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That’s right. The American Academy of Dermatology was apparently appalled with the results from one of their recent surveys. Why, you ask? Well, they were astounded that 47% responders either incorrectly believed or were unsure whether developing a base tan would prevent them from getting a sunburn.
It looks like semantics are at play here, with “prevent” being the key word. Nothing in life is absolute, kids. Nada. But as all professionally trained salon operators are aware (especially graduates of the IST Magazine Sun is Life® Salon Operator Certification course), a base tan obtained in moderation and responsibility will “minimize” the risk of UV overexposure and sunburn.
Next up: 35% of survey respondents incorrectly believe or were unsure that as long as you don’t burn, tanning is “safe.” Well, again, those who have passed the Sun is Life program are well aware that the Food and Drug Administration regulates indoor UV tanning systems (Class II medical devices) under 21 CFR1040.20 and forbids “safety” claims, which are monitored by the Federal Trade Commission. So, of course, we can’t say tanning is “safe.” But we can indicate that “indoor tanning allows for UV exposure to be delivered in moderation according to individual skin type and controlled by a timer that reduces the risk of overexposure and sunburn.”
One more survey nugget: 31% are unaware that tanning causes cancer. Huh? If that was correct (that a tan causes cancer), then EVERYBODY who has a tan would have cancer! Well, they also list some advice.
“Seek shade between the hours of 10am-2pm.”
Okay, here’s the potential scenario: A couple with two kids save up enough money (maybe COVID Relief cash?) and drive through traffic-heavy morning hours to get to a beach for some relaxation. Dad finds a parking spot, drags out the cooler, beach chairs and pop-up tent (sweating, maybe cussing) and loads everything onto a big-wheel beach cart. Mom has the kids, food, basket of lotions, toys and towels. Their feet are scorched as they wade through the sand and find a place to set up for the day. They slather the kids with SPF and turn them loose to enjoy the beach under Dad’s and Mom’s watchful eyes. After erecting the tent that wants to blow away and needs to be anchored (rookie mistake), the couple collapses into their beach chairs. It’s 9:30am and 30 minutes later, a timer goes off on Mom’s smartphone, reminding her to gather the younguns and instruct them to “seek shade” for the next four hours. Dad grabs Mom’s phone and chucks it into the gently breaking waves, mumbling something about cornering the market with SPF purchases and to nudge him when it’s lunchtime.
Hey, why not give the ol’ parents some prudent advice? Like, be aware of the strength of the sun’s rays between 10am and 2pm and the importance of using a protective product with the correct SPF level, reapplying throughout the exposure (especially if in and out of the water)? You know, something that Mom and Dad can actually “do.”
You too, can take the survey at practicesafesun.org. Joe’s advice: when outside this summer enjoying the sun or an indoor UV session, practice moderation and responsibility!
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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