The lovely Anais Pouliot reminds us that the French have a far more positive relationship with the sensuality of nudity than we Americans. Anais is styled by Noemie Beltran and lensed by Hannah Khymych for the June/July issue of L’Officiel. Haiar by Kayla Michele; makeup by Christine Cherbonnier.
After all, it was Coco Chanel who invented the concept of suntanning.
While one should always wear sunscrean to protect our bodies from the harmful effects of the sun’s, out of a concern for skin cancer and premature aging, the health benefits of sunshine often are downplayed.
Health Benefits of Sunshine
We know sunlight to be great mood enhancer. Sunlight increases production of serotonin, known to regulate appetite, sleep, memory and mood. Less sunlight is a predictor for depression and a key reason why we get the winter blahs in dreary climates.
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University concluded that hospital patients placed in bright rooms self-reported less stress and requested less pain medication per hour than those patients in dim rooms.
Because sunlights shuts down the body’s melatonin production, it’s a great aid in helping us maintain our individual circadian rhythms. Note that not wearing sunglasses helps the brain process sunshine, sending a signal to stop melatonin production because it’s morning and not time to be sleeping.
In the concerns of avoiding wrinkles and skin cancer, we neglect the conversation that sunlight can reduce other cancers including colon, kidney and breast cancer. Add the reality that sunshine is linked to improvements in bone health and overall mortality rates, it’s time to get healthy with sunlight. Positive outcomes in avoiding neurological, cardiovascular and immune diseases are also tied to sunlight.
Fair Skin vs Dark Skin Sun Exposure
Sun exposire should remain moderate. If one has fair skin, it’s best not to remain outside at the hottest part of the day without sunscreen. Those of us who tend to tan and not burn can go 15 minutes, while a person with darker skin can require significantly longer — as much as six times the sun exposure as the fair-skinned person to reap the same benefits of vitamin D.
Previously known as the British writer Belle de Jour, Dr. Brooke Magnanti agrees that Americans have a far different relationship with going topless than the French. Amid reports that topless sunbathing is falling out of favor, apparently not all French women have gotten the message.
Sunbathing, Sexual Guilt and Loving Our Bodies
As for the French approach to sunbathing, I embrace it and hope they don’t become conservative at a time when they inspire me. It’s believed that the increasing influence of France’s Muslim population is one factor in this trend.
Personally, I’m emerging from a very difficult period of my life and remain committed to returning — as much as possible — to what I believe was my best physical self of a decade ago.
Suffering from a major injury that nearly left me permanently disabled, I’ve lost 45 pounds and am now only about 10 pounds over my lowest weight. The trigger to my 2003/4 weight loss was sunbathing nude. Over that period, I accepted not only my physical self but my sexuality. Many times I’ve written on AOC regarding my perceived connections between weight gain, sexual guilt and self-loathing.
It’s this aspect of the European and South American acceptance of going topless that intrigues me. Some of the most Catholic countries in the world haven’t embraced America’s fundamental discomfort with nudity.
Earlier AOC articles on the health benefits of sunlight include:
On that note, let me pencil in 15 minutes of sunshine today. My loft faces north, although it does have two wonderful sets of French doors that fill the interior with fresh air. ~ Anne