Skin has been an obsession of mankind kind the dawn of humanity. Fair skin used to be all the rage and people took to bleaching their skin and powdering it so it looked unblemished and perfect. The idea was that those with perfectly white skin had no reason to toil under the sun or do hard labour, perpetuating their status and prestige. However, that changed with the wave of office workers, where those who had to work constantly are often pale and sickly, whereas those with better social standing or financial security are able to travel more often and hence, have a healthy glow.
Chasing the sun
This has beget new generations of sun-chasers, who sunbathed at every opportunity, subjecting their skin to harmful UV rays in the pursuit of looking healthy and rich.
There is a study that shows higher levels of serotonin in those who were often exposed to the sun. Adversely, those who receive less exposure to sunlight were more likely to be depressed. This is dubbed the “winter blues” effect.
Technology and sunbeds
Those who yearned for better results often resorted to tanning beds, not knowing that they are putting their health at risk – or perhaps, not caring.
A self-confessed tanning addict, Lauren McMullan told BBC that she regretted her addiction which caused her to develop skin cancer. Skin cancer can happen with any level of sun exposure, therefore it is helpful to get skin checks every once in awhile just to be on the safe side.
Cause of aging and early wrinkles
Another side effect of the sun is causing premature wrinkling of the skin. This irreversible damage is caused by UV rays. It can easily be avoided with the use of an SPF15 sunscreen or going sun tanning at the right time.
Check the time
The best time to get a dose of sunlight is not when the sun is at its highest point. The sun at noon is much more harmful than the sunlight you get in the mornings before 10AM. It is best to avoid the sun after that, and pick up some more rays in the evening, after 4PM.
The perfect balance
So, too much sun gives you skin cancer and too little sun give you depression – when, then, is it enough? The first thing is to find out what levels of UV exposure is safe. Many people do not associate the sun with skin damage, except when the sun actually burns their skin. This in itself is a warning sign that one has been overly exposed to the sun.
Wearing protective clothing and applying sunscreen when spending prolonged amounts of time under the sun is advised. This will help protect your skin from harmful UV rays while allowing you to get a healthy dose of serotonin – the happy hormone.