Hello and welcome back to my doctor/nutritionist/scientific approved blog where I tell you what to do based on very little research that I conduct to be trendy. NOT.
Going outside has been a long debated topic about. It’s actually silly that I just made that statement. Shouldn’t it be simple? Shouldn’t we know the answer by now? Apparently not- the whole world still wants to be having this milked out discussion.
I think the best way to figure this out is to look at it from different sides.
On one hand, we have the very true reality of sun damage and skin cancer occurring.
On the other hand, studies have shown that people who spend little to no time outside with the sun on their skin can have severe effects.
I will lay out the information I’ve gathered, but I’ll let you know that I am in favor of protecting your skin according to your skin. I don’t believe it is a cut and dry solution. It will be different depending on what your skin is like and where you live.
My Personal Experience
When I was growing up, I was not taught to protect my skin from the sun. I’ve gotten a sunburn about 3 times in my life and that’s it. I got very tan every summer and I loved it. Being in sun made me happy! Being outside laying on a blanket in the middle of a field that’s just been trimmed to take a warm, sweet smelling cat nap was paradise.
I used to fall asleep outside in the sun all the time when I was a teen. Pool side, beach side, after school doing homework on my front porch, on a rocking chair at a cabin in the middle of the woods, in a bag chair at a campsite… I had no discrimination. Only in my later teens did I realize I would begin to be causing irreversible damage to my skin.
Experiences Around the World
A lot of cultures for centuries have been taking major precautions to protect their skin. Take the Chinese,Japanese, and Koreans, for instance. Lighter, flawless skin is everything. Their skincare regimens are all about preserving and keeping skin looking as young as possible.
Meanwhile, in America, we pack on loads of makeup and don’t take care of our skin; then, we wonder why we have such bad acne. American skincare is relatively unknown. There are thousands of brands with different missions of how they will change your skin. It really shouldn’t be rocket science, but we’ve made it so.
The Great Debate
Pros of protecting skin from the sun
Probably the most obvious pro of protecting your skin from the sun is the fact that you most likely won’t suffer lifelong skin damage or recurrent skin cancer.
It’s super easy to protect your skin, as well. Between sunscreen, long sleeves, hats, chapstick and makeup with sunscreen in it, there are lots of ways to be proactive.
Beyond that, there are lots of super tasty foods that can help your body protect itself against harsh UV rays! Dark chocolate, strawberries, kiwis, tomatoes, walnuts, watermelon and lots more have certain qualities about them, being vitamins, antioxidants, and omega 3 fatty acids that prevent cancers, promote anti-inflammation, and boost your natural collagen.
Aside from skin cancer, a big bonus of protecting your skin is that you won’t experience premature aging at the cause of baking in the sun.
Cons of protecting skin from the sun
Even though protecting your skin from the outside elements is extremely important, Vitamin D deficiencies, osteoporosis, numerous cancers, and heart health issues are just some examples of the slew of issues that can occur by protecting yourself too much from the sun.
Being deficient in vitamins is not a minor health problem. It is something everyone should take seriously. They cause things ranging from tooth sensitivity and fatigue to muscle weakness and thin, brittle, and misshapen bones.
Depression is also a serious side effect of not receiving enough sunlight. So many of us deal with or have dealt with depression one time or another. We know it’s a terrible and crippling thing to go through, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Sometimes it is not as simple as going outside to avoid depression. In fact, most times it’s not, but at the same time, spending time outside has been proven to improve your mood and even prevent depression in some cases.
One of the difficult things about depression is that it is a debilitating mental disease that can be chronic. Going outside and enjoying the outdoors might not even sound like a good or pleasant idea. It is worth it, though. If you find yourself spending days indoors and are not even appealed to going outside, I would encourage you to just do it. So much as 15 minutes a day sitting outside can do wonders.
Pros of not protecting skin from the sun
If it seems unbelievable what you read next, I would recommend that you do further research on our bodies vs the sun. When we go out into the sun and let the UV rays touch our skin, a chemical reaction occurs. Our skin transforms the rays into vitamin D3.
Our bodies need so many different vitamins, and we can’t simply supplement all of them. That would be so insanely expensive anyways! Who’s got the money or time for that?! I certainly don’t.
Cons of not protecting skin from the sun
I sound like a broken record at this point, but you can’t get around the fact that if you continuously tan in the sun or in a salon, you will experience premature aging. Skin cancers are also a huge risk you are taking.
Sunburn and blisters are evident as a danger of being out in the sun and not caring for the integrity of your skin. My husband dealt with severe burns and blisters when we visited Savannah, GA shortly after we got married. We were not used to the heat index there and we both got burned much faster than we anticipated. If you are going to the beach, please be careful. The water, the sand, and the mass of open space makes it so easy to get sun damage.
Dry, cracked skin is definitely something you should care about, if not any of the others. I don’t think anyone really wants their skin to be dry and prone to splits and tears. My skin is already like that depending on the time of year and how much water I’ve been drinking. I don’t need to give it another reason to be that way, for real!
Through my research I’ve come to the conclusion that neither is perfect in itself. There are severe risks on each hand. Like life, it’s a yin yang situation. For the good, there is always some bad, and vise versa.
Finding that happy medium will be different for everyone depending on your race, family history, and where you happen to live. If you really struggle to get outside during some months, I would seriously suggest keeping blinds and curtains open even when it’s raining out or worse. It’s still important to get whatever sunlight can peek through the clouds and rain.
If you are in an area that gets a lot of sunlight most of the year’s seasons, you have to be just as mindful. Overexposure is really easy to achieve, and for the sake of living a long life, please take care of the largest, most absorbent organ in your body.
As always, take care of your mind. Protect that precious thing in your head. Make sure you are watering, fertilizing, and giving your thoughts the sunlight it needs to bloom and grow.
Happy times in the sun, my friends!
About The Author…
Briggy (Brigetta) Jones is an easy-going, art loving boy mom and dog mom. She loves to make music with her trusty guitar, create art, cook vegan food, and write. She enjoys going to farmers markets and exploring the city of Dallas with her husband. Briggy joined The Quiet Nonsense team to focus her skills and passions into a platform to engage with her readers in a personal way. One day she hopes to have her artwork displayed all over the world.