Title: How Much Sun is Too Much? – The Pros & Cons of Sun Exposure

How Much Sun is Too Much? – The Pros & Cons of Sun Exposure


How much sun is too much?  Doctors and health professionals have been telling you for years that sun exposure is bad.  Lately, we have been hearing from professionals that we need sun exposure.

What’s the truth about sun exposure?  Let’s set the record straight about sun exposure and whether or not it’s good for you.

Solar Radiation

Solar radiation is made up of the following.

  • Infrared rays provide heat and make up about 49% of solar radiation. This radiation is not particularly harmful in most cases.  IR only has enough energy to start molecules moving and not enough energy to break them apart or otherwise cause damage.
  • Visible rays provide light and represent about 43% of the energy received from the sun.
  • Ultraviolet rays represent about 7% of the sun’s rays.
  • Other rays represent about 1% of the total.

Benefits of Solar Radiation

The sun is the primary energy source that drives our environment.  It is directly or indirectly responsible for aspects of life such as photosynthesis and maintenance of the planet’s temperature in a range that supports human life.

Sun exposure increases your body’s natural production of Vitamin D.  Vitamin D is essential to stronger teeth and bones, lower blood pressure, improved brain function, weight loss and better quality sleep.

With all these benefits why do some medical professionals advise against too much sun exposure?

Dangers of Sun Exposure

Ultraviolet radiation which accounts for a small percent of the sun’s radiation is responsible for most of the damage caused by the sun. Ultraviolet rays are the culprit that can damage your eyes and skin.

It is why you want the best car sun shade to protect your automobile.

UVA radiation can cause premature skin ageing and skin cancer.  It can cause eye and immune system problems.

UVB radiation causes sunburn, darkening and thickening of the outer layer of the skin, melanoma and other types of skin cancer.  It is why you wear sun protection clothes when you are going to be outside for any length of time.

Prolonged exposure to the sun can be harmful to your health. The Australian Government had so much concern about the damages of sun exposure that in the 1980s they instituted the slip, slop, slap campaign to help reduce the incidence of skin cancer in the country.

How Much Sun?

The sun has beneficial aspects and negative aspects.  It warms the earth and makes it habitable for human life.  It provides the energy for photosynthesis which supports every single person on the planet.  Exposure to the sun lifts mood, increases Vitamin D production, and can help you sleep.

On the other hand, too much exposure leads to premature ageing and possible forms of cancer.

The impact of the sun will vary depending on where you are.  If you are in the tropics the sun’s rays are much stronger, than if you are further north.

It is generally agreed that you should get 15 – 20 minutes of sun per day.  That is enough to get all the available health benefits, without risking the adverse health effects of too much sun exposure.

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