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The Truth About Indoor Tanning

The cost of a single phototherapy session – which utilizes indoor tanning equipment in a dermatologist’s office – is nearly $100 per session, about 20 times more than an indoor tanning session. An estimated 1.5 million indoor tanning clients today successfully treat psoriasis in indoor tanning facilities.

Millions of indoor tanning customers frequent U.S. indoor tanning salons for their own self-treatment of cosmetic skin conditions and other non-cosmetic tanning reasons – physiologic benefits that can occur when one follows the cosmetic regimen at a tanning facility. According to a 2010 Smart Tan survey: More than three million consumers frequent tanning salons for self-treatment of psoriasis, eczema, acne, vitiligo, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and to increase vitamin D levels. Approximately one million indoor tanners said they were referred to tanning facilities by their dermatologist. Could Indoor Tanning Be a Surrogate for What Nature Intended? Vitamin D production is one of the benefits that has been associated with human exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) emitted in sunlight and by an estimated 90 percent of commercial indoor tanning equipment. While the North American indoor tanning industry conducts indoor tanning as a cosmetic service, an undeniable physiological side effect of this service is that indoor tanning clients manufacture sufficient levels of vitamin D as a result of indoor tanning sessions. Vitamin D is a hormone produced naturally when skin is exposed to UVB in sunlight or indoor tanning units. Scientists through thousands of studies now recommend vitamin D blood levels of 40-60 ng/ml. Only those who get regular UV exposure have those levels naturally: Indoor Tanners…………………..….42-49 ng/ml……………………...Sufficient Non-Tanners……………….………….23-25 ng/ml……………………...Deficient Dermatologists…………….………..13-14 ng/ml……………………...Severe Deficiency Vitamin D sufficiency is linked to a reduction in 105 diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and most forms of cancer.

It is believed that vitamin D deficiency contributes to nearly 400,000 premature deaths and adds a $100 billion burden to our health care system. 77 percent of Americans are considered vitamin D deficient according to government data and overzealous sun avoidance is the only plausible explanation for the 50 percent increase in that figure in the past 15 years. The indoor tanning industry believes that, for those individuals who can develop tans, the cosmetic and vitamin D-related benefits of non-burning exposure to ultraviolet light in appropriate moderation outweigh the easily manageable risks associated with overexposure and sunburn. Many doctors agree: “I believe the health benefits of exposure to UVA and UVB rays greatly outweigh the disadvantages, even if that means using a sunbed during winter months.” -British Oncologist Dr. Tim Oliver