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Monday, July 6, 2020

Heliophobia or Fear of Sunlight: Symptoms, Treatments and More

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Heliophobia is simply the fear of sunlight and the fear of being out in the sun. It might be a thing of surprise to know that vampires are not the only ones with this phobia, some humans too have this.

As a heliophile (sun lover), I was shocked to know that this phobia exists among millions of people in the world. With the tremendous impact, sunlight has on our health, I don’t think anyone should be afraid of sunlight.

A famous saying goes this way: PEOPLE FEAR WHAT THEY DO NOT UNDERSTAND. This is true even in the case of heliophobia. I have spoken with quite a few people with this fear and when I explained certain things to them, they started working on their fears and they have started reaping the health benefits of being out in the sun.

Important Facts About Phobias

All phobias, no matter the circumstance or object feared produce a feeling of stress and anxiety for the person having the phobia. The anxiety these people experience is real even though it might look silly or ridiculous to others.

It is a well-known fact in the world of psychology that your mind can create a real biological reaction to any given situation if you believe that the situation or the object is a real danger to you.

When this happens, you will experience real fear with all of the associated symptoms. The reaction and the anxiety experienced is not the problem.

The real problem is your thought or idea, they create the reaction. 100% of your heliophobia is created by your thoughts and not the sun itself. This is called “constructionism” and this post will help you dispel your fear of sunlight.

Symptoms of Heliophobia

Heliophobia

Below are some of the common symptoms of the fear of sunlight:

  • Migraines and headaches
  • Panic attacks
  • Breathlessness
  • Difficulty relaxing
  • Sweating profusely
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Sticky and dry mouth
  • Hot-tempered
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pains and body aches
  • Prickly sensations
  • Heart palpitations

These symptoms are uncontrollable and automatic. They take over your thoughts and make you take extreme measures in avoiding sunlight. This is known as “avoidance” or “safety” behaviors.

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These behaviors do not help matters but worsen this phobia. If this situation is not handled, it will become a normal part of your life and you will be forced to live with it.

This phobia can also become worse over time. And you will develop more sophisticated avoidance behaviors and routines which will not help matters. It might even lead to a mental breakdown.

The good news is that this fear can be overcome. I will give some tips on psychotherapy which I use in helping people dealing with phobias and addiction. It will help change your thinking and that is the first step in overcoming this phobia.

5 Reasons Why People Fear the Sun

From my experience, I have come to know some factors that trigger the fear or avoidance of sunlight. When this thought is handled, the problem naturally goes away.

Accumulated toxins

I have come across a lot of people who avoid sunlight because it caused sunburns. The sunburns I have seen range from mild to severe. And some of them were afraid they would develop skin cancer.

I had to let them understand why this happened in the first place and how to prevent it from happening. One major function of the sun is detoxification.

Once the rays of sunlight touch your skin, your white blood cells become hyperactive. They start moving with great speed through all parts of your body looking for parasites and invaders to kill.

The body then gathers the dead bodies of the dead microbes plus other toxins in the body for elimination. I hope you know your skin is a major organ of elimination.

If the toxins are excess, the sun will draw some to the surface of your skin so that they can be easily eliminated. If there are no overloads of toxins in your body, this won’t happen. Yes, you won’t have sunburns if your internal terrain is clean.

This simply means that those who have sunburns have toxins accumulated in them. If you have sunburns anytime you come in contact with sunlight, you have to go an herbal cleanse.

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Change your diet to that of a healthy one because most of the toxins in our bodies get in through our foods. You also have to be careful what you apply on your skin, this can also cause a reaction when under sunlight.

Most people with heliophobia are scared of skin cancer and skin damage. This brings us to our second point.

Hearsay and marketing-imposed fear

There are lots of news, writings, saying, and wrong information online, and in the media about how the sun causes skin cancers. There are also some so-called “studies” supporting this.

I can boldly tell you that this is not true. The sun is the cheapest and most effective natural cure we have on the planet. The latest finding on COVID-19 shows that the virus can’t survive in sunlight for up to two minutes.

IT IS NOT THE SUN THAT CAUSE CANCER BUT THE TOXINS IN YOUR BODY. Then to make matters worse, they hype and sell toxic chemicals that are harmful to the skin as “sunscreens or sun protection”.

Lots of studies have linked these toxic products to photodermatitis and skin cancers. Photodermatitis occurs when your skin reacts abnormally to UV light from the sun. This can be caused by these toxic products, some medications, and coming in contact with some herbs.

Photodermatitis causes bumpy and scaly rash, dark patches, skin irritation, and sometimes fever with chills. People who use sunscreens have high risks of cancers than those who don’t use them.

People who use sunscreen frequently will narrowly escape skin cancer as the majority of them always come down with skin cancers. Also, people who stay indoors have higher risks of developing skin cancer than those who spend their time outdoors.

Vitamin D supplied by sunlight is a cancer-fighting hormone/nutrient. People who need desperately to sell their products spread the wrong news flying around today that the sun causes cancer. They fail to let you know that this can only happen if you are toxic inside.

When preparing to write this article, I was reading on heliophobists experience and I came across a lady’s comment. She said, “When I feel the sun on my skin it doesn’t feel warm, it feels like it’s sort of penetrating my skin with cancer”.

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She said she can’t last up to 10 minutes in sunlight without having panic attacks. She shades herself from the sun by all means and has even resulted in online shopping.

Now that you have known this, you can start working on your fears. Cleanse your internal terrain. Look for a naturopath close to you and ask for this. He or she will know what to do.

There are natural alternatives to these toxic sunblocks used today. Extra-virgin olive oil, pure coconut oil, aloe vera gel, and intake of green smoothies daily are powerful in preventing sunburn.

Green smoothies clean your body from toxins while these pure oils protect and moisturize your skin.

Superstitious believes

I once had a friend who doesn’t enter the sun once its 4 P.M. I asked her one day and she said that she was told that sicknesses do fall from heaven at that time. I was dumb-founded.

I wasn’t even really deep into naturopathy at that time but I knew that I just heard the dumbest thing in my life. It is difficult to help these kinds of people except they are willing to change their minds and be open to new ideas.

There are many superstitious believes about sunlight and many who buy those ideas will avoid sunlight by all means. And do you know the worst part of it? They are missing the best time to engage the sun for healing.

Sunsets and sunrise are the best time to sun gaze or sunbathe. Sungazing heals all kinds of cognitive decline like forgetfulness and it even helps in de-calcifying your pituitary gland.

Dehydration

People who don’t take in lots of water have skin problems when they spend time in sunlight. Dehydration makes your skin prone to sunburns and other skin problems when exposed to sunlight.

It makes your skin wrinkle and age in time. Many people think they are well hydrated not knowing they are not. For instance, people who take soft drinks, teas, coffees, commercial fruit juices, etc. when thirsty might think they are getting hydrated.

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The fact is that they are further dehydrating themselves because their bodies will use the water stored to process and digest these drinks and to also expel the unnatural chemicals in them.

Another mistake people make is not drinking enough water. Science has made it known that as we age, we lose our thirst buds. This simply means that you can be thirsty without knowing it.

A lot of people are losing more water than they are taking in and this leads to dehydration. Listen to your body, there is no fixed amount of water to take daily. We lose about 8 cups of water just by breathing in a day.

Make sure you drink water as your body needs and increase your intake of water during hot weather or after a physical exercise or activity. Your skin health depends heavily on water.

Nutritional deficiencies

Nutritional deficiencies increase your risks of sunburns and even skin cancers. If you want healthy skin, you need more plant-based proteins. This can be gotten from raw green vegetables.

You take them as smoothies. This helps your body produce collagen which is used in repairing and renewing your skin. This also protects your skin from damages and gives you a youthful complexion and appearance.

Also for proteins to work, you need enzymes, and for enzymes to work, you need minerals, and for minerals to work, you need vitamins. And many are deficient in a lot of these.

If you are deficient in any of these, your skin will react under sunlight due to the low production of collagen. If you remove junks and processed foods from your diet and start taking lots of healthy whole plant-based foods, your skin will thank you.

You can spend time under sunlight without having any problem. Nutritional deficiencies are the leading cause of sun damage like premature aging.

These are some of the reasons why people react badly when under sunlight and they end up developing a phobia for sunlight which they even pass down to others.

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How to Overcome Heliophobia

Heliophobia

Eliminate the root cause

I have given 5 root causes of why people react negatively to sunlight. If you go through each and scrutinize yourself, you might see where your fault is.

By the time the root cause is eliminated, you won’t react negatively to sunlight and you can start working on your mind. This will help you focus well on working on your mind.

Seek help from a therapist

This second step will help you deal with your fears and even face it. You need the help of a good therapist to do this, you can get one online or ask friends or family for recommendations.

There are also many types of therapies available today. I have a list of some potent therapies used in helping people overcome phobias. There are:

Cognitive-behavioral therapy: CBT links heliophobia to unhelpful thinking styles. It also links it to thinking patterns that directly create feelings of stress and anxieties when you encounter sunlight.

Your CBT therapist will help get to the most fundamental core belief affecting you and change the reaction from the source. CBT will help you build a set of coping skills and mechanisms.

These skills will be focused on your resent day experience and not past ones. The central pillar of CBT is to strengthen your relationship between your thinking (cognition) and feelings (behaviors). This will help you overcome this phobia.

Dialectical behavioral therapy: DBT is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. In this therapy, you will learn coping skills and change unhealthy behaviors.

Two opposites are brought together in this therapy, acceptance, and change and this offers better results than just one alone. There are 4 parts or courses in DBT which you will pass through.

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At the end of this, you should be able to accept your fear of sunlight and change your reaction to it.

Psycho-dynamic therapies: This offers a different approach from other therapies. This therapy considers past events and social influences into consideration.

It is believed in this therapy that past events or trauma can pre-dispose a person to a certain kind of thinking. It can make one process events in a certain way later in life.

This psychoanalysis will help you to develop and explore personal insight. It will also resolve the real cause of the phobia following the principle of “cause and effect”.

Brain working recursive therapy: BWRT is a hybrid form of therapy that helps to create new neural pathways to bypass the hard-wired reflex responses that have been established by habitual responses to sunlight or other trigger objects or events.

This therapy disconnects the normal phobic reaction by breaking the link between trigger and response. It helps to create a healthier response.

Face your fears

After going through the first and second step, you have to be ready to face your fears. It’s not healthy to be fearful of things that are not dangerous.

Facing your fears will help you put what you’ve learned into practice. It will help you learn better ways to cope with your phobia and overcome it.

If you don’t face your fear now, it will hold you back from progressing in life, it will even cause bigger problems for you. A good understanding of why you react to sunlight and undergoing therapy will help you face your fears.

Some therapists will do this with you. There will expose you gradually to the trigger object (sun). Some therapists first start with your imagination before doing this physically.

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Most fears occur when you don’t properly understand what you fear. Now that you’ve understood the risk factors of sun damage and skin cancer, you will eliminate these factors from your life and diet.

Complications of Heliophobia

In severe cases, heliophobia can affect every aspect of one’s life. Some even dread going to work, school, or outdoors because of this phobia. It affects their social life and slowly wrecks their mental health.

Some have lost their jobs because of this. Some can’t be in a relationship because of this. Even kids with this suffer social isolation and depression because they can’t spend time with their friends.

Heliophobia has to be handled as soon as possible to prevent the affected individual from having a complete mental breakdown. It shouldn’t be taken lightly or taken for granted.

Apart from the negative mental effect of this phobia, EVERY LIVING THING ON EARTH NEEDS SUNLIGHT, as human, you cannot be truly healthy without interacting with sunlight.

Those three tips above will help you in overcoming your fear of sunlight.

Sources;

  1. Sunlight does not cause skin cancer; PDF, OA, PD, NCBI, SD, NCBI, RT
  2. Effects of dehydration on your skin; HL, WB,
  3. Effect of nutritional deficiencies on your skin; INH, CJ, DJ, DZ, MNT, BRI, CD, DS,
  4. Effects of toxins on your skin; PD, CDC, CFS, NCI,
  5. Sunscreens cause cancer; PD, PD, PD, HP, LLF, TTAC, CE,
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Disclaimer: This article is purely informative & educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

Ebiojo David
I am a Biochemist and Naturopath, I love writing and educating people on health and wellness matters.

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