​What we know about the effects of UV light exposure on the human body

(from Juzeniene A and Moan J. Beneficial effects of UV radiation other than via vitamin D production. Dermato Endocrinology, 2012.)

  • Enhances mood and energy. tanners commonly report feeling more relaxed than non-tanners. One study demonstrated that β-endorphins increase after UV exposure, which would explain this association.

  • Treats skin diseases. These diseases include treatment of lupus vulgaris, psoriasis, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis and localized scleroderma.

  • Ultraviolet light reduces inflammation in the ski.(Psoriasis Association 2016).

  • Ultraviolet light directly reduces itch and has an anti-inflammatory effect (National Eczema Association 2016).

  • Relieves pain in fibromyalgia. UV exposure seems to have potential to reduce pain in patients with fibromyalgia compared to no exposure.

  • Skin barrier functions. Skin exposed to UVB and UVA is more resistant to primary irritants.

  • Protects from disease beyond vitamin D? In an animal model, researchers discovered that UV exposure is more protective and suppressive against multiple sclerosis than just vitamin D alone.

  • Better sleep. It is believed that the more light one is exposed to during the day, the sooner melatonin production occurs at night. Melatonin is involved in the sleep-wake schedule and when released, makes the body drowsier and cooler.

Prevention of Osteoporosis

(from Arthritis Foundation of Western Australia)

Vitamin D is essential for bone health, because it helps:

  • Increase the absorption of calcium and phosphorous from the stomach

  • Regulate the amount of calcium in the blood

  • Strengthen the skeleton.

To get enough sunlight to produce vitamin D, a person needs to expose their hands, face and arms (around 15% of body surface) to sunlight for about 6 - 8 minutes, 4 - 6 times per week for moderately fair people).

Older people need exposure to sunlight 5-6 times a week. Dark skinned people need longer exposure times of around 15 minutes.