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Where to start … there’s just so much to say. Of course, I very much hope that you, your families and friends all remain well and safe during these extraordinary times.
On many occasions, I have referred to the majestic benefits that came about with our world shrinking through the exceptional advances in travel, science, technology and communication. So never, ever, in my wildest dreams, did I expect to be thinking about “what if” scenarios in the context of these advances.
We are so interconnected as a world that I guess it was simply easier to ignore any suggestion or warnings of a potential global pandemic. After all, you can’t stop people from travelling. So why worry about what might never happen? But here we are.
Life is unlikely to be as we knew it before the COVID-19 virus for some time yet. But from whatever position we find ourselves in, we will adjust and we will progress.
I believe one important change has to be a re-adjustment of the sun-avoidance message. Although our understanding of this virus changes almost daily, one fact appears abundantly clear in an initial study from the USA: people from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, including the UK, Italy and Spain, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to people in countries that were not as severely affected by the virus. So, essentially, if your vitamin D status is high at the point of contracting the disease, you have a better chance of surviving it.
We already know that vitamin D helps to strengthen our immune system. We also know that the best and most natural source of vitamin D is sunshine. To my mind, the continuing emergence of such evidence is proof that the sun-avoidance scaremongering is not fact, but a social construct, the result of years of malicious propaganda. The anti-tanning lobby justifies its reckless, self-absorbed behaviour by claiming to save lives. How wrong they are. The anti-tanning brigade are so siloed, they have synthesised their own reality. Maybe this is the time when their ideology hits a wall called facts. We need to enjoy sunshine responsibly and always without burning.
As I write, tanning salons throughout the UK and Ireland must remain closed, entering their 9th week of lockdown at what is usually their busiest time of the year. In other European countries, salons have already re-opened and in a couple of countries, never even closed!
This dreadful pandemic remains a challenge and delivers uncertainty for many of us, regardless of our business or industry sector, and whether as individuals, workers or business owners. But one thing for sure is that some things simply don’t change. My European colleagues are seeing customers flock back to tanning as soon as they can. And what is also interesting to hear about is the wave of new tanning bed users whose primary objective is to top up their vitamin D naturally with the resulting cosmetic tan being a bonus!
Even in our darkest times, and wherever possible, we should always try to find a positive.
Stay well and stay safe, my friends!
In the tanning industry since 1982, Gary Lipman is Managing Director of the UK subsidary of Ergoline, and runs Ergoline Plus, the exclusive distributor for a wide range of sunless products & spray systems. He is also Chairman of the UK’s Sunbed Association & a European Sunlight Association member.
Copyright 2016 ist Magazine