We Are Sunshine

HEADLINE STORY: Smart Tan responds to Connecticut Post’s tanning slam

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

AUGUST 6, 2009 — Smart Tan responded to a Connecticut Post article Wednesday whose headline blared inaccurately, “Using a tanning bed is a cancer risk” — pointing out that the story mis-states what can and cannot be said about UV light from any source.

2009-08-06-get-real-copy.jpgSmart Tan responded as follows:

Imagine if a story had the headline, “Drinking water isn’t safe because water causes drowning.”

Sound ridiculous? Of course it is. And yet that exact line of thinking is what was spoon-fed to North American news outlets last week which led to inaccurate stories everywhere suggesting that getting a suntan is as dangerous as being exposed to arsenic, plutonium, mustard gas or smoking cigarettes.

Get real! Smokers have 14-22 times the risk of lung cancer compared to non-smokers, according to the American Cancer Society. In contrast, suntanners have no statistically different risk of melanoma as compared to non-tanners, according to the sum of research on this topic. In fact, indoor workers get melanoma more often than outdoor workers!

So what should the stories have said? Repeated sunburns could be harmful, and that’s why UV light from any source is classified as a carcinogen. But don’t lose sight of the fact that humans, like everything on the planet, need sunlight and UV to live, that most Americans are at risk for vitamin D deficiency because we don’t get enough sun and that no study EVER has isolated suntanning in a non-burning fashion as a risk factor for anything.

Vitamin D experts now say we need 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily from all sources. One minute of sunshine to the face, arms and legs for a fair-skinned person in summertime would make approximately 30-60 IU of vitamin D depending on your location, assuming you aren’t wearing sunscreen, which almost completely blocks vitamin D production. And a dark-skinned person would need 4-10 times that much sun to make the same amount of vitamin D.

This might explain why an independent Australian study just showed that 87 percent of Australian dermatologists are vitamin D deficient at the end of summer. They don’t get it!

Bottom line: Being sun smart means sunburn prevention. But don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.

To read the Connecticut Post article with Smart Tan’s response click here.