woman in a swimsuit is sunbathing close to the pool
Photo: Armin Rimoldi

Is there anything better than sunbathing under the relaxing, warm sunshine? Absorbing the rays of the sun can provide several physical and mental benefits. However, too much sunbathing can also pose health risks due to the ultraviolet rays in sunlight, which can damage the cells in your body. Over time, small amounts of sun damage can build up and this may lead to the development of melanoma.

  • What are the main benefits of sunbathing?

Absorbing sunlight is the best way to boost natural vitamin D levels. Our main source of vitamin D is the sun as this vitamin is very difficult to get through diet. For most people, half an hour of exposure to the sun’s rays every day on your arms, chest, and face during the summer gives you enough vitamin D. 

Vitamin D, the immune system's secret weapon, helps your body build bones stronger than steel. It also helps to improve brain development and function. Exposure to sunlight releases serotonin into your body which makes you feel calm and focused. It also helps to regulate your circadian rhythm which promotes better sleep. So don your GUD Swim bikini and get yourself to the beach, but don’t forget to heed the following advice about exposure to the sun’s rays.

  • Can sunbathing be bad for you?

Sunbathing can pose certain risks to your health. As your skin tans, it creates melanin to protect itself from harmful UV rays in sunlight. This means that even the lightest suntan is actually evidence of skin damage. If the damaged skin cells can't repair themselves, they can later become cancerous. 

Sunbathing also risks sunburn, which can lead to melanoma later in life. Less seriously you may suffer from heat rash, or heat exhaustion, indicated by muscle cramps, weakness, headache, and dizziness.

woman in a tan swimsuit and sunhat is tanning on the beach with a glass of water in her hand
Photo: Ksu&Eli Studio

  • How long can you sunbathe?

It pays to be particularly careful sunbathing in spring when your skin is pale, but even with tanned skin, you may experience skin damage. During the summer, people of all skin types should not expose themselves to the sun at the hottest times of the day, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. You can still go outside, but try to stay in the shade. Even on a cloudy day, up to 50% of the sun's UV rays reach your skin and can cause sunburn. Likewise, if it's windy, you should still cover up and try to protect your skin. As a general rule, you should spend no more than half an hour per day sunbathing.

  • The importance of applying sunscreen when you are tanning

You should always apply sunscreen if you're going to spend time in the sun. Use sunscreen with a star rating of four or five because this provides the highest level of protection from UVA rays. It should be a minimum of 30 SPF, and also water-resistant, so that if you’re at the beach and planning to go in the water you will still be protected. The European SPF system is based on how long a person with pale skin can stay in the sun without getting sunburnt. This is usually no more than 20 minutes in springtime.

  • Tips and precautions to follow while you are sunbathing

By spending too much time in the sun you can risk sunburn or heat exhaustion, and also increase the risks of skin cancer. At the same time, vitamin D which can be absorbed from sunlight is essential to your health. So, sunbathe but do your best to protect your skin and your health. Take care in the sun and if you can, stay out of direct sunlight between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is at its strongest. 

The UV index measures the intensity of the sun's rays, so before you head out into the sun you should check how strong its rays will be. If the UV index is 3 or more and you will be exposed to it for more than half an hour, you will need to take the precautions of applying sunscreen and spending time in the shade. You can also dress for the heat by wearing loose-fitting, cotton clothing over your swimwear, as well as a hat and sunglasses when you head outside.

Wrapping Up: Less layers and avoiding dehydration...

There’s no need to make yourself feel too hot in the sun by wearing too many layers, but try to wear the right clothing. You will still be absorbing vitamin D. Be sure to drink plenty of water, around six to eight glasses a day or even more if it’s boiling. If you prefer to drink something with a little more flavor, try diluted fruit juice as an alternative. 

Try to avoid alcohol, caffeine, and drinks with a high sugar content because these will make you feel more dehydrated. Keep your fluid intake up and if you start to feel thirsty, then your body is telling you to drink more.

Lots of love,