tan your bum this summer…it’s good for you!

This summer, go ahead and get half naked and prance around the beach/pool deck/music festival.  The sunshine is good for you in so many ways…it gives you energy, relaxes pain, keeps your skin healthy…and lighting science is just beginning to get its head around all the positive medical effects that different colors of light have on the human body.

In essence, the two major “light therapy” areas are blue-light treatments (around 460nm wavelengths) and red-light treatments (around 660nm wavelengths).  Each acts on the human body in different ways, such as being absorbed in our skin or registered in our eyes, creating a range of positive health benefits.

Different wavelengths of light penetrate into the skin to different depths, which is why different colors of light act on different processes.  Certain wavelengths of light entering our eyes play a critical role in regulating our sleep patterns.  And even UV and IR can provide both internal and external benefits.

optical penetration of light into skin

Just for starters, here’s a short list of the positive health benefits of light therapy that are in various stages of research:

  • wrinkles and stimulating collagen production
  • adjusting circadian rhythms and sleep cycles
  • reducing/eliminating the effects of jet lag
  • SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
  • anxiety
  • skin disorders like psoriasis, eczema, acne, and vitiligo
  • wounds and scars
  • muscle pain
  • reducing inflammation

I’m not a medical expert by any means and can’t understand much of the primary research publications (I’m sure you can Google them yourself if you’re interested), but here are a few pages that provide simpler overviews on the topic of light therapy: LED Light Therapy (they’re selling red light treatments), Mission Ignition (make sure to scroll to the bottom, beneth the DIY section, for a survey of links), Philips, and of course Wikipedia.

Of course, everything in moderation.  Remember your sun screen to limit the amount of the high power UV rays your skin absorbs (and if you’re like me and hate rubbing gooey sunscreen all over, try the SnappyScreen!).  If you tan your ass to the color of a well-cooked lobster, you create a bunch of other health problems.  Happy summer!