We Are Sunshine

HEADLINE STORY: Harvard doctor in the dark about UV realities

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

SEPT. 3, 2009 — The editor in chief of the Harvard Women’s Health Watch published false information about indoor tanning in the popular newsletter’s Sept. 2 edition.

2009-09-10-quote-of-the-weak-copy.jpg“The tanning industry makes misleading claims for the healthfulness of indoor tanning,” Dr. Celeste Robb-Nicholson wrote in her column. “One claim is that it helps build a base that protects against sunburn. It does, but only slightly — the equivalent of a sunscreen rated SPF 4 or less.”

It is well-documented that a suntan multiples the efficacy of sunscreen in preventing sunburn — which is the point that dermatologists either don’t understand or refuse to recognize.

Robb-Nicholson also slammed indoor tanning as a source of vitamin D, herself making the unsubstantiated and inaccurate claim that food and supplements are an adequate source of The Sunshine Vitamin.

“Another claim is that tanning is a good way to stimulate the skin’s production of vitamin D, a hormone that’s essential to bone health and has been linked to a reduced risk for several cancers. But you can get all the vitamin D you need in a daily vitamin D supplement, which offers all the benefits without any of the risks to your skin,” she wrote.

There is no data to suggest that anyone can raise their vitamin D levels to 40-60 ng/ml with natural sources of vitamin D without regular sun exposure unless they are consuming an otherwise unhealthy amount of fatty fish in their diet.

To read the column click here.