If you're anything like me, you'll have a tendency to gravitate outside at the first sight or sense of sunshine. I am a sun baby through and through; I could basque in it - literally soak it into every pore of my body - until it goes down. When it's not sunny, I feel low, but as it rises day in day out, I always tend to rise with it (regarding my sleeping patterns are as they should be and not disrupted by stress or other factors).
It fascinates me why we are all (mostly) drawn to and addicted to the Sun. It enlivens the senses; it governs many natural bodily functions, such as sweating, hydration, metabolism and mental wellbeing; and it permits more time outside, meaning more fresh air, more nature and more freedom out of the constant confines of an office and / or home. Our modern lifestyles are predominantly based inside, exposed to artificial lights and screens, and it's thought that these conditions may encourage and even worsen Seasonal Affective Disorder. So, seriously, make a conscious effort to get outside a few times a day (that doesn't include your commute).
The sun triggers the production of endorphins, which just make us feel good.
Vitamin D. You all know about that.
The Sun is energising. Its rays and the frequency of its energy is absorbed into our cells and fuels our internal systems. In other words, it boosts the metabolism and feeds our internal processes.
A surge in metabolic power can have domino effects on nearly everything else going on within. From how we break down energy from food and how strong our immune systems are to the behaviour of brain chemicals and other substances that contribute to mood, weight, energy and more.
It increases positivity and elevate low moods. As well as endorphins, we produce higher levels of serotonin when exposed to more sunlight, a chemical / neurotransmitter believed to help regulate mood, appetite and digestion, sleep, memory, and sexual desire and function. It is known to reduce anxiety, stress and depression. Think of it as Sunlight Therapy.
It brings people together more. When the Sun is out - especially in the UK as it's so rare - there is a stronger sense of community and connection. People gather more frequently to and generally spend longer together, as the days are longer and lighter.
Sunlight can also help regulate sleeping patterns. With more exposure to light, the sleep hormone melatonin is more efficient and we tend to produce more of it, meaning we sleep better and at more natural times, which may mean we're able to wake more easily too.
Over exposure to the Sun has been linked with accelerated aging.
Over exposure to the Sun has also been linked with risk of developing skin cancer.
In warm, humid climates, dehydration is a common side effect of too much time spent in the Sun. This includes dry skin as well as internal thirst. Drink more than you usually would and moisturise like you mean it.
Overuse of sun protection can lead to greasy, oily skin and clogged pores (choose a natural one, for this reason if nothing else).
Below are a few summertime beauty products I've tried and loved or have been recommended recently; most are natural, organic, free of parabens and other nasty chemicals and / or ethical in some way, but some are a little guiltier. I use a combination, depending on where I am, what my skin is doing and what kind of skincare support I need in each present moment.
A Few Skincare Brands You Should Know About
+ Directly after exposure to the sun and / or if you have light burns or any sensitivity, try to avoid heavy creams or oily products and opt for lighter, more cooling treatments.
Cucumber slices or natural cucumber water
Pure Organic / Raw / Manuka Honey face mask