We Are Sunshine

Smart Tan Asks Radio Host John Tesh To Correct His Tanning Rant

Monday, March 30th, 2009

Smart Tan Vice President This week responded to John Tesh’s March 18 rant urging his listeners to stop tanning — a request based on a list of misinformation that he read on the air. Levy’s response follows below. For a pdf copy, please call Smart Tan’s member services department at 800-652-3269 or 866-795-3755 in Canada.

2009-03-26-tisk-tesh-tanningnews-copy.jpgMarch 26, 2009

TO: John Tesh, The Tesh Media Group
FROM: Joseph Levy, International Smart Tan Network
RE: Correction Required

Dear Mr. Tesh –

You let down countless numbers of loyal listeners with your factually inaccurate and potentially damaging rant “Tanning Beds Can Be Dangerous” about professional indoor tanning facilities. Because you presented incorrect information that could unfairly damage thousands of legitimate businesses, you need to correct the record and retract your story immediately.


1) You have incorrectly characterized UV light. Humans and all life on the planet need regular UV exposure to function properly. And while overexposure and sunburn are to be avoided, there is no study anywhere that implicates moderate UV exposure in a non-burning fashion from any source as a significant risk factor for melanoma. Saying that UV light is dangerous and should be avoided is as misleading as saying that water causes drowning, and therefore we should avoid water. It is a useless, misleading and inaccurate statement.

2) You are 100 percent dead wrong saying that “you can’t get vitamin D from a tanning bed and you don’t need sunshine to get it either.” Any photo-biologist will tell you that UVB exposure to the skin is the body’s intended way to make vitamin D. In fact, that is exactly why indoor tanning equipment was first invented – to help light-deprived people make vitamin D. In fact, a University of Colorado-Denver study this week showed that all-out sun-avoidance is causing vitamin D deficiency in Americans to skyrocket: CLICK HERE FOR THE STUDY.

Sources of Vitamin D   Vitamin D Content 
UVB exposure from tanning 10,000 – 20,000 IU
Cod Liver Oil (1 tsp.) 400 – 1,000 IU
Salmon (fresh, wild, 3.5 oz.) 600 – 1,000 IU
Salmon (farmed, 3.5 oz.) 100-250 IU
Fortified Milk (8 oz.) 100 IU
Fortified orange juice (8 oz.) 100 IU

3) Any photo-biologist can tell you that UV light, in addition to making vitamin D in the skin, also triggers the production of endorphins which make us feel good and improve mood. An estimated 38 million American suffer from “winter blues” – also know as Seasonal Affective Disorder. The NIH researcher who coined that term, Dr. Norman Rosenthal, has acknowledged that he has advised patients to visit indoor tanning facilities to informally treat SAD and winter blues and that it works. You are wrong, Mr. Tesh, and need to correct this point as well.

4) You claimed (incorrectly) that indoor tanning does not help to treat skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. And while tanning facilities follow protocol designed to tan the skin and not to treat medical conditions, it is true that 70 percent of facilities have clients referred to them by doctors to informally treat acne, psoriasis and eczema, which all respond positively to UV exposure.

5) People feel better when they have a tan because humanity is naturally attracted to sunlight. Our biology is designed that way because we need regular UV exposure just as we need air, water and food to live and thrive.

Instead of delivering a scientifically sound message, what you did, Mr. Tesh, with your story was to unfairly and inaccurately slam thousands of legitimate businesses by spreading misinformation spoon-fed to you by what we call the “sun scare” industry – a $35 billion a year commercial interest that tells people to avoid any-and-all UV exposure, to wear sunscreen 365 days a year in any climate – a recommendation which can no longer be questioned as being responsible for the epidemic levels of vitamin D deficiency in our society today.

Because your story was factually incorrect, you need to retract it. In the spirit of constructive cooperation, I would be happy to assist you in doing so. Blanket statements about UV exposure from any source are dinosaur mentality today and need to be buried in their stone-age past.


Joseph Levy, vice president
International Smart Tan Network

PS – You might consider reading a new book, “The Sunlight Solution” by Dr. Laurie Winn Carlson.
PPS – You might also check out “The UV Advantage” by Dr. Marc Sorenson.