NBCNews.com, Jan. 22, 2013: The tanning industry has a new campaign aimed at promoting the safety of sunbed use. The American Academy of Dermatology has fired back accusing the tanning industry ot making claims that are "ridiculous" and unsupported by scientific evidence. The dermatology group said that, "Indoor tanning is dangerous."
The tanning association, American Suntanning Association (ASA) was created in December and is made up of 1400 salon owners. The association hopes to boost the already $5 billion industry by defending itself against evidence of the harms caused by indoor tanning. They claim that doctors and other health authorities are conspiring to unnecessarily scare the public about tanning. The tanning association has hired a major public relations firm, Global Strategy Group, and plans to work with scientists who already suport a balanced message about UV exposure.
"Jerod Stapleton, assistant professor of medicine at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey said many of the contrary studies cited by indoor tanning proponents are not peer reviewed and appear to rely on cherry-picked data, have methodological flaws or have been funded by industry. 'It's an interesting way of going about it, he said. 'If you don't like what the science says, just do do your own.'"
The tanning industry claims that tanning is a good source of Vitamin D which is created by the body in response to UV light. The Institute of Medicine which is a part of the National Academy of Sciences says there isn't enough evidence to prove the vitamin provides any benefits other than improving bone health and disputes the notion that there is an epidemic of Vitamin D deficiency.
UV light is used for medical treatments for some skin conditions including psoriasis and atopic dermatitis but the use of UV light in a medical setting is far different from a tanning bed in a salon where there is no medical doctor with appropriate training and expertise.
The Texas Attorney General has sued a salon chain for claiming sunbeds reduce the risk of cancer and provide other health benefits. This case is scheduled to go to trial later this year.
There are indoor tanning addicts that will go no matter what they hear or read. They go even after having skin cancers removed. They go until their skin is wrinkled and sometimes a very, unnatural shade of brown.
Proceed with caution. Any burn to your skin creates long-term damage, loss of elasticity and collagen that creates wrinkles, and brown spots. No doubt you can expect to see more coverage in the media regarding this subject.