The research dermatologist largely credited for founding pathology procedures used in dermatology — dermatopathology — agreed with Smart Tan’s position that sunburn, not sun exposure, is the UV-related risk factor for melanoma and that over-the-top anti-UV messages are harmful.
“Smart Tan got it! But the Skin Cancer Foundation, like the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology, does not get it,” Ackerman, who passed away in 2008, wrote in his book The Sun and the ‘Epidemic’ of Melanoma: Myth on Myth.
Ackerman, decorated by the American Academy of Dermatology with the group’s Master Dermatologist designation (its highest honor), was one of several dermatology leaders who take issue with dermatology organizations who attempt to characterize tans as damage. Tans are different fundamentally from sunburns, Ackerman pointed out. “A sunburn is pathologic, it calling forth redness at the least, ulcerations and scarring at worst, and blisters in between. A suntan is physiologic, the result of normal melanocytes at the dermoedidermal junctions producing more melanin for the epidermis, that dark pigment serving to protect against ultraviolet radiation.”
In his Myth on Myth book, Ackerman quoted Newcastle University Professor of Dermatology Dr. Sam Shuster, summing up tans as part of nature’s design: “The dogma, now fossilized in print, is that any tan is a sign of skin damage. Tell that to Darwin.”
Ackerman, who has more than 700 published papers and studies to his name in a career that dates back to 1962, founded the International Society of Dermatopathology and was founder and director emeritus of the Ackerman Academy of Dermatopathology, training pathology students on dermatology related work. He was an advocate of evidence-based medicine and has been highly critical of the dermatology industry’s over-blown, unsupported allegations that any and all sun exposure should be avoided.
He believed Smart Tan has done a better job advocating the whole truth about melanoma than the Skin Cancer Foundation, the American Academy of Dermatology and the American Cancer Society.
“Paradoxically, business sometimes is more academic than academe,” Ackerman said, citing this portion of Smart Tan’s Position:
“What about melanoma skin cancer? Melanoma is the only form of skin cancer that is aggressive with any regularity. But you need to understand this clearly: Melanoma skin cancer does not fit the mold of other skin cancers for the following reasons:
That is important, considering that most of the studies did not account for confounding variables such as outdoor exposure to sunlight, childhood sunburns, type of tanning equipment utilized and duration and quantity of exposures. So the professional indoor tanning industry is doing its part to help individuals of all skin types minimize their risks by teaching them how to avoid sunburn at all costs. We are promoting smart, moderate tanning for those individuals who can promote a tan.”
Of Smart Tan’s position Ackerman wrote, “Smart Tan got it! But the Skin Cancer Foundation, like the American Cancer Society and the American Academy of Dermatology, does not get it.”
Ackerman slammed those groups for taking money from sunscreen manufacturers in exchange for their endorsement of those manufacturers’ products — a relationship he believes compromises dermatology’s academic integrity.
SmartTan.com news articles regularly report medical and scientific information to keep you abreast of current events related to UV light. This information is not intended to be used by any party to make unwarranted health claims to promote sunbed usage. Indoor tanning businesses are obligated to communicate a fair and balanced message to all clients about your products and services including the potential risks associated with indoor tanning. Contact your Smart Tan representative to find out more about what you can and can’t say in your tanning salon business.
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