Comment exchange in The Telegraph

The TelegraphRepublished comment-exchange about sun-scare.

The article in the Telegraph had the title “Tanning salons more dangerous than previously thought“.

Here is the exchange of comments between me and a guy in Australia. It starts with my first comment to the article and the continuous in chronological order:

Commenter's avatartannersrights

This is just another report from the sun-scare lobby, trying to scare us into buying more and more sun-protection cosmetics.

At least one of the authors of the report is a former employee of L’Oreal, the initiator of, and the biggest beneficiary from, the sun-scare campaign.

If reading the abstract of the report itself, it just confirms that what dermatologists have been saying about protection primarily towards UVB, has been very wrong.

They are simply adjusting the message from research according to the goals their paymasters have at the moment.

See more about the sun-scare campaign here: tannersrights.com

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tannersrights, you must be nuts!! So many countries now recognise the damage that sun can do to the skin and warn against it. Intensifying the effect in a tanning salon is insane!
There is plenty of cheap sunscreen out there on the market. I buy no-name brand from the supermarket or pharmacy in pump packs for me and my children. I don’t use any name brand sunscreen or cosmetics.
And if you think the sun can’t damage, think again! I am 36 with skin cancer. Fortunately, I have a variety that will hopefully not mestasticise, but plenty of people in Aus die of melanomas at a very young age. I need surgery on my face that will leave me with scarring. The surgery is going to hurt and look ugly and is a direct result of sun exposure.
People are insane if they want to use tanning beds and God help us when our governments have to pay out fortunes in cancer treatments for those that decide tanning is the go. Just another cancer to go with smoking. Cancer HURTS!!! It scars, and that is if you’re lucky enough to live through it. Grow up!!
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Commenter's avatartannersrights

Dear fimack,

Thank you for your advice about growing up! But I am already close to 60, which means that I am old enough to remember a time when sunshine was our friend and when doctors and parents encouraged us to be in it as much as possible. And, believe it or not, most of my generation is still alive!

With that perspective, I found it strange that sunshine (and UV-light) suddenly became that dangerous. The last two years I have been doing some, quite thorough, research in how the sun-scare started (and how it is going on). The findings are quite remarkable and show that not even the highest health authority (WHO) is immune towards “influence” from the cosmetic industrial giants.

Do you, for example, know that the thinning ozone-layer, was the first reason for sun-scare and for the increased incidences of (non-melanoma) skin-cancer? There was even organized a new monitoring organisation fot measuring the ozone-layer and to send out daily alerts about dangerous UVB levels. (note the mistake, related to the new findings in the report above, they focused on UVB, because the ozone-layer doesn’t influence much on UVA).

Guess who financed the organisation for the measuring of the ozone-layer? It was not WHO and it was not any government. It was L’Oreal. Their representative describes himself their involvement like this:

“The implementation of the TEMIS service results from direct interactions with parties interested in the tropospheric satellite data products –here, namely L’Oréal and the Dutch Meteorological Institute (KNMI). The final choice of data sets that are delivered through TEMIS depends on the requests and requirements from L’Oréal.”

Now, it turned out that the ozone-layer is not really diminishing, at least not in the parts of the world that matters for producers of sun-screen (the markets for their products around the North- and South- poles are quite small). So they had to find another reason for the increase in diagnosed skin-cancer in order to keep up the sun-scare. And so, sunbeds became the culprit.

The campaign against indoor tanning has also another benefit for the most active group in the sun-scare lobby, dermatologists. It might help them to get monopoly on a multimillion dollar market for UV-treatments. For sure, the price of a tanning session will then not be 10 $ but 100 and most of it will be paid by your tax-money.

The site tannersrights.com, is full of other examples of how the sun-scare lobby is brainwashing us.
Here is also an educating video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v….

Before anyone else try to lecture me based on media-reports from press-releases from the sunscare lobby, I ask you to study the background materials at least to the same extent as I have done. And, if you are diagnosed with non-melanoma skin-cancer, to get at least a second and third opinion before you let someone put the scalpel into your skin (see:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/harmon-leon/is-profit-behind-dermatol_b_640929.html)

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At 60, I would think you’d gained enough wisdom to balance information rather than skew it towards your own delusions. No-one is forcing anyone to buy expensive products. Mostly, our governments are trying to prevent the expense brought on by exposure to dangerous things.
My background is medical ethics and I read articles like these day in day out. I’m well aware that WHO is not above being influenced by external agencies. I’m also well aware that scientific evidence changes over time as new discoveries are made.
I guess living downunder, I get to SEE the long-term effect of sun exposure (UVA and UVB included). It ain’t pretty! And anything that can burn you like UV can can’t possibly be good for your cells. The sagging, wrinkled skin of long-term tanners is a familiar (if scary) sight in Aus. It is well-known  here that sun exposure will age you prematurely and we know this from looking at the older generations who didn’t have the benefit of the knowledge we now have.
My daughter once demonstrated to me the hard way how intense our sun really is. On a cloudy day, she had missed a small section of her thigh with sunscreen and later developed 3rd degree burns in that small area requiring medical attention. With such a short time in the sun and such hideous after-effects,  I vowed to be much more careful. I’ll never forget her crying as her skin blistered and tore. All of us in Aus have horror sunburn stories. We know without having to be told that too much sun exposure is bad news.
If anyone really wanted to read info on tanning, then perhaps they (and you) should look up the mechanics of how skin cells are affected in order to make them tan. Any time you start altering cells of any sort, you are asking for things like cancer to occur. I’m not adding links here, because someone such as yourself is clearly smart enough to find that kind of info themselves, though I doubt you’re interested.
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Commenter's avatartannersrights

I don’t think that our views differ that much, except that I remember a time without the sun-scare.

You are free to buy and cover yourself and your family with cheap chemical sunscreen, and I want people to be free to enjoy the health-benefits from sunlight (and sun-lamps) without anyone manipulating the system in order to scare them away from this life-giving source (and for commercial reasons).

I am not advocating tanning just for the sake of getting as dark as possible. I am promoting regular, moderate and responsible tanning for the sake of getting vitamin D in the way nature intended us to make it.

The brainwash from the sun-scare lobby has made most people believe that all sun-exposure is life threatening. In fact, statistic shows that is is much more dangerous to have too little sun than too much. When was the last time you measured your vitamin D level?

To castigate  all kind of sun-exposure (UVB) that triggers the melanocytes to produce more melanin (that can be oxidized by UVA) in order to build up a natural defense against sunburn, is approximately the same as accusing athletes of causing cell-damage with their training.

With your background in medical ethics, you really ought to be able (and interested in) to see which are the driving forces behind the sun-scare messages.

For example, and let’s get back to the report we are commenting on, take the headline of the press-release that was echoed (and tweeted by an army of tweeters) all over the world: “Tanning salons more dangerous than previously thought”.  Where do you think that headline came from?

In the report (which you can buy from Journal of Investigative Dermatology for 32US$) neither tanning, tanning salons or tanning beds are mentioned at all.

A more correct headline related to the result of the research would have been: “We have been wrong all the time in our advice to disturb the delicate balance between the human body and sunlight, developed during millions of years, with our chemical sun-protection cosmetics focused on filtering only UVB”. That is exactly the conclusion that can be made from reading the report.

So who spun the press-release to fit into the ongoing campaign against teenagers usage of tanning beds? Of course the PR-people behind the sun-scare lobby. Do you know how much it costs the get the amount of media coverage they are getting for every similar press-release? I can tell you it is much more than any research-institute even would dream of spending by themselves.

Another observation in the report is that the measurements are based upon erythemal (i.e. burning) exposure to either UVA or UVB light. Burning, in the open sun and in tanning beds must of course be avoided, however, not by laws or scary propaganda for total sun-avoidance but by relevant information about how to tan for a healthy and natural production of vitamin D.

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2 Responses to Comment exchange in The Telegraph

  1. antonio 11/10/2011 at 9:39 PM #

    the indoor tanning in our opinion has changed and is always changing for the better!
    Professionals today are promoting a suntan tan intelligently made ​​by a moderate exposure, sensitive and responsible, with the use of products that moisturize and nourish the skin, using the best technologies for tanning.
    the latest studies show that people in America who do not expose themselves to the sun or have better working within livellli vitamin d much lower than those who work outside and that the risk of melanoma in them and higher.
    We are professionals!!

  2. steven 14/06/2012 at 3:23 PM #

    Isn’t odd how some people simply ignore the nose on their faces. I am close to 60 years old..I have always enjoyed moderate sun exposure and during the winter months I tan indoors once a week for ten minutes unless I am heading south for vacation. If a beach is in my near future I double my exposure to twice a week for the three weeks prior to take-off. I DO NOT use sunscreen. I never burn(thanks to indoor tanning) I have very few wrinkles, I have never had anything removed and my overall health is excellent.Now Fimack would have me believe I should have the skin of an old saddle and pre-cancerous moles all over from all my “sun damage” Sorry Fimack, I am totally healthy and actually look more like 50 than 60. Now of course this is not ALL the work of my moderate UV exposure, but I feel it certainly has helped.
    Ya know, if big pharma could tax the sun, sunshine would become the best thing on earth.
    Shame on you Fimack…your “facts” are fictitious!

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