We Are Sunshine

Australian press reports are the latest to falsely allege that tanning can be addictive.

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

An Australian press agency – piling onto reports this year down under incorrectly characterizing indoor tanning – has over-trumped a journal article attempting to make the case that tanning can be an addiction.

2008-09-03-sun-addiction-tanningnews-copy.jpg“Researchers found 18 per cent of habitual sunbathers and 28 per cent of indoor tanners answered ‘yes’ to questions designed to expose addiction, in a survey of 385 college students,” the Cairns Post reported on Monday. “Like diehard smokers, drug takers and alcoholics the sunbathers reported trying to cut down on the potentially deadly practice, said they had been annoyed by criticism of their behaviour and admitted feeling guilty about sunbaking.”

The article cited a paper published in the Australian Medical Observer.

“Tanning is not an addiction. It’s an attraction,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Humans are supposed to be attracted to UV light. We need it to live. To call it an addiction is like saying that people are addicted to oxygen or water. It just isn’t accurate.”

Here’s the core science that these researchers are twisting: Ultraviolet light exposure produces endorphins in the skin — substances that literally make us feel good. Because sunshine is natural and humans need sunshine in order to be healthy, endorphin production is nature’s way of telling us that sunshine is good.

This is just another case of how the anti-tanning lobby builds its case politically rather than weighing all of the science objectively. Ten years ago they claimed there were no benefits at all of sun exposure. Today, with the science stacking up in favor of sensible sun exposure, they’re clinging to their guns, telling us that unnatural, pharmaceutically produced pills are better sources of vitamin D and that tanning is akin to narcotics. They’re strung out on their own press.

For more information visit Smart Tan’s consumer web site,

Click here to read the entire Cairns Post story.