We Are Sunshine

Some Dermatologists Are Preaching Smart Tanning

Tuesday, March 25th, 2008

While most of the dermatology profession has an inexplicably myopic view about tanning, many enlightened dermatologists have broken ranks with their peers in recent years, urging their profession to re-think its one-sided dogma about sun exposure. Two of the most recent:

• Research dermatologist Dr. Sam Shuster, professor emeritus to the Department of Dermatology at Newcastle University in northern England, challenged his peers to quantify the alleged increase in skin cancer incidence, which is not based on actual numbers but only estimates. In the book, “Panic Nation: Unpicking the Myths We’re Told About Food and Health” Shuster calls his peers to acknowledge that a tan is the body’s natural protection against sunburn – a reality that has been all but stampeded under the establishment’s rhetoric. “Unfortunately our attitude to sun and ultra-violet (UV) light is subject to much perverse and dubious technical ‘advice’, which society has passively accepted without questioning its provenance,” Shuster writes.

2008-03-25-breaking-ranks-copy2.jpg • Boston University Professor of Dermatology Dr. Michael Holick – the scientist who discovered the active form of vitamin D in the early 1970s – wrote the book “The UV Advantage” in 2004, urging people to embrace moderate exposure to ultraviolet light as the body’s natural way to produce vitamin D. Holick is widely considered the world’s leading authority on vitamin D production. “Since some exposure to sunlight is beneficial to your health, it is reasonable that if you wish to be exposed to sunlight, that you can do so with relative safety if you make sure that you do not receive a sunburn,” Holick says.

Shortly after publishing “The UV Advantage” in 2004 Holick was asked to resign his dermatology professorship at Boston University by department chair Dr. Barbara Gilchrest, who called his assertions about the positive effects of UV light “schlock science.” Since that time all of Holick’s work has been supported by hundreds of independent studies conducted by the vitamin D research community.

Read more from Shuster and Holick by visiting Smart Tan’s consumer web site,