We Are Sunshine

TODAY’S HEADLINE STORY: Skin care authorities are still getting it wrong when it comes to understanding UVA and UVB.

Monday, January 26th, 2009

Smart Tan is seeing a growing number of erroneous media reports claiming that indoor tanning is not a good source of vitamin D because it is “UVA tanning” — a mis-statement that many dermatology groups incorrectly spread in recent years.

2009-01-26-from-a-to-b-copy.jpgWomen’s health source was the most recent. In an article on their web site entitled “Are Tanning Beds a Safe Source of Vitamin D” the group says:

“While UVB rays account for the health benefits of sunshine, tanning salons are more interested in UVA rays. This is because overexposure to UVB rays, which affect the surface layers of skin, quickly causes sunburns. On the other hand, UVA rays are responsible for the golden-brown tan sought after by most salon patrons. As a result, most tanning salons calibrate their tanning beds to emit approximately 95 percent UVA rays. This calibration maximizes the tanning effects of the machine and minimizes the risk of burning. Unfortunately, it also minimizes the amount of vitamin D that can be metabolized relative to the exposure to damaging ultraviolet rays.”

They’re wrong. Outdoor sunlight, in the summer in North America is about 95 percent UVA at mid-day — much like most indoor tanning equipment. Most tanning equipment in the market emits about 95 percent UVA and 5 percent UVB.

“It is amazing how many skin-care experts don’t know anything about photobiology,” Smart Tan Vice President Joseph Levy said. “They are confused when it comes to UVB and UVA, and they are only making the public confusion greater.”