We Are Sunshine

The Base Tan Works, Survey Shows

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

2010-03-10 The Base Tan Works copyMore than 9 out of 10 indoor tanning business owners believe that ‘base tans’ achieved in a tanning salon do protect indoor tanning enthusiasts from outdoor sunburn, according to the results of a poll conducted in early March.

According to the poll, 92 percent say base tans work, while only 8 percent believed they didn’t.

“The dermatology lobby has beat its head against the wall trying to convince people that base tans don’t exist and that any UV exposure is damage to the skin, but at the end of the day the science doesn’t support their view, and what’s going on in the real world doesn’t support them either,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Base tans work. Millions of tanners are walking proof.”

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.