False: ‘There is no such thing as a safe tan, no such thing as a healthy tan’

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

“The skin cancer epidemic continues to grow,” it says in boldface letters. Dr. Louis Barich, a Southwest Ohio dermatologist and member of the ODA, said there is plenty of evidence that tanning beds are a detriment to health.

He also says natural UV radiation can be just as harmful.

“There is no such thing as a safe tan, no such thing as a healthy tan,” Barich said. “I tell my patients about the risks of skin cancer formation, the increased aging of the skin. I tell them about the deterioration of the immune system.”

Contrary to Dr. Barich’s assertion, the vast majority of people who spend time in the sun do not get melanoma or other skin cancers. Click for CDC melanoma rates. Note that melanoma rates in many sunshine states (e.g., Florida, California, Texas) are relatively low. Tans can also be protective against sunburn — a skin cancer risk factor.

10 thoughts on “False: ‘There is no such thing as a safe tan, no such thing as a healthy tan’”

  1. I remember the nurse when I took my college physical angrily castigating me for wearing long sleeve shirts and having no tan, (I don’t tan, I burn and turn white again), she was very upset with me.

  2. Skin cancer was never on the radar as a problem in and around the farming communities where my grandparents lived and worked – outside in the sun with no sunscreen. Although there was such a contraption as a sun bonnet to ward off the sunburn. They lived into their 80s and so did their friends unless they got hit by a train or a car at a crossroads or fell into their machinery or ruptured an appendix. Maybe it was the lard that protected them.

  3. my wifed died of melanoma, the cancerspecialist told her that melanoma’s are created before the age 15 due to extreme sunburn. After that age, so she said, the skin is much less likely to become cancerous with melanoma’s

  4. You may also be interested to know there is no credible scientific study in the world that shows sunscreen protects you from melanoma…for thirty years we’ve been slip-slop-slapping on the Emperor’s New Sunscreen in the name of melanoma protection, but secretly been cooking regardless.

    I had the Cancer Society on about this recently: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pJ286vnlUtk

    That’s the real reason melanoma rates are high…sunscreens don’t work. And you are right, lower vitamin D levels mean higher rates of cancer.

  5. These people should be held responsible for the increase in prostate and other cancers statistically linked to low vitamin D.

  6. Maybe I’m being simple-minded but perhaps blanket statements relating sun exposure to skin cancer are inappropriate. Instead, perhaps we should consider the possibility that some people are more likely to develop skin cancer based on factors such as skin pigmentation. I have rather fair skin and am vulnerable to sun burns if I don’t take precautions. Consequently, I’m more likely to suffer from skin cancer so I wear appropriate clothing when I’m outdoors during peak sunlight hours. There is tendency to attribute just about any human suffering to the actions of other “imagined” nefarious humans. Its like there is some primordial drive that makes some humans seek blame in others rather than adopt common sense solutions. I’ve seen how UV light causes cross-linking in DNA in a laboratory setting so it seems prudent to take precautions when outdoors. I don’t try to sue outdoor equipment and bathing suit manufacturers.

  7. Similar to what I heard. I have heard for decades that 75% of melanoma victims had a severe sunburn as an infant. Well before age 15.

  8. Agreed. I have had a dozen skin cancers. I have lost count. Moh’s 3 times. I have lived my life in the sun.

    The last time I had a colonoscopy, they told me not to come back. For 10 years. Absolutely no sign of anything in my colon. As long as my skin cancers don’t kill me, living in the sun was worth it.

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