Picture yourself on a warm spring day. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping. Finally winter is gone and It’s like a dirty, thick smog has retreated from your mind and your heart. You wondered why you had ever felt so dull.

This is how I always feel come spring!

Why is that sunshine has such a powerful effect on us? And why is it that a lot of people undeniably tend to have better skin and less acne in the summer time?

What are the health benefits of catching some rays?

  • It improves digestion, making your healthy diet work better for you.
  • It enhances liver and kidney function, meaning they can detoxify more waste before it comes out through your skin.
  • It can penetrate your pores and prevent infection from bacteria, mold, and viruses, including those on your face.
  • It normalizes blood pressure, as well as blood sugar – very important for acne prevention!
  • It enhances the immune system by increasing the count of white blood cells.
  • It has that supernatural power to cheer us up and prevent depression, thereby reducing stress, and in turn reducing acne.
  • It causes Vitamin D to be produced underneath the skin. Vitamin D has extensive benefits throughout the body such as absorption of calcium, prevention of cancers, and increased endorphins in the brain.
  • It can turn off melatonin production during the day, which means you get more of this powerful antioxidant when you need it most – when you’re asleep.

So as you can see, if you aren’t getting sunshine, you definitely want to be spending some time outdoors.

This may seem counterproductive to what they always tell you about the sun causing cancer and that you should slather yourself with sunscreen from head to toe and not be allowed out of your house. Hallelujah, you say, now you can lie all day in the sun and head back to the tanning bed.

Well, not exactly, but you should aim to get about 10 to 20 minutes of direct sunlight on you and your face every day. It only takes that much exposure to produce plenty of Vitamin D. This doesn’t mean with creams and sunscreens and moisturizers… in fact, creams like this actually block the sun from making the vitamin in your skin. You want this sun exposure to be pure and unadulterated to get all the benefits.

Just wear a hat!

I actually try to avoid wearing sunscreen if I can help it anyway… all it is is a bunch of chemicals seeping into your body. I will wear it if I am spending a whole day at the beach, otherwise I just try to get small bits of sunshine and lots of shade to avoid burns (although the healthier you eat, the less sensitive you are to sunburn in general).

So this is all fine and dandy, you say, but it’s winter!

I know… I live in Canada. I am aware.

Okay, so there is only so much within our control. We can take Vitamin D supplementation to help us through the winter. There is also the possibility of investing in a sun lamp, but I have personally never looked into this option.

But most importantly, we can then make sure we are getting outside as soon as possible come spring, so that we can take full advantage of the mysterious benefits sent so kindly from this vital orb in the sky.

How much sunshine are you getting? Do you live in a wintery place? Work indoors? Wear too much sunscreen? Share your thoughts below!

photo by Kevin Lablanco