Markus Gann / Shutterstock.com
If there ever was an example that highlights the reason why you need a trained staff, it’s to offer factual info about our industry to your salon guests and prospective customers to counter that which is promoted in this type of negative media. This report comes to us from a source called fredhutch.org. I’ll concentrate on just the top two “myths.”
HUTCH NEWS Skin cancer myths – debunked
“Experts take on base tans and other ‘complete baloney’ standing in the way of skin health”
Aug. 2, 2017
Tanning beds are harmful for skin health, period, said experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. As the weather heats up and the sunny outdoors beckons, throw some knowledge about skin cancer into your beach bag along with your towel and flip flops. Unfortunately, said skin cancer experts at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, myths about skin health abound – many of which are promoted by the multibillion-dollar tanning-salon industry. Have you heard any of these skin-cancer untruths? Check your knowledge and protect yourself.
Even with the summer sun in its full glory, the most dangerous myths on the minds of Fred Hutch experts right now involve indoor tanning. There are so many harmful myths floating around about tanning salons that it’s hard to know which ones to tackle first. Do not, under any circumstance, use a tanning bed or a tanning lamp. And if you already have, don’t use them any more.
Actually, the opposite is true: Devices like tanning beds and sun lamps can emit higher amounts of ultraviolet radiation than the sun, including both UVA and UVB radiation. UV radiation of any type increases your cancer risk, and the more you get, the higher your risk. “Tanning booths increase your risk of melanoma a ridiculous amount because they use really unnatural levels of UV light that you’re never exposed to in nature,” Lee said, referring to one of the most deadly types of skin cancer. Only 1 percent of people diagnosed each year with skin cancer have melanoma, according to the American Cancer Society, but it’s responsible for most skin cancer deaths. A 2003 study of tanning facilities in North Carolina found that the average amount of UVA radiation emitted by the beds in the study was four times higher than what’s emitted by the noontime sun, and the average UVB radiation level was nearly twice as high as the sun. The study also found that patrons were commonly in the beds for far longer than U.S. Food and Drug Administration-recommended limits for exposure to such dangerously high radiation.
Okay, let’s start with the fact the FDA prohibits salons from even stating that sunbeds and indoor tanning are safer than the sun. The FTC enforces the prohibition. Sunbeds offer a controlled environment for obtaining a cosmetic tan, controlled by delivering sessions according to individual skin type and a timer that minimizes the risk of overexposure and sunburn. The sun offers no such control. Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that affects more men than women with the median age being over 55, hardly the majority demographic for indoor tanners. Now, let’s move to the oft quoted “noontime sun.” The intensity of the sun is affected by time of day, time of year, proximity to the equator and reflective surfaces such as snow, water and sand. The intensity at noon in Portland, ME in December is not even close to the intensity of the sun in Montego Bay, Jamaica at noon in July. There is no generic “noontime sun.”
Tanning salons advertise that getting a “controlled” tan in a tanning bed at the beginning of the summer protects you by making it harder for you to burn when you go outside. “That’s something that we see people being told all the time at skin-tanning parlors – that it’s healthy to get a ‘base tan,’” said Dr. John Thompson, who co-directs the Melanoma Clinic at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Fred Hutch’s clinical care partner. “That’s just complete baloney.” The bottom line: “Tanning parlors actually give people UV radiation, which is harmful for their skin,” Thompson said. Ultraviolet light, no matter if you’re exposed indoors or out in the sun, damages your DNA in a way that can lead to the development of cancer. “Even the darkest coloration of the skin with melanin only has an SPF [sun protection factor] equivalent to about 5,” Cranmer said. So, in comparison, the small amount of melanin that a fair-complexioned person would get as a result of a so-called base tan “isn’t really going to provide significant protection,” he said. The best solution, Cranmer said: Use sun-blocking clothing and sunscreen, and avoid the sun from late morning until late afternoon. And never visit a tanning salon.
Clearly, an SPF factor of 5 is better than no SPF at all! Dr. Thompson misses the position that during the summer, people flock to the beaches, pools, parks, ballfields, playgrounds, tennis courts, golf courses and more to spend countless hours in the sun. What admonishments does Dr. Thompson give to these types of facilities where young children are exposed to the harsh rays of the sun? Does he call on the Chamber of Commerce, the YMCA, the local parks division or others to halt sun exposure? Strangely, he is silent.
Don’t think for a minute that I missed that semantic gesture of calling tanning salons “skin-tanning parlors.” Let me ask you, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word “parlor?” Do you think it’s a positive or negative connotation? Okay, maybe some of you thought of an ice cream parlor. I definitely consider it negative. However, when was the last time you even heard your salon called a “parlor?”
When it comes to running a professional tanning facility, education is key! Sun is Life® Training and Certification is an excellent way to get your staff up to speed with factual information on UV exposure. Perhaps best of all, it’s super affordable and available on line, 24/7. For more info, visit sunislife.com.
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.
Copyright 2016 ist Magazine