The news is filled with claims of the dangers of ultraviolet radiation and tanning.
JunkScience.com has put together a list of 10 commonly parroted myths to provide some balance to all the unbridled fearmongering.
- Myth: Tanning is just not worth the risk
- Myth: There is no safe exposure to UV radiation
- Myth: UV radiation causes melanoma
- Myth: The World Health Organization has determined that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma
- Myth: There is an epidemic of melanoma
- Myth: Melanoma is epidemic among young women
- Myth: Melanoma is epidemic among teenage girls
- Myth: Tanning beds are more dangerous than the sun
- Myth: Indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma by 75%
- Myth: All studies show that indoor tanning increases the risk of melanoma
- Myth: Tanning provides no health benefits.
Why have these myths been perpetuated? Who is behind them?
Sunscreen industry. As market research firm IBISWorld observes:
The increasingly essential nature of sunscreen has been a boon for the Sunscreen Manufacturing industry… Consumers’ growing spending power will allow shoppers to buy more and higher-priced sun protection products, increasing downstream demand from retailers.
The myths that underlie the “essential nature of sunscreen” have helped build the suncreen manufacturers into a $1.3 billion industry.
Dermatologists. Phototherapy is a UV-B treatment prescribed by dermatologists for skin conditions like psoriasis.
According to a June 2013 study in the Journal of Dermatological Treatment,
Use of phototherapy in the United States declined during the 1990s, largely due to unfavorable economic incentives.
A major “unfavorable economic incentive” has been the development of commercial indoor tanning salons that can deliver phototherapy-like UVB radiation, but for a fraction of the price.
Not all dermatologists espouse anti-tanning propaganda and sunscreen is useful for preventing sunburn.
That said, when you hear extreme statements about tanning keep in mind the myth-busting presented above and consider the source of the statement. You may discover that someone is using junk science to adversely impact your health and quality of life.