Being over 4.5 billion years old we can assume there are at least a few things about the sun we are yet to learn. To this day, the sun provides the essential energy for life to function, with many scientists throughout history considering how people might benefit…

Solpardus bamboo Thea swimwear on rocks at beach in Mawnan Smith Cornwall. Thea bamboo bikini top Thea bikini bottoms Thea bamboo onepiece. All natural ethical sustainable sunwear swimwear linen clothing perfect for sensitive skin psoriasis and eczema

As the oldest skin condition to exist (originally noted around 400BC), it’s no surprise psoriasis was one of the first conditions scientists began to heal with sunlight. However, the many years of confusion surrounding the causes of psoriasis also brought a litany of bizarre methodologies for treatment…not least applying urine or faeces!!

In spite of these blips in study, Hippocrates (460-377 BC) thankfully noticed the healing properties of the sun. He even used coal tar to increase the skin’s sensitivity to the sunlight (with coal tar still being used in many psoriasis and eczema products today).

Jumping forward in time, a 1900s Swiss doctor then detailed protocols for how to heal with the sun, and sunlight therapy, or heliotherapy (‘helios’ being the Greek God of the sun), first gained modern popularity. Dr Augusta Rollier designed buildings throughout Switzerland that would harness the sun’s rays, known as ‘solaria’, and slowly exposed tuberculosis patients to the sun. Bit by bit patients would expose more and more of their body for a few minutes longer each day. After a few weeks Rollier’s patients were not only very tanned but many saw vast improvements in their health.

Solpardus happiness in Trebah sun. Nyx linen hat Thea bamboo onepiece. All natural ethical sustainable sunwear swimwear linen clothing perfect for sensitive skin psoriasis and eczema

More European doctors went on to use heliotherapy as treatment for tuberculosis, lupus, burns, arthritis and many more. Scientists had shown evidence that sunlight killed the bacteria leading to tuberculosis and other diseases, and that UV rays could help cure rickets by increasing levels of vitamin D. The German military even opened sun-hospitals for soldiers during the First World War.

However, in 1922 Britain’s leading heliotherapist, Sir Henry Gauvain, described sunlight as being “like a good champagne. It invigorates and stimulates; indulged in to excess, it intoxicates and poisons.” By the Second World War antibiotics had overtaken sunlight in its abilities and the negative aspects of sun exposure were pushed into the fore.

Between global warming and protecting ourselves from skin cancer its easy to overlook any of the sun’s healing benefits at all! However, safely exposing your skin to sunlight could in fact do you the world of good…

The sun emits two types of ultraviolet rays: 

  • UVA does little to aid psoriasis with too much leading to skin damage such as wrinkles, age spots and broken veins.
  • However, UVB can slow the rapid rate of skin growth associated with psoriasis also helping to reduce inflammation through immunosuppression.
Solpardus in nature at Trebah gardens in Cornwall. Nyx linen hat Thea bamboo bikini top Saba linen shirt Atti linen trousers. All natural ethical sustainable sunwear swimwear linen clothing perfect for sensitive skin psoriasis and eczema

In 2011, researchers studying psoriasis in the Canary Islands, Spain, found patients exposed to the sun had marked improvement in symptoms. They concluded that the sun’s UVB rays had encouraged their bodies to reduce inflammation and suppressed their overactive immune response.

UVB is often prescribed by doctors and dermatologists through controlled light-therapy. However, even if you are lucky enough not to have to pay for these sessions, waiting for a slot can seem never-ending! Not to mention feeling like you need to be some sort of wizard just to get through the door of the GP surgery…though that’s a rant for another time!

It’s important to note that, in spite of its great benefits, UVB is also the reason you get sunburnt. As well as obvious nasties, including skin cancer, sun burn at the very least can actually make your psoriasis worse. So, as with all sun safety briefings, it’s advised to steer clear between the hours of 10am - 2pm (treat yourself to a drawn out lunch and that traditional holiday nap instead!). Don’t forget, even a cloudy day can give you enough UVB.

It’s not just UVB rays that can help your psoriasis. Sunlight can also trigger your body into producing vitamin D, a nutrient beneficial for both strong bones and immune function.

Though found in some foods:

  • Salmon
  • Tuna
  • Egg yolks 
  • Fortified milk and orange juice
  • Fortified margarine and yoghurt
  • Swiss cheese (precise, I know!)

… a person needs sunlight to generate the majority of their vitamin D supply.

Solpardus collection walking down through Trebah gardens in Cornwall. Nyx linen hat Saba linen shirt Atti linen trousers Atti linen shorts Thea bamboo onepiece. All natural ethical sustainable sunwear swimwear linen clothing perfect for sensitive skin psoriasis and eczema

Just below 30% of the healthy population are vitamin D deficient, and those with psoriasis are closer to 60%. These stats get even worse come winter when vitamin D deficiency in the wider population increases marginally to just over 30% and the psoriasis population to a whopping 80%. So it’s safe to say we all need to get a little more vitamin D where we can.

With current science suggesting between 2-3% of the global population have psoriasis (around 125 million people) perhaps even stepping outside to drink your morning coffee could make a difference. Whether it’s 5 or 15 minutes you can reap some of these benefits.

Just remember Sir Henry Gauvain’s champagne analogy and make sure not to over do it and to get yourself a good sensitive skin sun cream (you can find some of our favourites here to get you started). In the words of that classic British supermarket “every little helps”!

Get sun on your skin in our bamboo Thea Sunwear…

1 of 3

…then cover up in our Linen Collection…

1 of 5