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Cover Up Under the Sun, Wilton

WILTON, Conn. – If you haven’t already, it’s time to fold up the tinfoil-covered double albums, put away the baby oil and slather on the sunscreen . With warm weather and summer on the way, residents need to think about protecting their skin.

It's not even be safe to sit outside without protective coverings to gain the Vitamin D doctors say New England residents are lacking. An article by Dr. R. Preston Lamberton said that due to the long winters and reduced sunlight, Connecticut residents are more prone to the deficiency. One of the easiest ways to fix that is by spending time in the sun.

“I would recommend people get the necessary Vitamin D through supplements,” Dr. Kenneth Egan said. “You can get all the Vitamin D you need from supplements.”

Egan, a Wilton dermatologist, says that even the smallest amount of sun can be harmful and said skin should be protected at all times. He said that even spending 10 to 15 minutes outside with no protection can cause damage.

People should use nothing less than a sun protection factor 15, Egan said. But most dermatologists recommend using at least SPF 30 and putting it on at least 20 minutes before going outside to maximize protection, he said. In addition to sunscreen, he said staying in the shade and wearing protective clothing is important.

“As of June this year, for manufacturers who make sunblock, there are new FDA rules stating that anything less than SPF 15 will not be labeled sunblock. The 8 or 10 SPF sunblock might disappear,” Egan said of rules from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

And tanning booths are even worse for the skin. "A recent study reported that people who use indoor tanning beds frequently are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma, and we know young women are more likely to use them than young men," Dr. Jerry Brewer, a Mayo Clinic dermatologist, said in a release .

“Tanning beds are such an incredibly bad idea,” Egan said. So for the coming summer months, putting sunscreen on daily is the best idea to protect against skin cancers, he said.

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