Like all things, the point is not to overdo it. It also applies to tanning, which until recently was mistakenly demonized. The fashion of overprotecting oneself from the sun doesn’t seem to be as healthy as it seemed. The experts confirm that the vitamin D deficiency which many people suffer from is due to their low exposure to natural sunlight. Of course, you should not exaggerate or get burned so as not to increase the risk of skin cancer. We talked about it with Dr. Antonio Costanzo, head of Dermatology at the Humanitas Clinical Institute.
Sunbathing is good, just don’t exaggerate
That’s good news, not just for sunbathing fanatics. Sunbathing is good for your health. So no more alarmism: dermatologists are the first to point out the benefits of sun exposure on many fronts, from the heart, the immune system, up to depression.
Basically, the time is over when the sunbathing cult, as a sign of health, had been accused by the health experts and the diaphanous complexion, obtained thanks to the protections from 50 upwards, had become fashionable again. If the total shielding is no longer what specialists recommend, it is good to remember, however, that too much sun can increase the risk of getting skin cancer. As always, therefore, the virtue lies in the middle.
How much to protect the children from the sun?
The most dangerous burns are those taken at a young age, when the cells are still very young and sensitive. And those repeated over time on the same area. It is therefore important to continue to protect the kids’ skin, much more sensitive and delicate skin with high shielding. For adults too, however, the rule is that the sun, caught without protection, ages and stains the skin.
However, you don’t need to get too shielded, if you don’t want to take the risk of not accumulating enough vitamin D, the one that needs the sun’s energy to be produced.
Vitamin D deficiency: More fragile bones and diseases at risk
Vitamin D deficiency is a common problem. The right amount would be 40 units (between 20 and 25 nanograms per millilitre). Most people, however, have it below 20 units, which means that their bones and teeth are more fragile and they are more exposed to imbalances including cardiovascular disease, depression and infertility.
“Among my patients there is not one that has vitamin D levels in the norm,” confirmed Antonio Costanzo, head of Dermatology at the Humanitas Institute in Rozzano. “I don’t know how much it depends on the fact that I know the thresholds have not been raised, but they are all below the recommended values”.
“The sun affects the immune system in two ways – said Costanzo – through vitamin D promotes the production of peptides, chemicals that have a powerful antimicrobial action, a thousand times greater than penicillin: not only kill bacteria, but the immune system says “warning, there is something wrong”.
The sun allied with the immune system
The sun is also one of the best allies of the immune system, involved in the growth of tumors. This discovery was recently made by a team of researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center, who stated that, thanks to its so-called “blue fraction”, the sun can penetrate deeper into the dermis. “There are so many T lymphocytes, the sentinel cells essential for the immune system – continued Costanzo -. Last year the study by American researchers, appeared in Nature scientific report, showed that the blue component of the solar spectrum increases the ability of T lymphocytes to move and their production of hydrogen peroxide: hydrogen peroxide is hydrogen peroxide, therefore an antibacterial. Exposure to the blue light of the solar spectrum could be a way to counteract infections. “Another research that appeared in Science has shown that exposure to sunlight significantly lowers the blood pressure – concluded the specialist -, while the anti-hypertensive effect of the sun has also been confirmed by some experiments of the dermatologist Richard Weller of the University of Edinburgh, reported by the journal New Scientist”.