Although we're so used to being told that the sun has nothing but damaging effects on our skin, it's also worth noting that Vitamin D is essential for a healthy body; this is naturally created by our when we're exposed to sunshine and can help with the absorption of calcium, protect against serious chronic diseases and ensure our skin looks tip top. In ancient times, sunbathing was part of yoga as it was considered to have numerous healing properties; many cultures (including the Greeks) also practiced sunbathing to heal different illnesses, illustrating the long-found reasoning behind our association with sunshine and wellbeing. If you're tempted to pack up your sunscreen and jump on the next flight out of dreary England, here are some of the beauty benefits you can expect to experience - like you needed any more justification.
UV light has been shown to have a beneficial effect in medical setting and has been used by doctors to treat conditions including psoriasis, eczema, jaundice and acne. Getting a good dose of sunshine helps to clear skin, aid repair and add a glow we associate so closely with the idea of health. Sea salt is also packed with skin-friendly minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium; it helps to absorb the toxins in the body and on the skin, working to treat infections and encourage the healing process. So a dip in the sea really could help reduce pores, pimples and dryness.
STRONGER HAIR AND NAILS
A week or two in a warmer climate and it can often feel like our hair and nails are growing at super speed; talons are less prone to breakage, meaning they can grow stronger and longer, while our hair looks increasingly shiny. Sunlight allows encourages our bodies to produce Vitamin D, which stimulates growth while preventing hair loss; this means that you not only retain many more of your individual strands, but encourages new ones to grow too. When it comes to our nails, the increase in absorption of calcium can leave them looking and feeling stronger in the weeks to come.
Who needs to spend a fortune on fancy hair treatments, when a touch of sunshine is all you need to infuse your locks with natural highlights? When our hair is exposed to the sun it bleaches and destroys the melanin within, giving you a lighter look; since hair is dead, it will remain that colour until new hair grows in its place. If you want to speed up the process you can spritz on a little sea water to help lift the colour; however, if you want to stop it from happening, make sure you use a hair product that contains sun protection to keep your chosen colour for longer.
REDUCED DARK CIRCLES
Removing yourself physically from daily routine also removes you psychologically; distancing yourself from any issues or concerns can help to reduce stress and aid overall sleeping patterns. When we're less tired we carry fewer toxins and retain less water under the eyes, so this gives us a fresher and more revived complexion. Vitamin D also helps to refreshen the tired and dull skin under the eyes, leaving dark circles visibly reduced - it's a natural alternative to that expensive eye cream.
Not only does the sand offer a natural exfoliating solution that will get to work without you even realising, but the minerals in sea salt help to open pores for deeper cleansing - as well as encouraging blood flow, which is essential for the reduction in cellulite. Furthermore, the purifying benefits better enable your skin to absorb moisturiser having a positive knock-on effect to the softness of our skin. There's no down-side to this holiday malarkey!
Walking on those sandy beaches does as much for your feet as it does four your soul. The grainy fragments or sand gently and naturally exfoliate the surface of skin, leaving your tootsies smoother and softer after a few days playing among the sandcastles. Just be aware that this is also likely to wear away your nail polish, so pack a spare if naked toes aren't your thing.
SENSE OF CALM
Exposure to the sun causes more serotonin to be produced in the brain, which boosts our mood; less stress also decreases cortisol production, which can evoke an overall feeling of calm. Dr Linda says: "Exposure to a healthy amount of sunshine is believed to be associated with boosting mood and helping a person feel calm and focused." There's nothing more beautiful that a woman who looks serene, happy and contented; a week away from the stresses of daily modern life can have more impact than the travel agent would ever tell you about, and that's something I'm *always* on board with.
Are there any other beauty benefits you've seen after a break in the sun, or even the cold?
In September I jetted off to Antigua to soak up the benefits of the sea, sun and fresh air - it worked a treat. If you want to see some more photos or need a little holiday inspiration, then check out my full feature on St James's Club in Antigua here.
I was a guest on behalf of St James Club Antigua and Virgin Atlantic. Find out more about the resort via their website, or book via Virgin Holidays; seven nights all inclusive (flying from London Gatwick in May 2017) starts from around £1181 per person, based on two sharing.
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