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We Are Sunshine

Smart Tanning Means Teaching The Appropriate Usage of Sunscreen

Tuesday, March 11th, 2008

The professional indoor tanning community teaches sunscreen usage outdoors more effectively than those who market sunscreens themselves. That’s because sunscreen marketers promote overuse of their product – twisting the science into a multibillion-dollar business.

Simply stated, sunscreen should be used as a tool to prevent sunburn whenever sunburn is a possibility. It should not be used on a daily basis in climates and seasons when sunburn is not possible. While the tanning community does support the use of sunscreens as a tool to prevent sunburn outdoors, we do not believe it is proper to teach people to wear this product during times of the year when one would not be able to sunburn outdoors. That is misbranding the product.

2008-03-10-sunscreen-101-tanningnews-copy.jpgThat is why the professional indoor tanning community teaches proper sunscreen usage more effectively than those who simply tell the public to wear the product 365 days a year: The tanning industry’s approach is more credible and practical.

Make no mistake, sunscreen is a good product with an intelligent usage: the prevention of sunburn. But it is not necessary to wear this product daily most of the year in most climates to prevent sunburn. Yet many in the $35 billion sun-care industry encourage everyone to wear products with sunscreen 365 days a year – no matter where they live. This is misuse of the product and may in fact cause more harm than good in the long run. Please consider:

  1. Sun exposure to the skin is the body’s natural way to produce Vitamin D – it is the way you are intended to get it. An estimated 90 percent of the vitamin D in our systems comes from sun exposure. In fact, according to accepted anthropologic evolutionary theory, that’s why fair-skinned cultures developed fair skin: To better produce vitamin D from sunlight.
  2. Vitamin D is very rare in foods and the form of vitamin D you get from foods and dietary supplements is not the same as Vitamin D produced naturally from sun exposure to the skin.
  3. Wearing sunscreen in northern climates most of the year totally blocks your body’s ability to produce vitamin D. An SPF 8 blocks 92.5 percent of vitamin D production; and SPF 15 blocks 99 percent of vitamin D production.
  4. Women’s cosmetics today almost always contain sunscreen. It is very difficult for women to find products that do not block UV exposure.

Again, while sunscreen is an excellent product that has an intelligent usage in the fight against sunburn, overuse of the product may have serious consequences as well. Because most women wear foundation products daily, their make-up may be preventing them from producing vitamin D much of the year. And because women are more likely than men to develop osteoporosis, making up 18 million of the 25 million Americans afflicted with the disease, they would stand to benefit even more from an increase in vitamin D production.


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