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There’s typically a plethora of Watchdog-oriented media releases from which to choose. As we’ve turned the corner of summer into fall, let’s check out a few from the American Academy of Dermatology and their “top research-backed facts.”
1. Tanning beds are NOT safer than the sun. Just one indoor tanning session can increase the risk of developing skin cancer. The evidence that indoor tanning dramatically increases your risk of getting skin cancer is so strong that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires warning labels on all indoor tanning equipment.
Hey, we can’t even use the word “safe.” The FDA forbids claims and marketing of the safety of indoor tanning sessions. Use of this type of claim is also monitored by the Federal Trade Commission. FYI: drinking too much milk isn’t safe! Recent research conducted with over 60,000 women (age 39-74) and 45,000 men (age 45-79) found that too much milk – three or more glasses a day – was not only associated with mortality but also an increased risk of fracture and hip fracture.
2. Tanning – indoors or with the sun – makes your skin age more quickly. Wrinkles, age spots, and loss of skin firmness tend to appear years earlier in people who tan. Anyone who tans can also develop leathery skin, which people who never tan don’t get.
Daily UV overexposure and sunburn actually do have a deleterious effect on our skin. However, not getting sufficient sleep, smoking, drinking excessive alcohol, eating too many sugary foods and significant stress levels all play strong roles in the effects of aging.
3. Using tanning beds can cause a serious injury. In emergency rooms across the United States, people are treated for burns, loss of consciousness, and eye injuries caused by indoor tanning.
Well, let’s go to the numbers. The incidence of indoor tanning-related injuries has declined over the last decade – from 6,487 in 2003 to 1,957 in 2012. Now, let’s multiply the number of tanning sessions that are delivered from the thousands of sunbeds and booths operating in the U.S. every day/every year. For fun, let’s work those numbers. Let’s estimate that there are 10,000 salons x 5 beds in each x just 3 sessions per day x 5 days per week. That’s 750,000 sessions per DAY, not per week, month or year. That’s an ER visit for every .0026 sessions. One visit to the ER is one too many, but considering risk (and 2020 has certainly been a year for that), indoor tanning ranks quite low.
4. Getting enough vitamin D from tanning beds isn’t possible. You may have heard that your body makes a lot of vitamin D when you use a tanning bed. It doesn’t. The bulbs used in tanning beds emit mostly UVA light; however, your body needs UVB light to make vitamin D.
As stated earlier, our industry can’t make health claims about moderate UV exposure provided by a tanning facility. But when you call out that sunbeds can’t produce sufficient vitamin D … well, I’ll reference just one study. (No claims by Joe, just a study.) ec.europa.eu/health/scientific_committees/scheer/docs/sunbeds_co126a_en.pdf
5. “To maintain a summer level through the winter, when no vitamin D is produced by the sun in northern countries, one should consider increasing the recommended intake of vitamin D significantly, or encourage the population to get moderate, nonerythemal sunbed exposures.”
The bottom line: A professional indoor tanning facility provides a controlled environment in which to achieve a cosmetic tan responsibly and in moderation. To learn how to elevate the level of professionalism at your business, get going on your Sun is Life® Training TODAY!
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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