We Are Sunshine

Big Dermatology Still Doesn’t Understand the Base Tan

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Base tans are one of the cornerstones of the professional indoor tanning community, with millions of indoor tanners flocking to tanning businesses every spring just to jump-start nature’s best sunburn protection. Yet most in Big Dermatology’s lobbying groups still don’t understand or refuse to acknowledge exactly how a base tan works.

2008-02-19-off-base.jpgA tan is the body’s natural and intended way to prevent sunburn. And when your skin’s natural tan is doing its job, the sunscreen you wear on vacation is that much more effective. Tanners literally multiply the efficacy of their sunscreen by having a base tan acting as another line of defense against sunburn.

Anyone who has traveled to a sunny climate in the spring knows that sunscreen alone many times won’t prevent sunburn in the tropics, even if it is correctly applied. That’s why the base tan, which multiplies the effectiveness of sunscreen, has been a cornerstone of indoor tanning for decades.

Big Dermatology doesn’t understand this. For instance, the Skin Cancer Foundation, a group that promotes skin cancer prevention, but which is funded by pharmaceutical companies that market over-use of sunscreen, is holding a dermatology industry meeting March 1-3 in San Juan, Puerto Rico. And they’re advertising sun-drenched outdoor activities, including sightseeing and golf, as part of the itinerary.

“Many people who travel to Puerto Rico in March to play golf and sight-see – even if they wear sunscreen – will sunburn unless they have a base tan,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Millions of indoor tanning enthusiasts understand that. And yet Big Dermatology continues to deny it.”

Several years ago the American Medical Association held a meeting in Hawaii, during which one Smart Tan member salon reported getting business from doctors and their families who understood that base tans were protective.

“It’s time to come out of the dark and recognize a balanced message about sunshine,” Levy said. “Part of that message is the fact that the professional indoor tanning community is teaching moderation and sunburn prevention more effectively than those who preach sun abstinence, and that sun abstinence leads to vitamin D deficiency.”