Liubov Levytska / stock.adobe.com
It’s hotter than heck in most of the U.S. Hopefully, you’ve had a little break from running the salon to enjoy some time in the sun at the pool, lake or seashore.
As we all know (or should know), a base tan achieved in moderation in a sunbed can provide an SPF equivalent to about 3-4. So, how many of you wear a proper SPF and reapply? I would go out on a limb and suggest that sunbed aficionados and salon operators are probably the most “sun aware” people around. We know about prudent UV exposures and certainly the importance of avoiding overexposure and sunburn – a factor in developing skin cancer.
Interestingly, the anti-tanning folks seem to enjoy pointing the finger at tanning salons as the culprits in any perceived rise in skin cancer rates. Basically, their message is that if you tan in a tanning bed for any length of time, you’re doomed. How hypocritical are they when clearly (as has been proven many times), a person’s heredity, skin type, number of moles on the skin and lifetime occurrence of sunburn or erythema are leading factors in skin cancer rates? Well, they are.
Pounding a mantra of “avoid sunbeds and stay out of the sun between the hours of 10am-2pm,” they simply don’t get it. Instead of seeking to legislate age restrictions on indoor tanning (you can’t tan in a sunbed, but you can enlist in the military to serve our country), why are they not camped out in front of beaches, lakes and pools trying to restrict those, as well? Could you imagine a ban at Cocoa Beach, FL? “Sorry, folks! The beach is closed between 10am-2pm.” I can picture John Candy in the movie “Summer Rental” hearing that over a loudspeaker. He would have blown a fuse! It makes no sense!
Here’s a question: Am I the only one who uses products with different levels of SPF on different parts of my body? Face, ears, neck and shoulders get Water Babies SPF 50. (I have no shame.) Arms and belly get SPF 30, legs and feet get a 15. Hey, I’m covered head to toe AND I reapply as directed!
So, what is an SPF? Of course, it is an acronym for “sun protection factor” and its measure of how well it would protect you from UVB overexposure. Logically, one would think it means that an SPF 100 would be double the protection of an SPF 50. Alas, this is not true. According to the Environmental Working Group that studies such things, SPF 30 products block nearly 97% of UVB, SPF 50 blocks about 98% and SPF 100 blocks about 99%. How many people know that a 100 product blocks only 1% more UVB than a 50? I’m thinking not many.
So, the keys to minimizing skin cancer risk include: avoiding sunburn and overexposure, using the proper SPF product and reapplying as directed. Be sure to share this info with your salon guests! Of course, all this and much more is covered in our Sun is Life® Training program. Get the facts!
Be safe out there and enjoy the rest of your summer!
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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