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Article: International Sun Day: its positive and negative effects on the skin

Journée Internationale du Soleil : ses effets positifs et négatifs sur la peau

International Sun Day: its positive and negative effects on the skin

You may not have known it, but this week is International Sun Day ! Yes, celebrated annually on May 3, this day promulgated by UNEP (United Nations Environment Program) is an opportunity to raise public awareness of the benefits but also of the risks linked to overexposure to the sun. So, today, we're telling you more about the benefits of the sun for our health, both physical and mental, while remaining aware of the importance of protecting ourselves.


  1. What are the benefits of the sun?
  2. Understanding the negative impacts of the sun

I) What are the benefits of the sun?

A) The benefits of vitamin D on our skin

The sun is the main source of vitamin D for our body. Often called the “sunshine vitamin”, it is essential for the health of our skin. When ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun reach the skin, they trigger the synthesis of vitamin D from cholesterol in skin cells.

Vitamin D is fundamental for skin regeneration: it helps maintain and strengthen the skin's barrier function by protecting wounds against inflammation and infections. Indeed, it plays an important role in regulating the production of skin cells: it allows it to act on the production of keratinocytes , which are the cells that form the upper layer of the epidermis. Its regenerative properties allow it to promote wound healing by stimulating the production of new skin tissue. It thus accelerates the healing process and reduces the risk of complications associated with skin lesions.

The sunshine vitamin strengthens the immune system and helps control the inflammatory symptoms associated with these conditions, providing welcome relief to those affected. Vitamin D is recognized for its effectiveness in reducing many skin conditions (acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis, etc.). Indeed, this vitamin helps strengthen the immune system and reduce skin inflammation, thus helping to relieve and control certain skin diseases.

In addition to its action on specific skin conditions, it also acts by regulating the production of melanin (the pigment responsible for skin color) through melanocytes. By regulating melanin production, vitamin D helps even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of age spots, providing brighter, more radiant skin.

Finally, thanks to its antioxidant power, vitamin D helps prevent the formation of fine lines and wrinkles, protecting the skin against damage caused by free radicals and thus preserving its youth and vitality.

B) The energizing effect of the sun

The benefits of the sun go well beyond vitamin D, simple exposure can have beneficial effects on our mood and energy!

Indeed, its moderate exposure also stimulates the production of serotonin, a neurotransmitter often called the “happiness hormone”. Serotonin plays a key role in regulating mood, sleep and appetite, contributing to our mental and emotional well-being. Natural sunlight also acts as a powerful stimulator of the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure, motivation and reward.

When our skin is exposed to sunlight, skin cells release endorphins and dopamine in our brain, which can induce a feeling of well-being and euphoria. This dopaminergic stimulation improves our morale, our motivation and our energy on a daily basis, giving us a feeling of vitality and dynamism.

II) Understand the negative impacts of the sun

Despite its undeniable benefits, excessive exposure to the sun can have harmful consequences on our health, both on the skin level and on the risk of developing serious diseases such as skin cancer.

A) The consequences on our skin

One of the most visible consequences of excessive exposure to the sun is premature aging of the skin. The sun's ultraviolet rays, especially UVB, penetrate deep into the skin and damage the collagen and elastin fibers, responsible for its firmness and elasticity. This process of collagen breakdown leads to the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles and age spots, making the skin look dull and aged.

Additionally, prolonged exposure to UV rays can, as we all know, cause sunburn, characterized by painful inflammation of the skin, redness and blisters. Repeated sunburns also increase the risk of developing skin cancer, including basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and the dreaded melanoma.

B) Protect yourself against the harmful effects of the sun

Faced with these potential risks, it is imperative to take appropriate sun protection measures to minimize the damage caused by the sun while enjoying its benefits. Here are some essential recommendations for effective protection against the harmful effects of the sun:

  • Don't neglect sunscreen

Sun creams constitute the main protection against UV rays. It is recommended to use sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30, and apply them generously to all exposed areas of the skin approximately 15 to 30 minutes before sun exposure. It is also important to regularly reapply sunscreen every two hours, or after swimming or excessive sweating.

  • Wear suitable clothing

In addition to using sunscreen, wearing light, protective clothing constitutes an effective physical barrier against UV rays. Long clothing, wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection provide additional protection against the harmful effects of the sun, especially during the hottest hours of the day.

  • Avoid the hottest times

To prevent the harmful effects of UV rays, it is recommended to avoid exposure to the sun during the hottest hours of the day, generally between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. During these hours, UV rays are the most intense and damaging to the skin, increasing the risk of sunburn and skin damage.

By adopting these simple but effective sun protection measures, we can enjoy the benefits of the sun while minimizing the risks to our skin health. Prevention remains the key to maintaining healthy and protected skin all year round.

The sun is a true ally for our physical and mental health, stimulating the production of vitamin D, serotonin and dopamine, and thus contributing to our overall well-being. However, it is important to enjoy the sun responsibly, avoiding excessive exposure and taking necessary precautions to protect our skin from harmful UV rays. By adopting responsible behavior towards the sun, we can preserve our well-being while preserving our skin and our environment.

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