tanning instead where 'moderation is the key' and can be a danger for pale-skinned people.
As we all known that UV radiation consists of two wavelengths such as UVA & UVB radiation. Right from the outset, most tanning enthusiasts will know that UVB rays are better than UVA rays, and this leads us to the sunscreen lotions that work as 'UV filters' consisting of organic compounds that absorb, scatter and reflect harmful UV rays that might cause skinburn or skin cancer, which white people are far more vulnerable to than others.
UVA and UVB radiation both effect the body, however, the former causes wrinkles, skin cancer and premature ageing while the latter (as mentioned earlier) has several benefits if the body is exposed to it moderately.
Benefits of UVB radiation
Contrary to popular belief, adequate exposure to the sun can protect our skin from skin cancer. Apart from providing warmth and light to your body which no doubt makes you feel good, it has a long list of medicinal benefits due to the fact that Vitamin D is vital to important functions of the body such as blood pressure, insulin secretion, cell proliferation, immunity and calcium metabolism.
Exposure to UV radiation is used in preventing diseases such as Rickets, Lupus vulgaris, Psoriasis and Vitiligo while the lack of vitamin D can cause fatigue and depression as well.
Now that we're familiar with why it's important to expose your body to the sun regularly, let's understand as to "How much exposure is too much?".
Exposure to the sun – How much?
Experts say that with the increase in duration and frequency of exposure of our bodies to the sun, the chances of skin cancer also increase as well. If one knows one's own skin sensitivity to skinburns, the latitude of their location and time of day, then without using sunscreen lotion, one can expose their arms, face and hands to the sun for anywhere between 5 to 15 minutes for two to three days in a week between 8 am to 4 pm should suffice.
Since UV radiation is stronger at the equator, a few minutes sometimes is enough to provide our bodies with the vitamin D it requires.
Not only is the sun a source of vitamin D but one can also eat foods such milk, seafood and a range of meat while also opting for supplements that can increase the vitamin D levels in the body. In addition, getting a sunscreen with an SPF of about 15 or higher can help you stay out in the sun for a little longer without getting burned.