LONDON, U.K. (CBS) – If you’ve been avoiding the sun in an effort to lower your risk of skin cancer, you might want to rethink that strategy.

New research out of the United Kingdom shows that exposure to ultraviolet rays can actually lower your blood pressure. High blood pressure, sometimes known as “the silent killer,” is one of the indicators of cardiovascular disease, which accounts for 30% of deaths worldwide.

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Researchers from the University of Southampton and the University of Edinburgh say they exposed the skin of 24 healthy individuals to a dose of UVA light equal to spending 30 minutes in natural sunlight.

What they found was that just 30 minutes of exposure to natural sunlight dilated blood vessels and lowered blood pressure.

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According to the study, which was published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, these findings indicate it may be time for a reassessment of the risks and benefits of exposure to sunlight.

To read more about the study, click here.

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