We Are Sunshine

Smart Tan Responds To Another Story About Base Tans

Friday, January 30th, 2009

Dermatology’s most ridiculous assertion – that base tans don’t protect against sunburn — reared its ugly head again this week in a Fox News broadcast that has gone viral on the internet. Dermatologist Mitch Chasin tells Fox News: “It’s a fallacy that we can prepare our skin for a vacation — that we can get this base tan safely. It’s just not true.Tanning parlors have the same kind of ultraviolet radiation that the sun does. There;s UVA and UVB rays. Both are harmful to us.”

2009-01-29-the-base-tan-tanningnews-copy.jpgSmart Tan sent a response (below) to the Fox story. Smart Tan’s response is available in PDF form for Smart Tan members (Call Smart Tan at 800-652-3269 or 866-795-3755 in Canada to have the pdf e-mailed to you.).

To view the Fox story on the internet click here.

The Base Tan: Why It’s Natural and Why It Works

The value of a base tan, as any indoor tanner knows, is that it adds another layer to your sunburn-protection arsenal — making sunscreen worn outdoors for outings on sunny days even more effective. Millions of indoor tanners visit professional indoor tanning facilities every winter and spring to develop “base tans.” Here is why it works:

  • SPF:  The effectiveness of sunscreen products is measured in what is called “Sun Protection Factor” (or SPF). An SPF 15 product means a user can spend 15 times longer in the sun while wearing sunscreen before they would sunburn.
  • NATURAL PROTECTION:  A 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. For example, depending on many factors as determined by a trained operator, a typical indoor tanner may begin tanning with a 5-minute tanning session. During the course of about a month he/she will gradually develop a tan and work her/his way up to a 20-minute session. At this point, she/he becomes naturally FOUR TIMES more resilient to sunburn than when she/he first started tanning. (5 minutes x 4 = 20 minutes). So that tan has an SPF 4 value.
  • NOW ADD SUNSCREEN:  When someone with a base tan uses sunscreen outdoors, they essentially multiply the effectiveness of the sunscreen. In other words, an SPF 15 product applied to the skin of a person whose base tan has already made her/him four times more resilient to sunburn creates a net SPF of 60. (SPF 15 x 4 = SPF 60) as compared to their un-tanned skin without sunscreen.

Here’s the key point: In sunny environments many fair-skinned people can and will sunburn during normal outdoor activities even while wearing sunscreen. But with a base tan developed gradually in a professional tanning facility — an environment designed to minimize the risk of sunburn — that person’s sunscreen becomes 3-4 times more effective and they become much less likely to sunburn. The base tan works.

Those who say base tans don’t work are denying literally millions of everyday case studies to the contrary. What’s worse, their argument is based solely on the old-school thinking that all UV exposure is damage to the skin and should be avoided — a dangerously myopic stance that flies in the face of holistic health. We now know that overzealous sun avoidance benefits the $35 billion cosmetics and sunscreen markets, who preach daily over-use of SPF product year-round. And this all-out “sun scare” has contributed to the worldwide Vitamin D Deficiency epidemic.