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This month’s report of interest just popped into my lap. Whilst enjoying a nice, sunny day in early fall and skimming for some articles about indoor tanning, this headline in the online issue of Glamour UK lurched up like a starved dog grabbing a treat out of my hand.
“Sunbeds are suddenly trending on social media, so are they ever a good idea?”
I think it was the words “suddenly trending” that attracted me. Hey, UK! Newsflash: tanning beds have been in commercial use in the U.S. spanning over five decades! Perhaps they were referencing all the cool ways to achieve a tan now being featured on TikTok – among them is using nasal spray to enhance results (yikes). I covered that enterprise in a “Watchdog” piece a few months ago. Spraying a substance up your nose from a bottle you picked up online that lists no ingredients, no FDA warning, in the hopes of getting a better tan may not be the best idea. Perhaps Darwinism at work?
But I digress.
The article also states that “melanoma kills six people every day. And there’s loads we can do to avoid it. Like avoiding sunbeds.” Slow down, Sylvester. According to our Center for Disease Control (please no groans, I know we have heard a lot from those folks lately), the risk factors include: having red or blond hair, blue or green eyes, freckles or moles on your skin, a history of skin cancer, family history of skin cancer, light skin color and old age. But they also state, “minimizing exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can help keep your skin healthy and lower your chances of getting skin cancer in the future,” and suggest using proper amounts of SPF products.
Note that this is one source that doesn’t advocate only sunbed avoidance. Because, to roughly quote Shakespeare, “therein lies the rub” – the rub being that simply avoiding sunbeds does not mean you will be immune to developing melanoma. It’s also noteworthy: despite references by many sources that skin cancer is on the rise among young women 24-29 years of age (and directly or indirectly implying that it’s from sunbed use), the latency period for melanoma can be 30-40 years. I’m no math scholar, but it doesn’t take Pythagoras to see that statement just doesn’t add up!
When seeking a cosmetic tan, we suggest choosing wisely. Millions do, by choosing moderate and responsible UV sessions provided in a timer-controlled sunbed at a professional indoor tanning facility. Cheers!
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
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