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Sunlight: nature’s good health vitamin

Sunlight; nature’s good health vitamin.

If you really want to be ‘sunsmart’ this summer then don’t be afraid to get some sunshine; you need it for good health as the vitamin D your body produces has loads of positive benefits.

Summer is fast approaching and with it, the usual seasonal warnings about the dangers of the increasing UV levels outdoors. The Indoor Tanning Association of New Zealand (INTANZ) offers a different warning - to be wary of any advice that suggests that you totally cover up or stay out of the sun. In doing so you just may be doing your health more harm than good by denying your body the essential UV light (sunlight) that it needs to maintain good health.

INTANZ is putting a call out to the public to stop being afraid of the sun and to start respecting the sun thereby you’ll be able to spend more time enjoying the many health benefits that a bit of sensible sunlight can provide.

A common misunderstanding is that sunlight causes melanoma. This overly simplified statement is as true as saying that water causes drowning! As a country of fond water lovers, we know that drowning is more a question of how we behave in and around the water – not the actual water itself.

Sunburn, not sunlight, is the number one contributing factor to melanoma. The key to protecting yourself against melanoma is avoiding sunburn. Avoiding the sun to avoid sunburn denies your body of the health benefits which many scientists now believe causes more harm than good.

Sunlight, which can come from the outdoor sun or a sunbed, enables your body to produce Vitamin D3. Deficiency of Vitamin D3 may lead to chronic health problems such as Multiple Sclerosis, Schizophrenia, Type 1 Diabetes, Rickets, Osteoporosis, Heart Failure and Cardiovascular Disease. Ironically, evidence now shows that higher exposure to sunlight, therefore increasing your natural vitamin D3 can increase survival rates from melanoma. Sunlight also reduces the risk of many other cancers such as breast cancer, colon cancer and prostate cancer.

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Sunbeds give a controlled amount of UV light exposure so they can be a great alternative to sunlight especially in NZ where our sunlight is very harsh. Sunbeds can be a useful tool to maintain your vitamin D3 levels all year round and also at this time of the year to kick start your tan to provide a level of natural protection before going outside for the summer.

INTANZ advises anyone who wants to develop a pre summer base tan by using sunbeds to make sure their local tanning provider is a quality establishment. If they are a member of INTANZ you can be sure they will take good care of your skin and start your tanning program off gently to allow your skin to gradually develop a tan.

Sunlight is essential to good health and yet is also dangerous if the body is exposed to excessive levels that cause sunburn. New Zealanders need to stop being afraid of the sun and start respecting the sun A little bit of common sense goes a long way so this summer never sunburn; respect the sun with moderate responsible exposure; know that a tan is natural and healthy so go out and enjoy the wonderful sunlight.

The motto of INTANZ is ‘sunlight – do it right’


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