They may look evocative and sassy, but they are powerful, calculating publishing monsters with an agenda driven purely by profit. Although their editorial message may come across as helpful to an audience looking for health and beauty guidance, the magazine’s position on issues such as diet, fashion and health care are all carefully crafted to maximize their value to big-money advertisers.
Beauty magazines – with powerful advertising and glamorous photography – are a powerful shaper of public opinion in modern society. While beauty magazine editors will acknowledge that their editorial format is in fact largely an “advertorial” mix of editorial and advertising, few are willing to openly admit that this affects their spin on reporting the true nature of research about UV light. But consider:
- According to a Smart Tan survey, the average beauty magazine contains 21 pages of anti-tanning skin-care advertising at rates as high as $50,000 a page. That’s more than $1 million in revenue per issue from advertisers whose products are being marketed to scare people from any exposure to sunlight – no wonder these magazines frequently write about the “evils” of sun exposure. Some have even called for their readers to “boycott” tanning salons.
- The average beauty magazine also contains 6 pages of tobacco industry advertising, but seldom writes about the evils of smoking. Do you think that’s related?
- Often, when a beauty magazine writes a story with a “sun scare” angle, products or services provided by advertisers are weaved right into the story. “In any beauty article, there is some crossover between ads and editorial,” New Woman magazine editor Susan Kane wrote in response to a letter from the International Smart Tan Network. Smart Tan objected to New Woman’s characterization of sun exposure, “The sun, in effect, bakes the proteins in the skin and changes their appearance and function.” That’s not what happens in the sun – it’s “sun scare.”
Instead of supporting this message this spring, consider tossing beauty magazines out of your salon altogether. And consider replacing them with “Real” magazine – the natural guide to healthy living. Every issue contains material supporting the benefits of regular sun exposure. Call (800) 652-3269, or 866-795-3755 in Canada.