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The benefits, joys and danger of the sunlight

For a long time we have been told to beware of the sun rays and protect ourselves from the impact of sun rays upon our skin. The trouth is probably not as bad and simple. Sunlight gives both benefits, and effects harm in exaggerated exposure.

Light is a form of waves carrying energy, but these waves are divided in portions called photons. The energy in each photon is determined by the wave frequency.

Light have higher energy, the greater the frequency of the light waves is. The greater the fequency is, the longer is the wavelangth. Hence, the greater the wavelength, the less is the energy, or the shorter the wavelength is, the greater energy will the light contain. In the visible spectrum the violet end of the spectrum has greatest frequency and shortest wavelength. Beyond that point the the light is invisible and is called ultraviolet, The further beyond that point, the shorter wavelength and greater energy will the ultraviolet waves have.

The wavelength is measured in nm or nanometers. One nanometer is one billonths of a meter.

The light of rays are generally divided in four kinds according to weavelength, invisible infrared light with the longest wavelength (over 700 nm) and least energy in each foton, visible light with shorter vawelangth (400-700 nm), UVA with  even wavelength (320-400nm),  UVB of still shorter wavelength (280-320 nm), and UVC of shortest wavelength and hence greatest energy in each photon (100-280 nm).

The specific effects of sunlight upon the skin is mostly due to the ultaraviolet light, but all types of light is also warming the skin.The ultraviolet light is not visible for the human eye. It will however give chemical effects in molecules of the body. Some of these effects are positive and others are negative. The shorter the wavelength is the more dangerous is the ultraviolet light. The most dangerous kind, the UVC is however mostly absorbed by the ozone layer and the skin gets exposed to very little UVC. 

However, in periods where the ozone layer is weakened by pollutants in the atmosphere, dangerous amounts of UVC can reach the surface level. This situation existed in some parts of the world in some periods some years ago due to aerozole gasses let out into the atmosphere. Gradually these oulets has been controlled and the danger is not so great any more.


How do the sun-light make its effects

Generally the ultraviolet light makes an effect by being absorbed and giving its energy off to electrons. The electron taking up the energy is then pushed out of its orbitals in the molecule so that one gets a free electron and a positveiy loaded molecule. If an electron that is a part of a chemical bond is pushed out this way, the bond will be broken and the molecule will even break apart.

The loaded molecule or fragments of broken molecules can then cause chemical reactions. The free and energized electron can also cause reactions. These reactions can cause new chemical bonds or breakage of more molecules. Some of these reactions are positive, for example reactions leading to production of more vitamin D, others are dangerous.

The visible light and the infrared light do not have enough energy to throw electrons completely out of the molecules, but inseted the energy form each photone pushes electrons to a higher level inside the molecules. When the electron falls back to the original level again, the energy is transformed to molecular motions or heat. Thus the visible light is varming up the skin. Most of the ultraviolet light will also have this effect and also this contribute to the warming.

In certain molecules, the energy in the excited electrons is however used for specific actions, for example in molecules in the eye's retina that are used to start sensory nerve signals.

The outer skin layer, the epidermis, is msot heavily affected by the sun rays. The ultraviolet light do not penetrate very deep in great amounts.

The most dangerous reaction are those of molecular fragments, so-called free radicals. These react haphhazardly with everything and can thereby produce many types of damages, including damages in the DNA molecules that lead to cancer.

Vitamin D is produced in the skin from the substance 7-dehydrocholesterol that takes up UVB radiation and thereby is activated so that it can enter a chain of reactions that gives vitamion D as the product.

The chemical substances made by sun rays obsobed can stimulate proliferation of more skin cells and stimulate the production of the dark substance melanin. This stimulation makes the skin thicker and more robust.

The substance coloring the skin, melanin, takes up light including ultraviolet light so that it does not so easily affect the skin. Thereby the energy from the light is used to lift electrons in melanin up to higher levels. The electrons will fall back again and the energy is released as heat. Melanin thereby gives protection, but it can also hinder the production of vitamin D. Therefore people with dark skin can get too little vitamin D if they live in environments with little sun.

The benefits of the sun-rays

If the exposure to sun light is moderate, the benefits outnumber the dangers. First of all sunshine has a good effect upon the mental health and the mental and physical well-being, both due to the visible light and to the warming effect.

The stimulation through the eyes from the visible spectrum in the sun-shine, seens to stimulate the production of the hormone melatonine and to stimulate the activity level in the nervous and hormonal system in a good way. The sun-light will often dimmish depressive mood and enhance a good mood. Also the sun-light falling on the skin seems to stimulate the nervous and hormonal system in such a way that the well-being increases.

The sun-light helps to synchronize the bioloigical clok so that a person is fully awake when this is useful and able to rest and sleep efectively to the right time.

Newer findings also suggest that moderate amount of sunshine does not promote the occurence of skin cancer. On the contrary, frequent sun doses in moderate amounts, seem to help prevent cancers of several types.

People that frequently are exposed to the sun rays in a way that do not cause sunburn even seem to have lower risk of getting skin cancers that the average population.

The benefit that most people go for when engaging in sunbath, is the browning effect. This effect comes from the UVA rays stimulating the melanocytes in the skin to produce more of the brown pigament - melanine. The increased amount of melanine will protect the skin against the harms of sun-rays, and make you tolerate greater amounts of sun before harmful effects occur.

The sun rays also stimulate the upper layer of the skin to grow thicker, and this makes the skin more robust against damage. As long as this thickening is moderate, the thickening is a good effect.

Frequent sun exposure is beneficial against certain skin diseases, especially psoriasis, and is actually a proven method of therapy for this disease.


The dangers of the sun-rays

The most visible danger of exaggerated sun exposure is the burning effect caused by the UVB rays. The effect is mostly due to immune cells in the skin releasing histamin. Histamine then cause blood vessels to dilate and also cause other symptoms of acute inflammation. Some cells will also be injured by the sunlight to such an extend that they die, causing the upper layer of the skin to flake away. This effect is mostly caused by the UVB rays.

The kind of sun exposure that effects burning of the skin is the most dangerous. Frequent sun exposure that are not intense or long enough to cause burning seems to be more beneficial than harmful.

Exaggerated exposure to sun can cause brown spots - liver-spots. Furtermore it can cause the cancer type called bacal cell carcinoma. These effects are caused both from the UVA and UVB rays. This type of cancer look like brown flackes or brown spots, and may be difficult to distinguish from liver-spots. However, this kind of cancer is little malignant, and is in most cases just a cosmetic problem.

But the UVA and UVB rays during too much sun exposure can also cause malignant melanome. This cancer consists of melamocyte cells been transformed into cancer cell. Malignant melanoma often evolves from birth marks. This cancer can remain small for a long time, but can also spread and develop very rapidly and swiftly evolve into a serious disease. In its initial stages, the cancer look like an irregularly shaped, and abnormally or irregularly coloured birthmark.

People having frequently been exposed to much sun exposure so that they have got  sunburned form an early age, are in special risk for malignant melanoma.

Traditionally skin cancers were thought to be caused by the UVB rays, but newer findings suggest that the whole ultraviolet spectre participoates in causeing cancers.

Too much sun exposure for a long time will increase the speed of skin aging, multiplying and graviating wrincles. Also this effect is caused by the UVB rays. Also the blood vessels in the skin tend to become permanently dilated and areas of the skin will often get an abnormal or irregularly thickness, some places too thin, other places too thick. Due to the widened blood vessels, the skinvill be permanantly red.

UVC rays are normally filtered out from by the uzone layer in the upper atmosphaere. Nowadays this layer is wakened over certain areas in certain times. These rays are the most dangerous and easily cause cancer and other types of skin damage.

Sun exposure protects against lack of vitamin D and is good for the health of the bones, heart and blood vessels

The skin uses some of the energy from the sunrays to produce vitamin D. Newer findings suggest that many people do not get enough of this vitamine through the diet or do not absorb enough from the intestines, and need this stimulation to get good enough levels of vitamine D. There are also findings suggesting that vitamin D absorbed from the intestines is not well utilized in the body either, so that the production of vitamin D in the skin therefore is essential for optimal health.

This vitamine is necessary for the normal composition, growth and regeneration of bone tissue. Vitamin D i also necessary for good health in the heart and circulatory system. By too low levels of vitamin D in the body, the bones tend to loose calcium and get thinner and weaker and the risk of getting heart disease is greater. Thus some regular exposure to sun-light is necessary foroptimal health of the scheleton and the circulatory system and for the health in general.

What is the best protection against sunlight

The best way to get just enough sun exposure to get the bebefits, but not so much to suffer the harms caused by sun rays, is just to expose your skin for the sun some time, and then cover the skin by clothes.

The time advicable for naked exposure vary considerably. A person with brown skin can take much more than a pale person. The same is true about a person with thick skin. As you get used to the sun each year, you will gradually get browner and also tolerate more. If you take sunbath for the first time in the year, and you have not yet get used to the sun , 10-15 minutes may be enough.

However, often you want to expose your skin to the sun rays longer than an unprotected skin can tolerate, and then you have to use some topical sun protection. Sun balms are found with protection  from 3 to 30. The protection factor is supposed to tell how many times longer you can be in the sunshine with the balm on, than without the balm. Be aware that the real protection  factor may be less than that writtten on the bottle.

A balm with the factor 20 does not allways really have that factor. If you know you can tolerate  0.5 hours exposure without protection, do not think that you really will tolerate 10 hours exposure with a balm of factor 20 on. The balm must also be renewed several times during the time you expose yourself for the sun. That is especially true if you take swims.

The face is the bodypart that it is most important to protect against the sun, since the face does not have any clothes on, and accordingly gets longest sun exposure.

Some kinds of nutrition seem to to make your skin more robust against the impact from sun rays. It is for example adviceable to eat much fish and use olive oil in the diet. It is also adviceable to have a diet low in fat content and with a high amount of anti-oxidants.

If is adviceable to attend to the news about the osone layer, and allways protect your skin in periods with extremely weakened ozone layer. There has however been much hysteria regarding thin ozon layer, and this problem has actually decreased in the later years because of restrictions on use of aerosols with gasses that catalysate the destruction of ozon molecules.


How sunscreen works

Creams, lotions and sprays used to protect the skin against dmages from sub-rays have ingredients in one or both of two ways.

Some substances absorb the ultraviolet radiation. A traditional substance with a long history working this way is para-aminobenzoic acid, which is actually a vitamin in the B-group. A ferquently used substance nowadays to absorb utraviolet light is oxybenzone. These substances absorbe mainly the UVB-light which causes sun-burns and the ordinary skin cancers like basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. They do not however so well protect against the UVA light that do not cause the mentioned afflictions, but can cause the most dangerous cell cancer malignant melanoma.

Other substances, mostly iorganic compunds, reflect the sun-rays, especially the ultraviolet radiation, for example titanium oxid and zink oxide. These also give protection against the UVA-light.

The best sun-screen products contain both absorbing compunds and reflecting compunds.

The effectiveness of sun-screen is measured by the concept SPF or sun protection factor. When measured one applies a product in an amount of 2 mg per square centimeter and measures how many times longer time it takes to get symptoms from sun-burn with the product on than without the product. The concepts mailnly measures the effect of UVB, not the effect of UVA. Therefore it is not wise to let only the SPF of a product determine how long time you expose your skin to the sun. When you apply the product, it is neither allways in the amount of 2 mg per cm2. It can be less so that you get less protection.


Sun-shine or ultraviolet light used for treatment of diseases

Sunshine used in a controlled manner is beneficial to people suffering from psoriais. By psoriasis the cells in the skin divides too fast so that thickened areas develop, so-called plaque. The ultraviolet light slows down the cell divisions to more normal levels.

Ultraviolet radiation made artificially is also used against psoriasis. One either uses UVA in combination with drugs that sensitivizes the skin (psoralen) or UVB alone. UVA alone has no effect, but the combination UVA and psoralen is often prefered because UVA is beilieved to cause fewer side effects like burning.

By Knut Holt



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Serums against accute or recent injury to the skin due to eccessive sun exposure - Through this link you can also find more products for this purpose with varying combinations of effects.

After Sun Face Body Moisturizer

After Sun Face Body Moisturizer

After Sun Face Body Moisturizer 4 Ounces Cream

Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother 6 fl oz: K

Aloe & Linden Flower After Sun Soother 6 fl oz: K

After a long day in the sun, your skin needs some extra attention. This intensely hydrating, quick-absorbing face and body lotion is packed with natural aloe vera and linden extract to soothe. Coconut oil, bee pollen and glycerin nourish your skin and help replenish its natural moisture. Your sun-kissed skin will feel revived, soft and healthy, naturally. Featured Ingredient Linden Extract Linden trees grow in the temperate climates of Europe, Asia and North America. Commonly known as lime, the flower of the plant is the part that is most frequently used in medical preparations.

Kona Coffee After-Sun Lotion 8.5 fl oz: K

Kona Coffee After-Sun Lotion 8.5 fl oz: K

Exotic and aromatic, the natural acids in coffee soften skin and revitalize circulation, while caffeine and EGCG help neutralize free-radical damage due to sun over-exposure. Tropical emollients hydrate and nourish for a healthy, radiant glow. 72% certified organic ingredients A tropical get-away is yours anytime. Relax and rejuvenate your body and mind with Alba Hawaiian Spa Treatments. Our spa-quality products, with ingredients that are indigenous to the tropics, evoke positive images, memories and emotions characteristic of a tropical retreat. Formulas are rich to the touch, intoxicating to the sense of smell and soothing to the skin reflecting the beauty, vitality and spirit of the Hawaiian Islands. Ideal for those seeking spa-quality formulas for everyday use at home.


A good cream to strengthen the structure of your skin and clear away chronic injuries and aging changes - Good against wrincles, furrows miscoloration, inelasticity and other aging signs that is a result of sun exposure and other impacts during many years.


A good cream against edema and dark shadows around the eyes, and against tiredness and aging changes in the skin around the eyes Apply this product at the skin around the eyes some weeks or a few months, and the signs of aging will gradually be reduced permanently.

Feel and look younger, reverce aging - a good secretion of growth hormone that is well syncronized with the need at every time is essential for the intergrity of all the tissues in the body and for a yourthfull ratio between fat deposits and muscular tissue. This product is formulated to help the body increase the production of growth hormone. This way it may help to increase the thickness and youthfulness of the skin, improve muscular intactness, reduce the amount of body fat, give a youthful fat distribution and increase your general vitality.


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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is nutritional in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.