One of the main reasons people move to Spain is definately the warm climate and beautiful sunshine. The Spanish take the sun for granted, in fact moaning about the heat is the hot topic of conversation for many during the sweltering summer months here. Valencia has on average over two thousand hours of sunshine per year, so that’s a lot of sunshine to moan about!
Sunlight can actually be very good for your health and the sun has been used as a ‘therapy’ for many generations. Ancient cultures have used sunlight to heal and promote wellbeing.
There’s nothing better than feeling the warmth of the sun on your face, it makes you feel more positive about your day ahead. Here are a few facts promoting the benefits of the sun’s rays:
Sunlight exposure creates vitamin D in our bodies, it is how we absorb the minerals phosphorous and calcium from our diet. These minerals mean that we form healthy teeth and bones. A short period of time in the sun, for example just 10 minutes for a light skinned people without sun cream should be enough time to encourage this process. Maybe slightly longer for those with darker skin but beware of the heat of the sun between 10am and 4pm, which is the hottest part of the day.
Sunlight is great for skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis and even acne. The sun also acts as a great disinfectant as it kills bad bacteria in wounds which aids the healing process.
Sunlight can cure depression. When our bodies are deprived of sunlight for long periods of time, it has a negative affect on our wellbeing. Seasonal affective disorder or (SAD) is a common form of depression affecting people during those darker winter months without sunlight or those who work long hours in office buildings.
Sunlight builds the immune system. White blood cells (lymphocytes) increase during exposure to the sun and defend the body against infection.
However, it is very easy to burn your skin and below are a few tips from us at Azahar Properties on how to stay safe in the sun this summer.
One of the best ways to prevent your skin from burning is to wear a barrier – quite simply lose, cool clothing and a large sun hat. Oh, and don’t forget the big sunglasses, as well as looking glamorous they help to protect your eyes from the strong UV rays. Or men, wrap around shades are best if you want to stay protected and look good at the same time.
Sit in the shade as often as you can. Take a large umbrella to the beach or pool side and make sure you’re not sitting in the direct sunlight.
You can protect yourself from the sun from the inside out: The best foods for natural sun protection are the dark, colourful fruits and vegetables that contain carotenoids and are rich in anti-oxidants.
These foods are not just good for your skin, but great for your eyes, immune system and cardiovascular health. They are easy to spot as they are so colourful for example: carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, dark green veggies/salads, citrus fruits and I forgot to mention green tea and dark chocolate, so it’s not all bad.
As well as following a healthy diet, you can also use natural oils to protect your skin. Red raspberry seed oil has been claimed to be one of the best seed oil sunscreens. It apparantly has a sun protector factor of between 28-50 and blocks the unwanted UV rays. Although be careful when using a home made suncream as you will never know the true SPF. If you are unsure, it may be best to stick with a bought one and remember to apply it every few hours.
Coconut oil moisturises the skin, so if you do have a tan that you’d like to keep, it smooths and keeps the skin blemish free. It is a great anti-inflammatory and also promotes the production of the all important vitamin :D.
Always remember to protect your hair and scalp too. Your hair, scalp and follicles take the brunt of the heat so use your head and look after your hair and scalp in the summer. A quick spray of suntan lotion is great for keeping your hair moisturised and protected at the same time.
The chlorine from the swimming pool and the constant bombardment of salt and sand from day trips to the beach turns your hair into straw if you’re not careful. For those who like to use the sun to lighten their hair, try and avoid any hair products that contain lemon or peroxide as these can damage the hair further.
Protecting the top of your head is especially important for men too, who think that creams and lotions are not for them. Burning of the scalp or the sensitive area on the top of the ears can be extremely painful not to mention dangerous, so if you’re bloke isn’t into creams at least make him wear a hat!
Never sit for long periods of time in the sun as this could heighten the risk of skin cancer. Burning your skin will also mean premature aging and deep wrinkles on the face and neck which unless you have a lot of money cannot be reversed. Of course the best remedy is prevention, but sunburn can occur even if you think you’ve spent the day avoiding it.
Sunburn can take anything from 4 to 6 hours to appear and when it strikes it’s pretty nasty. A cool press and a cool shower or bath with baking soda can relieve the itching. Also, the luscious gel from the aloe vera plant can take the redness out of your sunburn which luckily most of us have growing in our back gardens (or if not Mercadona sell a great aftersun with aloe vera).
So, it appears that the sun has an array of health advantages and it seems that if you look after yourself in the sun and the sun should look after you!