Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?
Current guidelines for sun exposure are unhealthy and unscientific, controversial new research suggests—and quite possibly even racist. How did we get it so wrong?
These are dark days for supplements. Although they are a $30-plus billion market in the United States alone, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene, glucosamine, chondroitin, and fish oil have now flopped in study after study.
If there was one supplement that seemed sure to survive the rigorous tests, it was vitamin D. People with low levels of vitamin D in their blood have significantly higher rates of virtually every disease and disorder you can think of: cancer, diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, heart attack, stroke, depression, cognitive impairment, autoimmune conditions, and more. The vitamin is required for calcium absorption and is thus essential for bone health, but as evidence mounted that lower levels of vitamin D were associated with so many diseases, health experts began suspecting that it was involved in many other biological processes as well.
And they believed that most of us weren’t getting enough of it. This made sense. Vitamin D is a hormone manufactured by the skin with the help of sunlight. It’s difficult to obtain in sufficient quantities through diet. When our ancestors lived outdoors in tropical regions and ran around half naked, this wasn’t a problem. We produced all the vitamin D we needed from the sun.
But today most of us have indoor jobs, and when we do go outside, we’ve been taught to protect ourselves from dangerous UV rays, which can cause skin cancer. Sunscreen also blocks our skin from making vitamin D, but that’s OK, says the American Academy of Dermatology, which takes a zero-tolerance stance on sun exposure: “You need to protect your skin from the sun every day, even when it’s cloudy,” it advises on its website. Better to slather on sunblock, we’ve all been told, and compensate with vitamin D pills.
Yet vitamin D supplementation has failed spectacularly in clinical trials. Five years ago, researchers were already warning that it showed zero benefit, and the evidence has only grown stronger. In November, one of the largest and most rigorous trials of the vitamin ever conducted—in which 25,871 participants received high doses for five years—found no impact on cancer, heart disease, or stroke.
How did we get it so wrong? How could people with low vitamin D levels clearly suffer higher rates of so many diseases and yet not be helped by supplementation?
As it turns out, a rogue band of researchers has had an explanation all along. And if they’re right, it means that once again we have been epically misled.
These rebels argue that what made the people with high vitamin D levels so healthy was not the vitamin itself. That was just a marker. Their vitamin D levels were high because they were getting plenty of exposure to the thing that was really responsible for their good health—that big orange ball shining down from above.
One of the leaders of this rebellion is a mild-mannered dermatologist at the University of Edinburgh named Richard Weller. For years, Weller swallowed the party line about the destructive nature of the sun’s rays. “I’m not by nature a rebel,” he insisted when I called him up this fall. “I was always the good boy that toed the line at school. This pathway is one which came from following the data rather than a desire to overturn apple carts.”
Weller’s doubts began around 2010, when he was researching nitric oxide, a molecule produced in the body that dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure. He discovered a previously unknown biological pathway by which the skin uses sunlight to make nitric oxide.
It was already well established that rates of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and overall mortality all rise the farther you get from the sunny equator, and they all rise in the darker months. Weller put two and two together and had what he calls his “eureka moment”: Could exposing skin to sunlight lower blood pressure?
Sure enough, when he exposed volunteers to the equivalent of 30 minutes of summer sunlight without sunscreen, their nitric oxide levels went up and their blood pressure went down. Because of its connection to heart disease and strokes, blood pressure is the leading cause of premature death and disease in the world, and the reduction was of a magnitude large enough to prevent millions of deaths on a global level.
Wouldn’t all those rays also raise rates of skin cancer? Yes, but skin cancer kills surprisingly few people: less than 3 per 100,000 in the U.S. each year. For every person who dies of skin cancer, more than 100 die from cardiovascular diseases.
People don’t realize this because several different diseases are lumped together under the term “skin cancer.” The most common by far are basal-cell carcinomas and squamous-cell carcinomas, which are almost never fatal. In fact, says Weller, “When I diagnose a basal-cell skin cancer in a patient, the first thing I say is congratulations, because you’re walking out of my office with a longer life expectancy than when you walked in.” That’s probably because people who get carcinomas, which are strongly linked to sun exposure, tend to be healthy types that are outside getting plenty of exercise and sunlight.
Melanoma, the deadly type of skin cancer, is much rarer, accounting for only 1 to 3 percent of new skin cancers. And perplexingly, outdoor workers have half the melanoma rate of indoor workers. Tanned people have lower rates in general. “The risk factor for melanoma appears to be intermittent sunshine and sunburn, especially when you’re young,” says Weller. “But there’s evidence that long-term sun exposure associates with less melanoma.”
These are pretty radical words in the established dermatological community. “We do know that melanoma is deadly,” says Yale’s David Leffell, one of the leading dermatologists in the country, “and we know that the vast majority of cases are due to sun exposure. So certainly people need to be cautious.”
Still, Weller kept finding evidence that didn’t fit the official story. Some of the best came from Pelle Lindqvist, a senior research fellow in obstetrics and gynecology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, home of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Lindqvist tracked the sunbathing habits of nearly 30,000 women in Sweden over 20 years. Originally, he was studying blood clots, which he found occurred less frequently in women who spent more time in the sun—and less frequently during the summer. Lindqvist looked at diabetes next. Sure enough, the sun worshippers had much lower rates. Melanoma? True, the sun worshippers had a higher incidence of it—but they were eight times less likely to die from it.
So Lindqvist decided to look at overall mortality rates, and the results were shocking. Over the 20 years of the study, sun avoiders were twice as likely to die as sun worshippers.
There are not many daily lifestyle choices that double your risk of dying. In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, Lindqvist’s team put it in perspective: “Avoidance of sun exposure is a risk factor of a similar magnitude as smoking, in terms of life expectancy.”
The idea that slavish application of SPF 50 might be as bad for you as Marlboro 100s generated a flurry of short news items, but the idea was so weird that it didn’t break through the deadly-sun paradigm. Some doctors, in fact, found it quite dangerous.
“I don’t argue with their data,” says David Fisher, chair of the dermatology department at Massachusetts General Hospital. “But I do disagree with the implications.” The risks of skin cancer, he believes, far outweigh the benefits of sun exposure. “Somebody might take these conclusions to mean that the skin-cancer risk is worth it to lower all-cause mortality or to get a benefit in blood pressure,” he says. “I strongly disagree with that.” It is not worth it, he says, unless all other options for lowering blood pressure are exhausted. Instead he recommends vitamin D pills and hypertension drugs as safer approaches.
Weller’s largest study yet is due to be published later in 2019. For three years, his team tracked the blood pressure of 340,000 people in 2,000 spots around the U.S., adjusting for variables such as age and skin type. The results clearly showed that the reason people in sunnier climes have lower blood pressure is as simple as light hitting skin.
When I spoke with Weller, I made the mistake of characterizing this notion as counterintuitive. “It’s entirely intuitive,” he responded. “Homo sapiens have been around for 200,000 years. Until the industrial revolution, we lived outside. How did we get through the Neolithic Era without sunscreen? Actually, perfectly well. What’s counterintuitive is that dermatologists run around saying, ‘Don’t go outside, you might die.’”
When you spend much of your day treating patients with terrible melanomas, it’s natural to focus on preventing them, but you need to keep the big picture in mind. Orthopedic surgeons, after all, don’t advise their patients to avoid exercise in order to reduce the risk of knee injuries.
Meanwhile, that big picture just keeps getting more interesting. Vitamin D now looks like the tip of the solar iceberg. Sunlight triggers the release of a number of other important compounds in the body, not only nitric oxide but also serotonin and endorphins. It reduces the risk of prostate, breast, colorectal, and pancreatic cancers. It improves circadian rhythms. It reduces inflammation and dampens autoimmune responses. It improves virtually every mental condition you can think of. And it’s free.
These seem like benefits everyone should be able to take advantage of. But not all people process sunlight the same way. And the current U.S. sun-exposure guidelines were written for the whitest people on earth.
Every year, Richard Weller spends time working in a skin hospital in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Not only is Addis Ababa near the equator, it also sits above 7,500 feet, so it receives massive UV radiation. Despite that, says Weller, “I have not seen a skin cancer. And yet Africans in Britain and America are told to avoid the sun.”
All early humans evolved outdoors beneath a tropical sun. Like air, water, and food, sunlight was one of our key inputs. Humans also evolved a way to protect our skin from receiving too much radiation—melanin, a natural sunscreen. Our dark-skinned African ancestors produced so much melanin that they never had to worry about the sun.
As humans migrated farther from the tropics and faced months of light shortages each winter, they evolved to produce less melanin when the sun was weak, absorbing all the sun they could possibly get. They also began producing much more of a protein that stores vitamin D for later use. In spring, as the sun strengthened, they’d gradually build up a sun-blocking tan. Sunburn was probably a rarity until modern times, when we began spending most of our time indoors. Suddenly, pasty office workers were hitting the beach in summer and getting zapped. That’s a recipe for melanoma.
People of color rarely get melanoma. The rate is 26 per 100,000 in Caucasians, 5 per 100,000 in Hispanics, and 1 per 100,000 in African Americans. On the rare occasion when African Americans do get melanoma, it’s particularly lethal—but it’s mostly a kind that occurs on the palms, soles, or under the nails and is not caused by sun exposure.
At the same time, African Americans suffer high rates of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, internal cancers, and other diseases that seem to improve in the presence of sunlight, of which they may well not be getting enough. Because of their genetically higher levels of melanin, they require more sun exposure to produce compounds like vitamin D, and they are less able to store that vitamin for darker days. They have much to gain from the sun and little to fear.
And yet they are being told a very different story, misled into believing that sunscreen can prevent their melanomas, which Weller finds exasperating. “The cosmetic industry is now trying to push sunscreen at dark-skinned people,” he says. “At dermatology meetings, you get people standing up and saying, ‘We have to adapt products for this market.’ Well, no we don’t. This is a marketing ploy.”
When I asked the American Academy of Dermatology for clarification on its position on dark-skinned people and the sun, it pointed me back to the official line on its website: “The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all people, regardless of skin color, protect themselves from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays by seeking shade, wearing protective clothing, and using a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.”
This seemed to me a little boilerplate, and I wondered whether the official guidelines hadn’t yet caught up to current thinking. So I asked David Leffell, at Yale. “I think that sun-protection advice,” he told me, “has always been directed at those most at risk”—people with fair skin or a family history of skin cancer. “While it is true that people with olive skin are at less risk, we do see an increasing number of people with that type of skin getting skin cancer. But skin cancer… is very rare in African Americans… and although they represent a spectrum of pigmentation, [they] are not at as much risk.”
Still, David Fisher at Mass General didn’t think that changed the equation. “There’s a pharmacopoeia of drugs that are extremely effective at lowering blood pressure,” he said. “So to draw the conclusion that people should expose themselves to an elevated skin-cancer risk, including potentially fatal cancer, when there are so many alternative treatments for hypertension, is problematic.”
Am I willing to entertain the notion that current guidelines are inadvertently advocating a lifestyle that is killing us?
I am, because it’s happened before.
In the 1970s, as nutritionists began to see signs that people whose diets were high in saturated fat and cholesterol also had high rates of cardiovascular disease, they told us to avoid butter and choose margarine, which is made by bubbling hydrogen gas through vegetable oils to turn them into solid trans fats.
From its inception in the mid-1800s, margarine had always been considered creepers, a freakish substitute for people who couldn’t afford real butter. By the late 1800s, several midwestern dairy states had banned it outright, while others, including Vermont and New Hampshire, passed laws requiring that it be dyed pink so it could never pass itself off as butter. Yet somehow margarine became the thing we spread on toast for decades, a reminder that even the weirdest product can become mainstream with enough industry muscle.
Eventually, better science revealed that the trans fats created by the hydrogenation process were far worse for our arteries than the natural fats in butter. In 1994, Harvard researchers estimated that 30,000 people per year were dying unnecessarily thanks to trans fats. Yet they weren’t banned in the U.S. until 2015.
Might the same dynamic be playing out with sunscreen, which was also remarkably sketchy in its early days? One of the first sunscreens, Red Vet Pet (for Red Veterinary Petrolatum) was a thick red petroleum jelly invented in 1944 to protect soldiers in the South Pacific; it must have been eerily reminiscent of pink margarine. Only after Coppertone bought the rights and reformulated Red Vet Pet to suit the needs of the new midcentury tanning culture did sunscreen take off.
However, like margarine, early sunscreen formulations were disastrous, shielding users from the UVB rays that cause sunburn but not the UVA rays that cause skin cancer. Even today, SPF ratings refer only to UVB rays, so many users may be absorbing far more UVA radiation than they realize. Meanwhile, many common sunscreen ingredients have been found to be hormone disruptors that can be detected in users’ blood and breast milk. The worst offender, oxybenzone, also mutates the DNA of corals and is believed to be killing coral reefs. Hawaii and the western Pacific nation of Palau have already banned it, to take effect in 2021 and 2020 respectively, and other governments are expected to follow.
The industry is now scrambling to move away from oxybenzone, embracing opaque, even neon, mineral-based formulations, a fashion statement reminiscent of the old Red Vet Pet. But with its long track record of pushing products that later turn out to be unhealthy, I remain skeptical of industry assurances that it finally has everything figured out. We are always being told to replace something natural with some artificial pill or product that is going to improve our health, and it almost always turns out to be a mistake because we didn’t know enough. Multivitamins can’t replace fruits and vegetables, and vitamin D supplements are clearly no substitute for natural sunlight.
Old beliefs don’t die easily, and I can understand if you remain skeptical of old Sol. Why trust one journalist and a handful of rogue researchers against the august opinions of so many professionals?
Here’s why: many experts in the rest of the world have already come around to the benefits of sunlight. Sunny Australia changed its tune back in 2005. Cancer Council Australia’s official-position paper (endorsed by the Australasian College of Dermatologists) states, “Ultraviolet radiation from the sun has both beneficial and harmful effects on human health…. A balance is required between excessive sun exposure which increases the risk of skin cancer and enough sun exposure to maintain adequate vitamin D levels…. It should be noted that the benefits of sun exposure may extend beyond the production of vitamin D. Other possible beneficial effects of sun exposure… include reduction in blood pressure, suppression of autoimmune disease, and improvements in mood.
Australia’s official advice? When the UV index is below 3 (which is true for most of the continental U.S. in the winter), “Sun protection is not recommended unless near snow or other reflective surfaces. To support vitamin D production, spend some time outdoors in the middle of the day with some skin uncovered.” Even in high summer, Australia recommends a few minutes of sun a day.
New Zealand signed on to similar recommendations, and the British Association of Dermatologists went even further in a statement, directly contradicting the position of its American counterpart: “Enjoying the sun safely, while taking care not to burn, can help to provide the benefits of vitamin D without unduly raising the risk of skin cancer.”
Leffell, the Yale dermatologist, recommends what he calls a “sensible” approach. “I have always advised my patients that they don’t need to crawl under a rock but should use common sense and be conscious of cumulative sun exposure and sunburns in particular,” he told me.
This does not mean breaking out the baby oil or cultivating a burnished tan. All the experts agree that sunburns—especially those suffered during childhood and adolescence—are particularly bad.
Ultimately, it’s your call. Each person’s needs vary so much with season, latitude, skin color, personal history, philosophy, and so much else that it’s impossible to provide a one-size-fits-all recommendation. The Dminder app, which uses factors such as age, weight, and amount of exposed skin to track the amount of sunlight you need for vitamin D production, might be one place to start. Trading your sunscreen for a shirt and a broad-brimmed hat is another. Both have superior safety records.
As for me, I’ve made my choice. A world of healthy outdoor adventure beckons—if not half naked, then reasonably close. Starting today, I’m stepping into the light.
One of the most common questions that people ask when they enter a tanning salon is “how long will my tan last?” When you are investing your time and resources into a spray tan or UV tan, it’s a valid question. The answer isn’t as cut-and-dry as many people hope, because it has to do with a lot of individual factors.
Here’s what you need to know to have a better understanding of how long your tan can last:
How Long Does a Tan Last?
Those who prefer to use a UV Tanning Bed to achieve their best bronze will find that the length of time their tan lasts can vary. One individual may be able to go tanning in a UV bed every few weeks and maintain their glow, while others may find that their tan begins to fade within a few days. This has to do with the skin cell composition of the individual. Skin cells will exfoliate and replenish at different times for different people. A person who has quick skin cell turnover will lose their tan in a shorter amount of time, while those with a longer skin cell turnover cycle will find that their tan doesn’t fade as quickly. Using the right tanning lotions can help improve the strength and longevity of the tan.
How Long Does a Spray Tan Last?
Spray Tans are achieved by using bronzers and other products that dye the skin and give it the appearance of a tan. When done properly, a spray tan can look very natural, but many people are left wondering how long it will last. On average, a spray tan will last between five and 15 days. An individual who has a spray tan applied should work with the tanning specialists at their salon in order to determine a skin care regimen that will help them prolong their tan. Proper skin care techniques can improve the appearance of a spray tan and also make it last for as long as possible. Spray tans can easily be reapplied when the color begins to fade.
How Do I Make My Tan Last Longer?
There are many tips and tricks available to help your tan last longer, regardless of whether you opt for a UV tanning experience or a spray tan application.
- For UV tanning, the best way to maintain the glow is to continue going for tanning sessions on a regular basis. Once you determine how long your tan lasts naturally, you can schedule your sessions to prevent significant fading and maintain the color that you desire. You also can use tanning lotions that help you tan faster or achieve a darker tan.
- For spray tanning, you will want to use the right products after the session in order to maintain the tan. Most people find that using moisturizers regularly will prevent their skin from exfoliating too early, which can help extend the lifespan of the spray tan.
Our clients know that they can trust us to provide them with a natural-looking, long-lasting glow — whether they prefer to use a UV tanning bed or a spray tan. We can recommend tanning lotions that will improve their results and help their tan last as long as possible.
Bronzers Are a Girl’s Best Friend!
There are two main categories of bronzers: natural and DHA.
Natural bronzers provide immediate results without streaking or staining. They typically include ingredients such as walnut shell extract, fig and henna.
DHA bronzers contain DHA (dihydroxyacetone), a colorless tanning ingredient. DHA is a sugar-based ingredient that reacts with the skin’s proteins to produce a delayed natural bronze color. DHA bronzers must be exposed to the air to develop color through an oxidation process. They produce noticeable results in 2-3 hours and complete results after a 24-hour period.
Myth: The darker the color of the lotion means the darker the bronzer is.
Truth: All DHA bronzers are colorless and you have to wait for the oxidation process of 2-4 hours to see color.
Myth: If you have a fair complexion, you should not use bronzers.
Truth: Bronzers are designed for people with fair complexions, those who have trouble tanning, or anyone who needs fast results! Bronzers are great for all those who want an extra boost in color.
Myth: You can Double-Dip if you use white DHA bronzers.
Truth: When combining UV tanning and sunless tanning, we recommend you don’t use tanning lotions with DHA, whether the bronzing lotion is tinted or white. Our skin only has so many proteins for the DHA to bond with, so if DHA is absorbed during tanning, you won’t get the full color from the sunless session.
Myth: Bronzers are the best lotions available.
Truth: The best lotion is the one that is best for your individual needs. It’s important to talk to a Tanning Consultant about your skin routine and your goals.
Myth: Bronzers streak and turn your hands orange.
Truth: Natural bronzers are designed to minimize streaking. However, it’s extremely important to properly apply intense DHA bronzing products. Rub the product on in circular motions, and then make sure to wipe or wash your hands afterward.
Myth: You can shower right after tanning with a bronzer.
Truth: With DHA bronzers, you must wait 2-3 hours for the oxidation process to occur. If you shower in this time frame, you’ll interrupt the process and your color won’t develop. If you want a color boost but need to be able to shower right away, natural bronzers would be the best choice.And there you have it…the 101 on bronzers! Ask any Soleil Tans tanning consultant about bronzers next time you are in!
The Magnificent Sun, UV, and What They Do for Our Bodes and Minds
The authors begin the abstract by stating that “the skin is a self-regulating protective barrier organ that is empowered with sensory and computing capabilities to counteract the environmental stressors to maintain/restore disrupted cutaneous homeostasis.” In other words, the skin has the ability to take on what life deals it and maintain its equilibrium and balance. In addition, the skin communicates bidirectionally with the central nervous, endocrine and immune systems. Thus, it helps to maintain balance for all body systems.
© 2018 International Smart Tan Network. All rights reserved.
Higher Levels of Vitamin D Reduce Breast Cancer Risk by 80%: New Study
The 2018 Canadian Cancer Statistics, estimates that approximately 26,500 new cases of breast cancer and 5,000 related deaths will occur in Canada this year. Breast cancer is the number 1 ranked cancer for women. Based on this new research study a large portion of these cases could be prevented through women achieving vitamin D, 25(OH)D blood levels of ≥150 nmol/L.
This study along with others re-opens the debate on what the optimal vitamin D blood level should be for people’s overall health. Health Canada bases their recommendations on the 2010 report from the Institute of Medicine now the National Academy of Medicine who determined vitamin D recommendations based on just bone health studies. What we are finding is that bone health requires a lot less vitamin D than preventing serious diseases such as cancer outlined in this chart by GrassrootsHealth.
An expert consensus panel of 48 vitamin D researchers, doctors and scientists developed a D*action plan that recommended an optimal vitamin D target for everyone (all ages) to be between 100-150 nmol/L for overall health for all diseases. Blood levels of 25(OH)D are recommended to be used when evaluating vitamin D status because identical oral doses produce different blood levels in different people.
“We found that participants with blood levels of 25(OH)D that were above 150 nmol/L had one-fifth the risk of breast cancer compared to those with less than 50 nmol/L,” said principal investigator and co-author Cedric F. Garland, DrPH, adjunct professor in the UC San Diego Department of Family Medicine and Public Health.
“Increasing vitamin D blood levels substantially above 50 nmol/L appears to be important for the prevention of breast cancer,” said first author Sharon McDonnell, an epidemiologist and biostatistician for GrassrootsHealth.
To reach 25(OH)D levels of 150 nmol/L, said Garland, would generally require dietary supplements of 4,000 to 6,000 international units (IU) per day, less with the addition of moderate daily sun exposure wearing very minimal clothing (approximately 10-15 minutes per day outdoors at noon). That is 10X the current level recommended by Health Canada for adults of 600 IU/d.
In Canada, according to the latest report from Statistics Canada vitamin D levels continue to fall mainly due to a reduction in sun exposure. Fourteen million or 38% of Canadians do not meet Health Canada’s vitamin D blood level requirements of 50 nmol/L. And nearly all Canadians (93.3%) do not meet the optimal level recommended by the expert consensus panel of 48 vitamin D researchers, doctors and scientists of 100-150 nmol/L.
“We have a vitamin D problem and its getting worse because people are avoiding sun exposure, and the Health Canada guidelines are too low and need to be re-evaluated” says Perry Holman, Executive Director for the Vitamin D Society. “Canadian’s are paying the price with increased risk for cancers and other diseases. This new study on breast cancer highlights how much cancer can be avoided with optimal vitamin D levels.”
Today is the summer solstice. Please take some time to enjoy the sunshine at midday for natural vitamin D production. But remember not to burn.
About the Vitamin D Society:
The Vitamin D Society is a Canadian non-profit group organized to increase awareness of the many health conditions strongly linked to vitamin D deficiency; encourage people to be proactive in protecting their health and have their vitamin D levels tested annually; and help fund valuable vitamin D research. The Vitamin D Society recommends people achieve and maintain optimal 25(OH)D blood levels between 100 – 150 nmol/L (Can) or 40-60 ng/ml (USA).
To learn more about vitamin D, please visit www.vitamindsociety.org
© 2018 International Smart Tan Network. All rights reserved.
Sun Avoidance: A Risk Factor for Mortality?
By Jeff Nicklas, Vitamin D Council
In a study published in the Journal of Internal Medicine, researchers found that avoiding sun exposure may increase the risk for all-cause mortality in women.
In past articles, we’ve covered the positive and negative aspects of sun exposure. Safe, moderate sun exposure is the natural and best way to meet your body’s requirements for vitamin D. On the other hand, intense, infrequent sun exposure may increase your risk for malignant melanoma, the most severe form of skin cancer.
In recent decades, studies showing increased risk of skin cancer due to intense sun exposure have received more public attention than studies showing the benefits of vitamin D and safe, moderate sun exposure. This has developed into what some call Sun Scare, leading to sun avoidance by the public.
There has been little research looking at the effects that sun avoidance have on human health. We know that adequate vitamin D levels can help improve areas such as bone health, the immune system and the heart, but how might complete avoidance of the sun affect our health?
Recently, researchers out of Sweden conducted a study on Northern European women to determine the effects of sun avoidance on health.
The researchers looked at data from the Melanoma in Southern Sweden (MISS) study. The MISS study began in 1990 and included 29,518 women aged 25 to 64 years old. The women answered questions about risk factors for melanoma in 1990 and then again at a follow-ups in 2000 and 2011. The study aimed to compare the women’s viewpoints on risk factors for melanoma with the actual development of cancer and mortality over the 20 year period.
In the current study, the researchers looked at data of all the women from the MISS study who had no previous history of cancer or any malignancy. They looked at questionnaire responses in 1990 and again at the follow-up in 2000.
Among other lifestyle questions, the women were asked to answer four yes-no questions regarding sun exposure habits. To measure total sun exposure, the researchers scored each woman’s response by the number of times that they answered “yes” to these questions.
A score of 0 signified complete sun avoidance and a score of 4 signified the greatest amount of sun exposure.
The researchers wanted to know if avoiding the sun might affect the risk of all-cause mortality among the women.
After all data was collected and analyzed, the researchers found:
- The mortality rate among women who avoided the sun was double compared to those with the highest sun exposure.
- There was a dose-dependent inverse relationship between sun exposure and all-cause mortality. This means that the rate of all-cause mortality decreased with every increase in ratings of sun exposure.
The researchers concluded,
“The mortality rate was increased two-fold among avoiders of sun exposure as compared to those with the highest sun exposure habits. In this study focusing on avoidance of sun exposure, women with ‘normal’ sun exposure habits were not at significantly increased risk for MM or of MM-related death.”
In this study, the researchers looked at women of northern European descent. Many women of this region have light skin, and therefore are more sensitive to the sun. Because the researchers only looked at northern European women, we don’t know if these results would be the same in populations of different gender or ethnicity. Furthermore, the use of a questionnaire means that we don’t know if sun exposure habits were accurately reported by the participants, and due to the observational design of the study, we don’t know for sure if higher sun exposure decreases risk of mortality.
While this study cannot confirm that sun exposure reduces risk of mortality, it is more evidence that safe, moderate sun exposure is an effective way to produce vitamin D and maintain good health.
© 2018 International Smart Tan Network. All rights reserved.
Spring Break Tanning Tips
You’ve heard of pre-tanning for vacation, but New Jersey’s best tanning salon is offering a way to maintain your naturally beautiful tan well into summer. When you schedule a tan at Soleil, you’ll enjoy state-of-the-art tanning beds. But the most important part of getting a tan is making it last!
Here are a few tips for how to maintain your spring break tan with help from your best New Jersey tanning salon.
- Shower, exfoliate, and moisturize with natural products to balance your skin tone before tanning.
- Remove all makeup, deodorants, perfumes, and other beauty products.
- Ask our tanning consultants about the best tanning accelerator or amplifier for your specific skin type and budget.
- Ask about tanning extenders and moisturizers which will help prolong the life of your tan.
Soleil Tans has a range of salon services to help you look and feel your best this spring (and all year round). Our team of experienced tanning specialists and state-of-the-art equipment is gentle and extremely effective. Guard that spring break tan until summer this year at the best tanning salon in New Jersey.
Tanning is a ritual that almost every beauty-savvy woman goes through, at some point in time. While the sun is the best way to tan, and the beach is the ideal location, one has to make do with other options is those two are unavailable. In come tanning beds to save the day! However, sometimes even the best tanning beds can’t stop girls from having some strange thoughts associated with said beds.
To elaborate on this point, here are 9 thoughts that have crossed every girl’s mind while tanning.
Why is the lotion so crazy expensive? And why did I just buy a whole bottle!?
Let’s face it; if the lotion smells good, you’re buying it, regardless of the price! But that doesn’t stop a girl from questioning her decisions in life, especially the one that led to an $80 hole in her wallet!
How long is this gonna be? Like 20 minutes? That’s what, 5 Tay Tay songs?
Some ladies cannot help measure the time of everything in terms of Taylor Swift songs! The same goes for the number of minutes one has to spend inside a tanning bed, although you cannot argue that a series of songs is a very good way to spend the required time.
Hey maybe switching off the fan will get some of this chub off me!
Bad idea, ladies… We all know just how difficult it is to switch the fan off and tan, seeing as it gets hotter than the Sahara in there… Just keep the fan on and tan away in comfort.
How good will I look? Or rather, how good will I feel?
Don’t worry, all you gorgeous golden girls! You look good and we sincerely hope you feel good. The latter is practically a guarantee if you tan with us at Soleil Tans.
Will I have pale lines on my back because its smushed down?
No you won’t especially if you tan inside a state-of-the-art tanning bed; one which provides 360 degree coverage, such as the beds we have at Soleil Tans.
Is 10 minutes good enough for a light tan?
Perhaps if you turned up the heat all the way, you could achieve some sort of shade change… But this is not advised, since excessive intensity in a very short time can be more damaging than good.
This bed’s been cleaned, right? RIGHT??
Most professional tanning salons such as Soleil Tans, maintain strict standards for cleanliness. However, to settle your heart, you can wipe it down just to be sure, like you always do anyway!
Will this lighting look good with this filter?
Ahh yes, the ever-necessary Instagram photo! As a guide, use a counter temperature filter for photos. This means go with the orange/red filter, for best results and color depth!
Can I even find a tanning salon near me?
Yes you can, we have salons all over the metro area to serve you.
The Clean and Healthy Beauty Guide to Tanning
The concept of tanning has evolved since when it began as purely a means to achieve a more aesthetically appealing skin tone, and to avoid looking excessively pale. Now, it has become a practice for the maintenance of healthy and luscious skin, while still maintaining desirability as an aesthetic practice.
Self tanning is not the same as it once was, due to the advent of technology and salons which now feature the best in tanning treatments. Salons such as Soleil Tans are leading the way towards a tanning revolution, and encouraging people to not just look good, but feel good as well!
A Healthy Tanning Guide for Gorgeous Golden Beauty
While it may be simpler than ever to get a tan, there are some before and after care procedures that should be followed. This is necessary if you are to keep your tan looking and feeling great for long after you step outside the salon.
To that end, following are some pre and post-tanning skincare tips which will aid in tan longevity, while maintaining the newly emerged golden beauty as prominently as possible!
The tanning lotion needs to absorb well into the skin, which brings about the necessity for good cleansing both before and after the tanning procedure. Cleansing could mean a shower with a mild soap, or if your skin type demands, a more thorough soap cleanse. For after care, it is better to not go for the cleanse until after you have moisturized, which brings us to the second tip.
The tanning lotion will moisturize the skin due to its natural properties. However, after it has been absorbed into the skin, you will need to moisturize once again in order to lock in the golden sheen. If you are using a tanning bed, it is a good idea to moisturize immediately after you are done with the procedure, since the UV rays used in tanning beds can dry out the skin to some extent. This brings us to the next tip.
Your skin needs water and moisture if it is to stay healthy and resemble the epitome of beauty! This is why it is important to drink lots of water both before and after going for the tanning session. Showering can also help restore some of the lost moisture, although water when consumed orally works best.
Remember that no matter how good the treatment is, or how technologically advanced the tanning equipment; human skin always needs some rest and recuperation after a tanning session, due to the Vitamin D and UV exposure. This is why it is best to have 24 hours between treatments.
Facilities such as Soleil Tans, are paving the way forward in terms of aesthetic beauty standards which are healthy as well as effective. Soleil Tans has proven time and time again to be the leader in terms of tanning technologies on offer, as well as solutions that provide lasting beauty.
Top Health Benefits of Using Tanning Beds
Many researches and experts have pressed on the fact that UV light is crucial and necessary for the optimal well being of every human being. Although outdoor tanning has for ages been the preferred method for tanning excursions, the threat of melanomas and carcinomas has meant that people are extra cautious about such excursions. In lieu of the health effects present in outdoor tanning, indoor tanning has become a safer way to enjoy all the benefits of UV, with additional health benefits that make jumping on the tanning bed, irresistible. Following is a list of benefits that support the view that using tanning beds in Salk Lake City is the best thing to do.
Tanning Reduces Visibility of Stretch Marks and Scars on Skin
Healthier skin is something that every human craves. While tanning may not completely wipe out the scars, it does a fairly good job in making them less prominent. Since scars are darker than the original tone of the skin, they tend to stand out. Tanning beds do a good job darkening your skin tone, which may mean that your scars actually look less prominent and you can parade around confidently with them.
Tanning Beds Balance and Fortify your Skin
Skin is probably the biggest organ in your body as it helps protect all other organs by providing an exterior protective cover. Exposure to UV in tanning bed triggers the production of Vitamin-D and ensures that the production of excess oils is impeded and dry skin is soothed. After your experience on the tanning bed, you will have healthy skin that will not be under the threat of infections.
Tanning Sessions Can Reduce Weight
Being exposed to sources of UV-light ensures that the metabolism in a person’s body is increasing. This is done so by nudging the thyroid gland for being even more active. This increase in the metabolism more often than not reflects in a substantial weight loss for you. This is a great opportunity and motivation for anyone in Murray, Salt Lake City and Drapper, Salt Lake City who would want to lose weight and get a silky smooth dark skin as well in the process.
Tanning Stimulates the Production of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is extremely useful for your body to function, and is only available through the UV rays absorbed the skin to convert in the body. Lack of Vitamin D can cause numerous issues that can make one face severe health consequences throughout their life.
Ways to Get a Sun Kissed Glow, Without Damaging Your Skin
So, what are the ways of getting a brilliant glow, without having to compromise on the safety of your skin? Worry not, as we have you covered with the following methods that will maintain your radiant skin and will help you look good and feel good.
Tanning is regarded as the gold standard for all methods that are available for getting a glowing skin. With numerous forms of tanning available in Utah, from sunbeds to spray tans, excited individuals can get the supple look without having to compromise on a lot. With enhanced beauty generated through these methods, your skin can regain its radiance and the glow you envy after a high pressure tanning session in Utah.
Although, we have already mentioned spray tans above, we are going to do so again because this tanning method is just so insanely effective that you need to try it asap. Individuals opting for sunbeds were bombarded with claims that the UV methods used in sunbeds were similar to what the sun does to your skin through UV rays. This is why spray tan has emerged as the new hot favorite for most users. Spray tan comes with its own sets of benefits that are too good to be true. Moreover, you can keep the desired effect for long by following simple tips such as exfoliating before the tan and moisturizing every day after it.
Your Make up Routine
We are talking about glowing skin here, and there is nothing that makes your skin glow more than make-up. If you need a quick glowing look, the best option for you is to go for the right make up choices as they can definitely give you the tanned look. The right accessory here is a bronzer which can come handy once you are done applying your foundation. Just simply rub the bronzer on your face and reap the fruits of a perfectly tanned face.
Tanning During Winter Helps Fight Depression
Even though we’re almost through the winter months, temperatures across New Jersey are already annoying. The Holiday Season during winter has a lot of reasons for us to be happy about, as it is full of surprises, presents, generosity and good will mostly everywhere. However, it is also common for a lot of people to “feel down”, “with the blues” or depressed due to the shorter days and lack of sunlight exposure.
What Is SAD?
SAD or Seasonal Affective Disorder, is a severe condition that can be developed, which refers to episodes of depression that occur annually during fall or winter. The disorder is known to begin in adolescence or early adulthood and usually occurs more often in women compared to men.
Its symptoms can include: afternoon slumps with decreased energy and concentration, increased appetite with weight gain, increased sleep and excessive daytime fatigue, lack of energy and loss of interest in work and other activities, slow, sluggish, slow movement, social withdrawal, and unhappiness and irritability.
Differences between general depression and SAD include weight loss as opposed to weight gain and problems sleeping instead of increased sleep.
Not yet fully understood how. For these reasons, vitamin D has been linked with depression and with other mental health problems.
Vitamin D is different from other vitamins, in the sense that it can be made by the human body when
the skin is exposed to sunlight (UVB rays, to be more accurate). Other vitamins need to be absorbed
from food, as the body can’t make them.
How to Optimize your Vitamin D Levels:
You can come to Soleil Tans for a controlled UV tanning session to help your body make its own
Vitamin D. The UV light produced by a tanning bed is just like the one from summer sunlight: about 95% UVA and 5% UVB.
Tips on How to Protect Your Tattoo While Tanning
If you have one or more tattoos, you went through the process of deciding what you wanted, choosing or creating the design and finding a good tattoo artist to get it done. It was a big decision and most likely something you gave it much thought, plus the significant money investment you had to make to get a quality tattoo. In other words, having tattoos is like being a fine art collector: each piece represents something meaningful and special for you, and you want to protect it from anything that can damage it, right? So if you also love tanning and spending time in the beautiful New Jersey outdoors, we’d like to give you detailed tattoo care tips for you to follow if you want your ink to last for many years to come!
Tattoos & UV Tanning
This is Important: always follow the aftercare instructions given by your tattoo artist, and never expose to natural or artificial UV light to a tattoo that has not healed yet. After the tattoo has healed, always protect it from natural or artificial UV rays as these can fade and damage a brilliant tattoo very fast. These are 3 tips to protect your tattoo when tanning or getting sun exposure: 1. The sun is your tattoo’s worst enemy. So cover the entire tattooed area with the highest SPF sunblock available. You can apply it with a cotton swab to completely cover the outline of the tattoo, instead of leaving a border around it. You can also cover it with a piece of fabric that matches the size and shape of your tattoo, as to block as much UV as possible. Re-apply sunblock often if you’re going to spend a lot of time outside. 2. Burning the skin damages, a tattoo even more than slow tanning, so if going outdoors, make sure to cover it with sunblock as stated above and do not burn! Indoor tanning at Soleil Tans gives you complete control over the exposure times, so you won’t burn but you still need to protect the tattoo from UV light. Applying sunscreen lotion will not stop your tattoo’s aging process, but will lessen the effects of sun exposure. 3. Moisturize your skin every day, especially after a tanning session or if your skin feels dry, itchy or if it becomes flaky. This will prevent losing bits of skin that could slowly drain the ink of your tattoo.
Tattoos & Spray Tanning
With spray tanning you can leave the concern behind. As long as the tattoo is completely healed, nothing can hurt it that doesn’t also hurt the rest of your skin. Lighter tattoo colors may get a bit darker from spray tanning but it’s only temporary and if you don’t like it, you can wipe it off the tattoo immediately after the session. You can also put a light coat of barrier cream it to protect it during the spray tanning session. The healed tattoo rule also applies to this case though! Always wait until your tattoo is completely healed before exposing it to UV or getting a spray tan!
Positive Effects of Indoor Tanning
Before I get into this article, I want to start by saying that this is simply some information that I have found and come across many times throughout my life. I want to remind you that anything done too much can be, and usually is bad for you. Remember moderation is the key, do things in moderation and don’t go overboard. I don’t want people to misunderstand what I’m saying in this blog post and take it as me saying, yes tanning is completely healthy and it will never hurt you, because obviously that isn’t the case. We all know that tanning in tanning beds or outside could be harmful and should be done with caution, which is just like anything else in life. We always hear about tanning beds and skin cancer but rarely do we ever hear about any of the positive effects of tanning beds.
I just want to bring to light some of those facts that many of us have no idea about. There are two sides to any story and all things have good and bad qualities. When making my decision to tan or not to tan I look at all of the tanning bed facts. Always weigh the tanning bed risks as well as the benefits and make an informed decision for yourself. With that being said let’s get to the good stuff, my interesting and informative article about the positive effects of tanning beds.
During my research about indoor tanning I have found some very interesting facts about the effects of tanning beds and the effects of the UV light, which is what the tanning bed light bulbs emit. It seems that there are many proven benefits of spending time in our beloved tanning beds. I got most of my information from a website called UVtalk, If you are a regular tanning bed user or if you just tan for the summer I highly recommend checking out this site.
It may come as a surprise to many people that tanning bed use is regulated by the FDA. The government regulates how long a session can be, how often you can tan, and even what the tanning salons are allowed to tell you. Tanning salons can’t tell you that exposure to UV light actually has health benefits.
UV light is how the body produces vitamin D. Harvard researchers found that exposure to UV light increases production of a protein that is known to fight cancer. Even as early as 1940, researchers knew that people who spend time in the sun were less likely to die of cancer than those that spent their time indoors. Doctors claim that vitamin D requirements can easily be met by oral supplements, but a recent study published in the Oxford Journal of Rheumatology points out that low vitamin D levels are common in people taking 800IU of oral vitamin D3 (the amount recommended as the upper limit.) While it is true that ultraviolet damages the skin on a cellular level (much like exercise damages muscles on a cellular level), it also triggers the repair mechanism that tells damaged cells to commit suicide.
Also more evidence shows that regular, moderate UV exposure actually helps to prevent rather than cause melanoma. One theory is that by exciting the production of vitamin D (not the vitamin D itself, but the process itself) actually helps keep melanoma in check. So if the doctors know about these positive effects why are they telling you the exact opposite? They don’t want you to get melanoma, right? Well according to a study done by Brigham and Women’s hospital, the risk of melanoma does not change significantly by where you live. If you live in Atlanta you get more UV exposure than you get if you live in New York but you don’t have a greater risk of melanoma.
Tanning Eye Protection Facts
One of the biggest mistakes that people make, is not protecting their eyes when tanning in a tanning bed, or even outside for that matter. I have to admit, that I am guilty of this myself. When I was younger, I used to laugh at the tan circles around people’s eyes from wearing eye protection in the tanning beds and outside, so I just thought closing my eyes was good enough.
Now that I am a little older and a little wiser, I always wear eye protection in the tanning bed, and when i’m outside in the sun. They even have super skinny tanning goggles, to cover the least amount of your eye, while still protecting your eyes from the harmful UV light. Also, some tanning salons offer stickers, I believe these are called “Wink-ease”, that are specially made for your eyes. They kind of fold into a cone type shape and stick to your eyes, they work absolutely wonderful for showing no signs of white,”raccoon eyes”, they are sometimes called. If all fails and you still feel like you have white circles around your eyes, use some sort of bronzer or make up, even a face moisturizer with a touch of sunless tanner in it.
Overexposure to UV light can cause great damage to your eyes if not protected,and believe it or not, just closing your eyes is not enough.
Here are eight facts about using eye protection in a tanning bed, that you must read.
- Your eyes can get sun burnt! Tanning with no eye protection can cause red, itchy or watery eyes. These symptoms are all indications of short-term eye damage.
- You can damage your eyes in just one tanning session! Even just one tanning session, without protecting your eyes, can be enough exposure to cause you short-term eye damage.
- Two common forms of sunburned eyes
- Photokeratitis (a temporary corneal burn which causes tearing, pain and blurring for several days).
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (delicate eye tissue becomes damaged causing swelling and redness in and around the eye)
- Closing your eyes is not protecting them! Your eyelids naturally block less than 25% of harmful UV rays from your eyes, and this will not protect you well enough.
- You may also be at risk from eye disease. Sharing eye protection is one of the main ways that eye infections such as conjunctivitis are spread. Eye protection that isn’t disposable is less hygienic and runs the risk of becoming contaminated.
- Repeated exposure to UV light without eye protection can also cause long-term and even permanent eye problems.
- Some damage caused to your eyes is irreversible! Long-term damage caused to your eyes include Diminished Color Perception (your sight will be dulled) and Reduced Night Vision. There is no cure for these.
- Long-term exposure to UV light without eye protection seriously increases your probability of developing a cataract. This causes severe pain and even blindness. Surgery is the only cure for cataracts.
Wearing eye protection when you tan is one of the most important indoor tanning tips that there are. I hope this article convinces some of you to cover up those eyes. I know that when we’re young we don’t feel like we need to worry about things like this, but believe me, in a few short years you’ll be wishing you had done a few things differently, don’t make wearing eye protection while tanning one of them.
Spray Tanning Do’s and Don’t
Do your research – Versa Spa custom air brush (which give a more natural overall spray) rather than Mystic Tan (which is an older version that gives a less even finish). Versa Spa formulas come in light, medium and dark and are offered in clear or colored consistencies.
Do consider your natural skin tone. The fairer your skin the more you have to be sparse with the spray, so stick with the lightest tint. Darker melanin tones can be a little more aggressive with color, picking medium or dark shades.
Do get other beauty treatments in before your tan. Avoid waxing, facials and massages 24 hours before a spray tan, as oils and other products can act as a barrier between your skin and the tan. Get your manicure and pedicure pre-treatment, as foot and hand scrubs will buff away the tanned layer of your skin for good.
Don’t spray tan more than once a week. You shouldn’t spray more than once every 10 days or once all of your old spray is off. It’s like nail polish. You don’t want to paint over old polish.
Do prep your skin. Before you arrive, shower, shave and exfoliate. If you spray tanned the week prior, exfoliation is extra important. To make sure that all of the spray is off before applying another layer, my ex liked to use Dermasuri Mitt, which exfoliates the skin really well without leaving any residue.
Do wear the right outfit. It is imperative to wear proper clothing because you can disrupt the tanning process if you wear tight clothing. Avoid wearing bras, anything clingy, silk and cashmere fabrics that can easily get stained. Instead wear open-toed sandals and loose, dark clothing.
Don’t soak in water. When it comes to showering in between tans (or soaking in a hot tub) minimize your in-the-water time. For showers, rinse off quickly and use soap only in necessary areas. Do not exfoliate or lather body wash all over.
Do invest in touch-up products. To prolong a spray tan and hold you over until your next treatment, you must invest in touch-up tan products, which you can find at your local New Jersey Soleil Tans.