In the sunglasses business, we spend a lot of time thinking about, well, the sun. Usually that big blazing ball in the sky gets a bad rap because of its ultraviolet energy, which can be harmful to humans who don’t take precautions like wearing clothing, hats and sunnies that block out risky rays.
But how often do we hear about the healing benefits of moderate sun exposure? There are plenty of ways this extraordinary star—which holds a breathtaking 99.8 percent of our solar system’s mass—actually aids life on our planet.
Nutrition. The sun still provides the biggest natural dose of vitamin D around. But due to cultural shifts like serious sunscreen use and too much time spent indoors, up to a billion people worldwide are now considered deficient in this critical element of good health. Vitamin D is a vital gene regulator that’s tied to balancing mood, thwarting heart disease, and helping the body absorb other key nutrients like bone-saving calcium.
Healing. Sunlight and artificial light meant to mimic the sun’s potent rays have been used to treat a variety of chronic skin conditions, including psoriasis, acne and eczema, by boosting the body’s absorption of vitamin D. Additionally, sun’s powerful disinfecting properties, first identified by Nobel Prize winner Niels Finsen, were widely used in WW1 to help battle wounds heal faster.
Therapy. Sitting under artificial lights full-time at work, managing busy schedules and sabotaging outdoor time with screen time means fewer people regularly see or feel the sun. It’s well documented that deprivation of natural light, even when unintended during winter months, can lead to physiological issues such as seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and melancholy moods. Regular exposure to the sun—which we now call heliotherapy—has been associated with alleviating many mental-health issues, especially depression.
These are just a few of the sun’s benefits. It’s also been tied to lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and inflammation while boosting cancer-fighting agents, immunity and stamina. Maybe it’s time to rethink our relationship with the sun. It’s certainly not all doom and gloom.