Solar charging: Build a solar callus to prep for winter.
The summer is coming to an end and depending on what part of the world you’re in it was a hot one in most places and still is. But we are approaching the fall and while the temperature may not let up for a while sunlight patterns are ever changing, days will get shorter, the strength of the sun will lessen and with that comes the increased susceptibility for solar nutrition deficiencies as it gets colder and darker. Symptoms of deficiencies include:
-Poor sleep patterns
-Drops in energy
-Drops in the regulation of your mood and emotions (seasonal affective disorder)
-Drops in Vitamin D
This just names a few, its vitally important that we deposit and stash sunlight in our tissues just like a bear or a squirrel or most eutherian mammals stashes food for hibernation and colder climates. Just as we charge our smartphones, we have charging stations that cover our entire body which are our skin and eyes. There are photoreceptors known as melanopsins in your eyes and skin to absorb the full spectrum of natural light. You’re literally a walking solar panel. We drink up the nutrition of sun rays and shuttle healthy light frequencies to the tissues of the body and use it as raw material to aid and assist with multiple biological processes. In fact Vitamin D which has received much attention in the past decade is basically a depot of captured light, like a battery. In fact our gut and microbiome receives the majority of its light frequency nutrition via Vitamin D (obviously because it’s an internal organ) which is why there’s a lot of vitamin D presence in our gut.
The less sun exposure we get the more deficient we become with our solar nutrition, which gives rise to many of the ailments we experience not only in the winter but in everyday life especially if we’re indoors under artificial light more of the time than not. Full spectrum lighting is hardwired to our biology. All light forms affect our body differently; infrared light is therapeutic as well as UV light, contrary to popular and industry belief, yes UV light is healthy for you. To unpack that here would take a couple of hours but the worst thing you can do is inappropriately wear sunglasses and inappropriately put on sunscreen. Its like putting a tarp over your skin and eyes and blocks you from the healthy benefits of full spectrum lighting.
You may ask what constitutes an “inappropriate and that’s a great question but its important reiterate that UV light is not unhealthy; inappropriate UV light is unhealthy. What makes it unhealthy is your skin type. Below is a chart known as the Fitzpatrick skin type scale. It designates different categories for the range of skin pigmentation in modern humans. This is what makes “the dose the poison”. The darker your skin is the more resistant you are to overexposure of sunlight, the lighter you are the more sensitive to overexposure of sunlight you are.
Its important to note that you don’t eradicate the threat of overexposure you just have varying levels of inherent resistance based on your pigmentation. Here’s the rub however; you can’t change your natural skin type obviously but you can modify it, this happens when our skin changes color and we tan. But even that has limitations because if you have Fitzpatrick skin type one your ability to tan is almost non existent, you’ll either turn pink and or burn rather easily.
The solution to this issue is a wetware system in the body mediated through the skin which is known as the solar callus. A callus is just like any callus we would get on the skin. If you lift a lot of weights or wield things with your hands the skin as a result of pressure and friction begins to callus over and morph into a protective layer of tissue. We have the same action when it comes to sun exposure. The solar callus on the skin absorbs the suns frequencies via melanopsin which is a photoreceptor. It harnesses the light frequencies, has protective mechanisms and also acts as a repository for excess solar radiation. The dynamics aren’t too visible and obvious, the only measure we have to gauge our solar callus is a freckle or hyper pigmentation on the skin that’s changes over time based on our sun exposure. The most noticeable adaptation to an increase in your solar callus build is simply getting used to the sun for the same amount of exposure time and being able to increase it. If you haven’t been out in the sun in a while and/or its particularly strong and your solar callus is out of shape you’ll get burnt or red much quicker and much easier but as you adapt and progress that will reduce which is a sign your solar callus is improving. If you go out in the sun for any extended period of time and you radiate heat over the course of 2 or more days your solar callus is out of shape. An in shape callus would take no more than 24 of radiating heat to siphon off energy stored in the tissues. The more in shape and “fit” your solar callus is the more absorbability and utilization you’ll get from full spectrum lighting, it’s the ultimate nutrient and sits at the apex of the entire food web on this planet that begins with photosynthesis.
Now its important to use the appropriate timing for sun exposure based primarily on your skin type to build your callus so you would follow a training program just as you would if you were trying to get in shape or reach some kind of fitness goal.
First we have to understand how solar exposure hierarchy works. Your skin type is the biggest determinant, then your latitude/geographical location is the next criteria; the sun in Miami is much stronger than the Sun in New York City, so that changes things a bit. Time of year matters as well, its well understood that the summer is when the sun is at its strongest and the winter is when it’s at its weakest. You need double the sun exposure time in the winter months than you do in the summer. Because this post is about stashing for the winter we’ll approach it as if its still summer which at the time of this post being written it is. According to the ----- sun exposure at high noon in a person with Fitzpatrick skin type 3 would need at least 6 minutes of sun exposure to generate 1000 iu of vitamin D. The jury is out on how much vitamin D you need per day, obviously if you are sick or have current health issues you will need more vitamin D. Because most people are deficient in Vitamin the typical 2-3000 iu recommendation should be bumped up to 5000 which if you know the literature and kinetics of Vitamin D, this is a fine amount. So if we take our Fitzpatrick skin type 3 individual and want to give them their daily dose of vitamin D at 5,000 iu’s we stick them in the sun for 30 minutes. Now this timeframe can be changed based on the shape of the individuals solar callus. While there’s no official measurement we can approximate it based off of a few things. As a general rule of thumb if your solar callus is out of shape you have to trim the exposure time down. If your solar callus is in shape you can add to your exposure time.
Your solar callus is most likely out of shape if:
-You haven’t been in the sun for extended periods of time more than an hour for more than a month or even longer.
-Your solar callus can also be out of shape if you’re in a weaker solar spectrum geographically and going to a strong one. (NYC versus Miami, different sun strength)
-While this only presents a minor effect intermittent sun exposure whereby every other month or couple of months your exposure is inconsistent it can definitely play a factor.
If you answer one of these questions your callus is mildly out of shape, two is moderately out of shape, all three and severely out of shape.
So lets an algorithmic approach to proper sun exposure based on your skin type with an added provision for solar callus status.
This chart gives time metrics for sun exposure based on your skin type once you find your category and your exposure time you then subtract (in mins) based on your solar callus status the amount designated from your total exposure time, which is expressed in a range to allow for individual differences. This is a good starting point and training program for building it up. Keep in mind that your solar callus is fluid it improves and the dynamics change. If you look at this chart, the darker skin types need way more sun exposure to get the same amount of vitamin D relative to the lighter skin types that’s because darker pigmentation has a built in resistance to protect against strong light environments almost like a callus was factory installed. However, if you are a darker skin type AND have a weak solar callus based on the criteria above you have to be careful because you’re highly sensitized and you can actually burn or get some kind of excess light exposure which is why the solar callus factors are larger as you scale down the skin type categories it’s a bit of a paradox but the dynamics are not linear. Another point to add from this chart is that the exposure times can be applied to the seasons whereby the colder months require exposure times on the longer end and warmer months can have exposures on the shorter time length, solar callus factors should apply just the same. As your solar callus build and shifts from say severe to mild you can eliminate the need to factor it in as long as your callus is maintained which gets increasingly hard to do as it gets colder and there’s less light out which is why now is the time to stash for the winter.