We Are Sunshine

Canadian Program Perpetuates False Myths About Base Tans

Friday, July 25th, 2008

A student-led program sponsored by the Canadian Cancer Society is telling Canadian teenagers that there is no such thing as a base tan — a false claim about indoor tanning designed to drive people away from indoor tanning.

2008-07-24-off-base-tanningnews-copy.jpg“There is no such thing as a safe tan and no such thing as a base tan,” student Gina Fleming told Canada’s Western Star newspaper, repeating CCS’s incorrect information that she’s spreading in a program CCS calls ‘SunSense’. “We hear a lot of stories about people who go south to Florida and Cuba and go to tanning beds because they have to have their tans before they go. That only offers an SPF of 4 and our minimum for sunscreen is 15.”

Fleming is wrong.

“This isn’t a subjective mistake — it’s a factual mistake that the dermatology community and the Canadian Cancer Society keep repeating,”
Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Now they’re brainwashing teenagers to repeat the mistake. Let’s be clear about this: Base tans work — there are millions of individual case studies to show it — and CCS and Fleming are not acknowledging the facts.”

A base tan gained in a tanning facility – in proper combination with sunscreen usage outdoors – multiples the effectiveness of the sunscreen. People who travel south for sunny vacations who don’t have base tans often sunburn even if they are wearing sunscreen. But those with base tans are much more protected against burning.”

So while students like Fleming may be trying to teach their peers proper sun care, CCS is teaching them misinformation in an attempt to scare people out of the sun and out of tanning facilities.

“Scare tactics and misinformation, in the long run, are not good educational tools,” Levy said. “While CCS and Fleming should be teaching moderation and sunburn prevention, they’re going over the top and missing the mark.”

To read the Western Star’s story click here.