Sunlight could prolong life, according to dermatologists

UV exposure could benefit health and even prolong life, according to recent research. Scientists at the University of Edinburgh found that under sunlight a compound is released in the blood vessels that help to lower blood pressure.

This could mean a decreased risk of heart disease or stroke linked to high blood pressure, which account for around 80 times more death in Britain than those from skin cancer.

Dr. Richard Weller, a senior lecturer in dermatology at the university, said, “We suspect that the benefits to heart health of sunlight will outweigh the risks of skin cancer.

“We now plan to look at the relative risks of heart disease and skin cancer in people who have received different amounts of sun exposure. If this confirms that sunlight reduces the death rate from all causes, we will need to reconsider our advice on sun exposure.”

To conduct the research, 24 participants sat beneath tanning lamps for two sessions of 20 minutes, while having their blood pressure monitored. In one session they were exposed to UV rays and the lamps’ heat, and in the other they were exposed to the heat only. Researchers noticed a significant drop in blood pressure for one hour following UV exposure.

Gary Lipman, chairman of The Sunbed Association said, “It is refreshing to find a senior dermatologist advocating the health benefits of responsible UV exposure.  This is something that The Sunbed Association has been saying for years, based on the findings of a significant number of published scientific studies and research papers from around the world.”

The research was delivered at the International Investigative Dermatology conference in Edinburgh last week.