On the Bright Side
Exposure to sunlight allows our bodies to produce Vitamin D. For most white skinned people, up to 10-15 minutes exposure of face, forearms and hands to our New England sunlight is enough to maintain vitamin D levels. Those with dark or heavily pigmented skin may benefit from more moderate sun exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.
But while the sun does make us feel good and can ward off seasonal depression, we can also get our necessary Vitamin D from food and medication. We cannot get enough vitamin D from the sun unless we want to look like a strip of bacon. Prolonged exposure to UV radiation is bad for all skin types.
On the Dark Side
Skin exposed to UV radiation can develop freckles and rashes. Short-term excessive exposure to UV radiation causes sunburn – reddening, pain and in severe cases blistering and even second degree burns.
Over time, UV radiation exposure, whether or not associated with sunburn, accelerates skin aging making it look dry, wrinkled, loose and dull and causes pigment changes commonly known as ‘age spots’. It can also cause changes in the skin cells, which may lead to skin cancer.