We Are Sunshine

TODAY’S HEADLINE STORY: New study suggests sun scare purveyors should change their approach

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Sun Scare pundits should concentrate on the cosmetic effects of tanning rather than the health effects in their over-the-top efforts to scare people out of the sun, a study in the journal Cancer reported this week.

2008-10-23-sun-scare-tactics-copy.jpg“Giving young indoor tanning enthusiasts the ugly truth about how ultraviolet light can affect their skin’s appearance, as well as offering alternatives to the bronzed look, can help them to reduce their tanning bed use, new research published in the journal Cancer shows,” Reuters news service reported.

The news service quoted one of the researchers, Dr. Joel Hillhouse of East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, as saying: “When you’re trying to get people to reduce skin cancer risk, focusing on appearance issues works.”

According to Reuters, Hillhouse said that people who use tanning beds and booths actually know more about their health risks — including the risk of melanoma — than those who don’t use them.

“The ironic part of all this is that Hillhouse and his colleagues are essentially advocating lying to people in order to change their behavior,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “Wrinkles are a cosmetic disorder — there is no justifiable reason to base a public health intervention based on wrinkles. What’s more, as we’ve pointed out repeatedly, the Sun Scare lobby needs to consider that the reason their message isn’t working is that people are figuring out that they aren’t being truthful about health risks and they are totally denying the health benefits associated with regular UV exposure.”

Research suggests that repeated sunburn may be a risk factor for permanent skin damage, but no study design has ever isolated moderate, non-burning exposure to indoor tanning or outdoor tanning as a significant risk factor for skin damage.

Click here to read the Reuters story.