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Is sunlight addictive?

July 13, 2011
  • By Kay Cahill Allison, Former Editor, Harvard Health

About the Author

photo of Kay Cahill Allison

Kay Cahill Allison, Former Editor, Harvard Health

Kay Cahill was editor of Harvard Health Publishing’ Special Health Reports from 1998 to 2012. Before joining Harvard Health, she created content for a variety of media including newspapers, television, books, radio, and electronic publishing. She … See Full Bio
View all posts by Kay Cahill Allison


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Heather Smith
January 4, 2012

This is an interesting article, sunlight is good for the body, it gives vitamin D but if over exposed, it could lead into cancer,so we must moderate our exposure to sunlight.Thanks for posting this.
December 26, 2011

What a pity this article still took an anti-sun message.

December 21, 2011

This is a very interesting post
Thank you

November 25, 2011

I have never been a ‘sun lover’ and have actively avoided sun exposure. I have a typical north European skin type and had a large basal cell carcinoma on my forhead which has now thankfully been treated. I recently read and article from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, that said “people who use sunscreens don’t necessarily have fewer skin cancers” which was a surprise!

November 21, 2011

The skin is a mirror of your internal health. The glow on your face reflects good health. The Lady Hospitals takes a step forward to provide good health internally and externally

November 2, 2011

I’m going to be real upfront here. I’m a guy who needs help keeping his face clear and clean. What the heck I need all your girls‘ help. What do you girls eat, wear to keep your skin so beautiful and clean? I just want to be more attractive to girls. My face is not that bad actually I just have a few blemishes here and there nothing serious. What do you girls recommend to wash your face, any soaps, food, any tips please.[url removed by moderator]

October 3, 2011

Totally agree with this post. What amazes me is that people who already have serious conditions such as eczema, previous skin cancer treatments, or psoriasis still sunbathe when they know the risks! Thoughts on how to educate better?
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October 1, 2011

I think there is a lot of people out there that do not pay a lot of attention to their skin, or think anything about skin care at all. I just read where skin bleaching, and people attempting to lighten their skin color is increasing all over the world, including places like China, Japan, and India. In Jamaica it has become such a problem that the government started an educational campaign that basically says if you are going to do it then learn how to lighten skin naturally instead of using potentially dangerous skin bleaching chemicals. I know anything to do with skin color is going to be a highly sensitive issue but I think these people are doing it for all the wrong reasons.

Hikari Kisugi
September 20, 2011

I keep a lot fresh vegetables and fruits included in my everyday diet since they are stuffed with vitamins. Now why do you would like vitamins? Because they’re essential both for your health and skin condition. It is found that Vitamins are effective to heal skin aging and keeps you skin well protected against external and internal harmful elements that constantly makes an attempt to ruin your skin.

Vitamin D is one in all the most dedicated warriors that facilitate your skin to stay protected below its protect. Now here I can speak concerning totally different types of skin conditions and the way Vitamin D can solve these issues. [URL removed by moderator]

September 3, 2011

In tropical country, do not soak yourself under the sun between this time: 9:00 – 3:00.. The UV concentration is very high.

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Shawn Collins
August 31, 2011

It is very addictive because it gives an immediate satisfaction. Not only that, being tan is the fad right now but beware of the harmful side-effect like skin carcinoma.

Shawn Collins
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Matt Carter
August 31, 2011

Why sunlight is addictive? Why it is like white people wants to darker on the other hand people with fair complexion wants to be whiter? And so the story goes. When doing this, be sure you have all the SPF creams to about too much skin damage.

Matt Carter
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August 31, 2011

Really enjoyed your blog on the dangers of sun exposure. Funny how times change – white skin used to be the all the fashion because having a tan showed that you were poor because you were working outside. Now having a tan shows that you’ve got the time and money to fly off to exotic places. People need to be properly educated how to look after their skin properly. I’ve written a few blogs about natural sunscreens and why we all should be taking better care of our skin in general by using products which are natural and toxin free. [url removed by moderator] Thanks again for the artilce.

Alfian Harris
August 26, 2011

The article is useful, how about the conditions in the tropical climate state?
whether the sun in the morning until 7:30 AM pretty good for the body condition?

August 22, 2011

Though it over exposure in sunlight can cause cancer it can give you the skin color you want and also it has vitamins. 😀

August 22, 2011

vit d deficiency is now being related to cancers-is it really correlated , its a very nicely done article,Thanks

August 17, 2011

I have read elsewhere that vitamin D deficiency is a major cause of many illnesses, including cancer. I truly enjoy being in the sun and, as a runner, often get over 30 minutes per day of sun exposure. As a result, I stay fairly tanned most of the time. (I live in central Texas, so lots of sun and heat).

At the same time, I am a Rosacea sufferer and sun exposure seems to exacerbate my condition. For me, it is a catch-22.
I am in my late 60s and after a life-time of sun exposure, I have not developed any serious side-effects addressed in this article. That is not to say they don’t exist, just my experience.

August 17, 2011

Seeking sunshine can be downright dangerous. As Fisher points out, the ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunshine is “the most ubiquitous and common carcinogen in the world.” Skin cancer is the most preventable form of cancer simply because we know what causes it: sunlight.

I am hearing this for the first time, I think one has to be extra careful not to get skin cancer. Thanks for this educative article.

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DHEA Labosante
August 7, 2011

The feelings of pleasure we get from sunlight may be part of a survival mechanism to get us the vitamin D we need.

July 28, 2011

I also don’t agree with the post. Peoples works in the sunlight as workers or others has strong bodies because of Vitamin D. And can face the extra heat as sun easily. Extra heat may cause many problems as toe nail fungus.
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July 26, 2011

However this topic is very unique. I have never read this kind of stuff.

July 26, 2011

i do not agree with this view that sunlight is addictive how can it be possible sulight is a natural source of vitmain D and because everyone goes out he or she consumes vitamin D automatically so there is nothing to worry about it.

July 21, 2011

Sun can affect your skin but it is also helpful for Vitamin D.
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July 18, 2011

People still don’t seem to mind shriviling up like a prune witj wrinkles if they can just get a little tanner?

david carter
July 16, 2011

Everything in moderation – we all need a certain amount of UV exposure but of course everything must be in moderation


[URL removed by moderator]

July 15, 2011

Of course sunlight is “addictive”! And of course this can be a problem if you don’t know the facts about tanning and how to avoid any potential damage from UV-light.
The “sun-scare” lobby has been very successful but their goal is not to make us more healthy. Their goal is to increase the sales of sunscreen cosmetics.
Read my report “30 years of Sun-scare” and find out who wants to “keep you in the dark”.

July 14, 2011

Lack of sun leading to lack of vitamin D causes significantly higher risk of getting one of any 18 different cancers including melanoma skin cancer.

Be careful of what you say Kay Allison. You could potentially cause far worse damage than what you intend to prevent.

Cars Dublin
July 14, 2011

This was a very interesting post. I do feel so much better when the sun is shining, it lifts your spirits and is addictive, like you say like other things we crave.
I have a child with albinism he is on the low spectrum but we do have to be careful about sun exposure and when we are away I insist that he wears a sun protective rash vest. However reading that suncream can be shown to be ineffective is very worrying for me considering I cant cover his face and legs all the time.

Birgit Calhoun
July 13, 2011

Sorry! The whole population

Birgit Calhoun
July 13, 2011

It’s been a no-brainer since Vitamin D was first discovered that outdoors is good for your health. What is absolutely and near criminal is the lack of the medical establishment’s understanding of the importance of Vitamin D. It is even more troubling that the finer points of this matter, i.e. the role of the kidney and the role of Vitamin D receptors in general, are ignored. Recently a Japanese study on mice showed that 1,25 (OH)2 D3 seems to flush out beta-amyloid from the brain thus potentially preventing Alzheimer’s. I could go on. I have personal experience fighting in favor of more Vitamin D. Only in the last few years has it become possible to test for Vitamin D. Why is it taking so long to see the benefits of testing the who population?

George D
July 13, 2011

What a pity this article still took an anti-sun message. “Best choice, stay in shade”. Bodies crave because it is absolutely necessary, and when they’ve had enough, most people know. Cultural messages telling people to go brown have been a problem, but the anti-sun message has been too successful. D deficiency is on the rise and nearing epidemic proportions, even in states like Florida.

Sickness associated with Vitamin D deficiency was one of the reasons why it was unfailingly prescribed as a cure until the mid 20th century. There are possibly other benefits to sunlight exposure – a raft of chemical reactions are likely to be produced by exposure to light.

There is an increasing body of evidence linking insufficient sunlight exposure and vitamin D deficiency with cancers.

October 27, 2011

Quite agree with you. If you don’t go out and let the sunlight produces Vitamin D for you, your immune system will become weaker.

However, I don’t know that sunlight can be addictive like this. Although these evidents seems to be true, I can’t think that how people can feel like using endorphin when they sit under the sun?

Best Regards,
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Commenting has been closed for this post.

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