Everything in Moderation, Including the Sun
condemnation of sun exposure is getting a bit old, it's time to lose
the alarmist mentality and put the benefits and risks of sun exposure
"There is an
unbelievable amount of misinformation circulating about sun care these
days. Most of it falls into the category of something we call 'sun
scare' — a full culture of twisted truths designed to trick you
into thinking that the most natural resource on our planet, sunshine,
is nothing but bad for you," says Joseph Levy, executive director of
the International Smart Tan Network, a Michigan-based association.
"It's gone on too long now and it may be doing more harm than good."
Consider, in the past year alone we've seen:
May 1999 publication of a 16-year independent epidemiological study
showing women who receive regular sun exposure throughout their lives
are up to 40 percent less likely to contract breast cancer.
- Undisputed acknowledgment in the scientific
community that the relationship between sun exposure and melanoma skin
cancer is not simply linear. Melanoma is more common in indoor workers
than it is in outdoor workers — those who get regular sunlight
get it less than those who only get intermittent exposure.
- Deep concern in the scientific community that
broad anti-tanning messages may hurt the credibility of those who teach
sun abstinence as an absolute. As more research points to positive
effects of sun exposure, and other research challenges theories about
the risks, some in the scientific community feel sun care messages need
to be targeted specifically to high-risk groups, not simply to the
population as a whole.
What does it
all mean? "The stage is set for a new era in sun care — an era
based on knowing your skin type, understanding your constitutive risks,
using sunscreen appropriately instead of overusing it and planning your
active lifestyle accordingly," Levy says.
non-tanners need to understand how to maximize the benefits of regular
sun exposure while minimizing the risks. The bottom line for everyone
is simply this, never ever sunburn!
Copyright 1999 Health Resources Publishing