29 doctors weighed in:

Is sunlight always harmful?

29 doctors weighed in
Dr. Karen Han
Dermatology
4 doctors agree

In brief: Appropriate exposure

To add to d deluise's response, appropriate amount of sun exposure is 5-30min twice weekly on face arms and legs without sunscreen between 10am and 3pm. The length of time depends on your skin type, and how intense the sun is.
Expose just long enough without getting red or sunburned. This can mean 5 min in the hot southern california sun, or 15 min on a foggy afternoon in san francisco.

In brief: Appropriate exposure

To add to d deluise's response, appropriate amount of sun exposure is 5-30min twice weekly on face arms and legs without sunscreen between 10am and 3pm. The length of time depends on your skin type, and how intense the sun is.
Expose just long enough without getting red or sunburned. This can mean 5 min in the hot southern california sun, or 15 min on a foggy afternoon in san francisco.
Dr. Karen Han
Dr. Karen Han
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Dr. Paige Gutheil
Family Medicine
4 doctors agree

In brief: No

It is true that exposure to harmful uv rays in excess can be harmful, but safe sun exposure can be healthy.
It is even necessary for adequate production of vitamin d by the body. Limiting sun exposure to non-peak hours of uv rays and a short period of time can help balance this.

In brief: No

It is true that exposure to harmful uv rays in excess can be harmful, but safe sun exposure can be healthy.
It is even necessary for adequate production of vitamin d by the body. Limiting sun exposure to non-peak hours of uv rays and a short period of time can help balance this.
Dr. Paige Gutheil
Dr. Paige Gutheil
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1 comment
Dr. Louis Cooper
Talk to your doctor for guidance regarding age of your child and skin coloration.
Dr. Scott Williamson
Family Medicine
3 doctors agree

In brief: No

While too much sunlight can make skin cancers more likely, sunshine (as little as 10-30 minutes each day) is needed to activate vitamin d, an essential and (due to lack of sunshine, sunscreens and obesity) often deficient vitamin in your body.
You can take vitamin d supplements, but why bother if you can get it free from the sun.

In brief: No

While too much sunlight can make skin cancers more likely, sunshine (as little as 10-30 minutes each day) is needed to activate vitamin d, an essential and (due to lack of sunshine, sunscreens and obesity) often deficient vitamin in your body.
You can take vitamin d supplements, but why bother if you can get it free from the sun.
Dr. Scott Williamson
Dr. Scott Williamson
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Dr. Karen Han
Dermatology
2 doctors agree

In brief: Not always

To add to dr. Deluise's response, current estimates are that one in five americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime.
This highlights the importance of sun protection. The following link nicely summarizes the reasons to obtain vitd from diet. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/vitamin-d/vitamin-d.

In brief: Not always

To add to dr. Deluise's response, current estimates are that one in five americans will develop skin cancer in his or her lifetime.
This highlights the importance of sun protection. The following link nicely summarizes the reasons to obtain vitd from diet. http://www.aad.org/media-resources/stats-and-facts/prevention-and-care/vitamin-d/vitamin-d.
Dr. Karen Han
Dr. Karen Han
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Dr. Kathleen Cullen
Internal Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: No

Sunlight is not always harmful.
Sunlight is required to turn cholesterol into vitamin d which is essential to bone health, mental health, blood sugar regulation, immune health , and cancer prevention.

In brief: No

Sunlight is not always harmful.
Sunlight is required to turn cholesterol into vitamin d which is essential to bone health, mental health, blood sugar regulation, immune health , and cancer prevention.
Dr. Kathleen Cullen
Dr. Kathleen Cullen
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1 comment
Dr. Jalal Zuberi
The chemical cholecalciferol (Vit D3), the vit D precursor, is similar to cholesterol.
Dr. John Kemerer
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Medications

If you have a photosensitive skin disease stay out of the sun.
Read your medication labels to see if they cause reactions with the sun and if they do stay out of the sun.

In brief: Medications

If you have a photosensitive skin disease stay out of the sun.
Read your medication labels to see if they cause reactions with the sun and if they do stay out of the sun.
Dr. John Kemerer
Dr. John Kemerer
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1 comment
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Dr. Kemerer brings up an excellent point as many medications can cause photosensitivity.
Dr. Tasleyma Sattar
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Best in moderation

Sunlight is actually good for you, in moderation.
Most skin cancers are caused by excessive sunlight exposure and sunburns. Moderate sunlight to hands and legs, three times a week, for 15 minutes at a time is very good for you. This will increase your vitamin d levels much faster than supplements would. Of course, if you have a history of skin cancer, it is best to use caution and apply sunscreen.

In brief: Best in moderation

Sunlight is actually good for you, in moderation.
Most skin cancers are caused by excessive sunlight exposure and sunburns. Moderate sunlight to hands and legs, three times a week, for 15 minutes at a time is very good for you. This will increase your vitamin d levels much faster than supplements would. Of course, if you have a history of skin cancer, it is best to use caution and apply sunscreen.
Dr. Tasleyma Sattar
Dr. Tasleyma Sattar
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Dr. Mary Ann Block
General Practice
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Not always...

We need sunlight.
Sunlight helps our bodies make vitamin d. Too much sun can increase the risk of skin cancers.

In brief: Not always...

We need sunlight.
Sunlight helps our bodies make vitamin d. Too much sun can increase the risk of skin cancers.
Dr. Mary Ann Block
Dr. Mary Ann Block
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Dr. Visalakshi Vallury
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Not always...

Exposure to sunlight is necessary to the production of vitamin d, sleep cycle regulation, mood regulation.
It can be helpful in improving psoriasis. Excessive exposure to sunlight can be harmful and be associated with development of skin cancer. The uv index is an easy way to assess risk of damage form sun exposure. The uv index for your location can be found at http://www.Epa.Gov/sunwise/uvindex.

In brief: Not always...

Exposure to sunlight is necessary to the production of vitamin d, sleep cycle regulation, mood regulation.
It can be helpful in improving psoriasis. Excessive exposure to sunlight can be harmful and be associated with development of skin cancer. The uv index is an easy way to assess risk of damage form sun exposure. The uv index for your location can be found at http://www.Epa.Gov/sunwise/uvindex.
Dr. Visalakshi Vallury
Dr. Visalakshi Vallury
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Dr. Kenneth Adler
Family Medicine
1 doctor agrees

In brief: It depends.

Lots of skin exposure to sunlight, especially during mid-day hours and at lower latitudes can increase your risk for skin cancers.
However, judicious exposure to sunlight can help a number of conditions like psoriasis, vitamin d deficiency, acne and seasonal affective disorder.

In brief: It depends.

Lots of skin exposure to sunlight, especially during mid-day hours and at lower latitudes can increase your risk for skin cancers.
However, judicious exposure to sunlight can help a number of conditions like psoriasis, vitamin d deficiency, acne and seasonal affective disorder.
Dr. Kenneth Adler
Dr. Kenneth Adler
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Dr. Latisha Smith
Wound care

In brief: Not always

Our bodies need sunlight to make vitamin d.
Also sunlight helps elevate out mood and helps with establishing our sleep cycle. Psoriasis is a skin condition that is actually made better with uv light. Sunbathing is what makes sunlight harmful. The uv rays can lead to skin cancer. If you want to enjoy the healthful aspects of sunlight and avoid skin cancer use lots and lots of sunscreen.

In brief: Not always

Our bodies need sunlight to make vitamin d.
Also sunlight helps elevate out mood and helps with establishing our sleep cycle. Psoriasis is a skin condition that is actually made better with uv light. Sunbathing is what makes sunlight harmful. The uv rays can lead to skin cancer. If you want to enjoy the healthful aspects of sunlight and avoid skin cancer use lots and lots of sunscreen.
Dr. Latisha Smith
Dr. Latisha Smith
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Dr. Andrew Carroll
Family Medicine

In brief: No

No, as a matter of fact, some sun exposure is essential to life! vitamin d is converted to its active form in your skin with some sun exposure.
All that extra vitamin d you might be taking is useless without at least a little sun exposure. Sun exposure also helps to treat jaundice. Avoid sunburns and excessive repetitive sun exposure, especially if you have a tendency for skin cancer.

In brief: No

No, as a matter of fact, some sun exposure is essential to life! vitamin d is converted to its active form in your skin with some sun exposure.
All that extra vitamin d you might be taking is useless without at least a little sun exposure. Sun exposure also helps to treat jaundice. Avoid sunburns and excessive repetitive sun exposure, especially if you have a tendency for skin cancer.
Dr. Andrew Carroll
Dr. Andrew Carroll
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Dr. Dean Giannone
Internal Medicine

In brief: Not completely

While we all know that sun exposure can contribute to skin cancer, uv radiation converts dietary vitamin d into its usable form, which along with calcium is important for bone health.

In brief: Not completely

While we all know that sun exposure can contribute to skin cancer, uv radiation converts dietary vitamin d into its usable form, which along with calcium is important for bone health.
Dr. Dean Giannone
Dr. Dean Giannone
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Dr. Theodore Cole
Family Medicine

In brief: No

As usual, it's the dose that matters.
In moderate amounts, sunlight is beneficial. Exposure that results in sunburn is harmful, and produces skin damage that can eventually result in skin cancers. Moderate exposures increase vitamin d levels. Don't fear the sun, but respect it.

In brief: No

As usual, it's the dose that matters.
In moderate amounts, sunlight is beneficial. Exposure that results in sunburn is harmful, and produces skin damage that can eventually result in skin cancers. Moderate exposures increase vitamin d levels. Don't fear the sun, but respect it.
Dr. Theodore Cole
Dr. Theodore Cole
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Dr. Cynthia Point
Internal Medicine

In brief: No

Most people can have some sun exposure without harm. There are a few genetic conditions which make the skin very likely to be damaged by any ultraviolet exposure, and those, and people with those conditions can't be outdoors in daylight.
If you are out in the sun, best time is early morning and late afternoon, and if it is midday, wear sunscreen, and cover up.

In brief: No

Most people can have some sun exposure without harm. There are a few genetic conditions which make the skin very likely to be damaged by any ultraviolet exposure, and those, and people with those conditions can't be outdoors in daylight.
If you are out in the sun, best time is early morning and late afternoon, and if it is midday, wear sunscreen, and cover up.
Dr. Cynthia Point
Dr. Cynthia Point
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Dr. Don W Hodson
Family Medicine

In brief: Sunbathers make note

Almost!? Sunlight is essential to convert vitamin d to it's active form and many people feel a certain amount of sunshine is needed to allow them a feeling of well being.
We all know how good a dose of sunshine feels and it does in fact release endorphins (feel good hormones) . But.......Anything more than your skin type can absorb will cause damage and cancer, especially if you sunburn.

In brief: Sunbathers make note

Almost!? Sunlight is essential to convert vitamin d to it's active form and many people feel a certain amount of sunshine is needed to allow them a feeling of well being.
We all know how good a dose of sunshine feels and it does in fact release endorphins (feel good hormones) . But.......Anything more than your skin type can absorb will cause damage and cancer, especially if you sunburn.
Dr. Don W Hodson
Dr. Don W Hodson
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Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Family Medicine

In brief: Not always...

Sunlight is not always harmful, but excessive sun exposure does increase one's risk for skin cancer.
Also, the exposure risk is cumulative (5 min. Here, 10 min. There, etc. All adds up.) sunlight, however, is important in converting the unusable dietary vitamin d to a useful form of vitamin d. The amount of sunlight needed for this, according to research, is from 8 minutes to 20 minutes per day.

In brief: Not always...

Sunlight is not always harmful, but excessive sun exposure does increase one's risk for skin cancer.
Also, the exposure risk is cumulative (5 min. Here, 10 min. There, etc. All adds up.) sunlight, however, is important in converting the unusable dietary vitamin d to a useful form of vitamin d. The amount of sunlight needed for this, according to research, is from 8 minutes to 20 minutes per day.
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
Dr. Kenneth Cheng
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