Dr. Susan Bard on safe ways to enjoy the summer sun

Tartan Lets You Tan 1947 crBy Shayna Torn

Even an up-to-date medical expert like Vanguard dermatologist Dr. Susan Bard understands that few people want to spend the summer without enjoying the sun at all. While damage to the skin is serious and real, there are other health benefits to limited exposure to the sun’s rays.

“Everybody needs some sun. Research shows its rays increase seratonin and dopamine levels, therefore uplifting our mood. Sun is also an important natural source of Vitamin D.”

Sunburn murders sleepWhat’s key is moderation and precaution. Sun exposure is directly linked to a much higher risk of skin cancer.

“We need far less sun exposure than people think—a few minutes per day can yield all the body-mind benefits anyone needs and even this should be experienced with the application of sun screen.”

She also suggests that vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables and vitamin D supplements “can offer a lower risk avenue to getting all the nutrients you need.”

coppertone_ladies_journal_ad_1958aBut life-loving Dr. Bard does not spend the warm season hiding indoors.

“I enjoy the beach, but stay under an umbrella and frequently reapply sunscreen. I wear a hat and avoid the most dangerous hours between eleven AM and four or five PM, depending on your location.”

I asked her how she felt about no-sun alternatives that can give folks a darker tint such as spray-on tans or self-tanners.

 “I recommend not inhaling the fumes from spray-ons. The creams don’t do any real harm though they introduce chemicals that most of us could probably live without.”

 Here are Dr. Bard’s Tips for Safe Fun in the Sun:

  • Don’t lie around and bake. Keep moving and use a protective umbrella

  • Reapply sunscreen frequently: 30SPF and higher is a good protection level

  • Consider sun protective clothing if you must have longer exposure

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