• Rich Barlow

    Senior Writer

    Rich Barlow

    Rich Barlow is a senior writer at BU Today and Bostonia magazine. Perhaps the only native of Trenton, N.J., who will volunteer his birthplace without police interrogation, he graduated from Dartmouth College, spent 20 years as a small-town newspaper reporter, and is a former Boston Globe religion columnist, book reviewer, and occasional op-ed contributor. Profile

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There are 16 comments on Ban the Tan?

  1. Not sure how Barbara comes to the conclusion that the “vitamin D thing” doesn’t hold water. Do some google searches and you’ll see new studies every day connecting vitamin D deficiency to conditions ranging from several of the most prominent cancers, to asthma, to MS. To think all of those findings are a coincidence is ridiculous. Perhaps, as some groups like the sunscreen-funded Skin Cancer Foundation claim, her argument is that UV exposure is not an effective way to raise vitamin D levels. That of course, is one of the most absurd things ever uttered, as UV exposure is the ONLY NATURAL way to reach and maintain adequate vitamin D levels (short of eating multiple servings of freshwater fish every day). It seems that Barbara and groups like the Skin Cancer Foundation are pushing their own agendas with little regard for the facts on the other side of things.

  2. She didn’t say vitamin D deficiency isn’t a real thing, nor that UV rays don’t provide it; she said tanning beds aren’t a legitimate source of it, and she’s right.

    Tanning beds give off 95% UVA rays, which brown your skin. They only give off 5% of UVB, which is responsible for vitamin D. Moreover, sun exposure has been deemed less than ideal for getting vitamin D because of cancer risks–if it’s your best way of getting it, use a lot of sunscreen and go outside for 10-15 mins, you might even get a walk in, which will also lower blood pressure in addition to a litany of other health benefits. You can get vitamin d from mushrooms, fatty fish, pork (especially ribs), eggs, ricotta, and fish oils, and many milks and cereals come fortified with it, too. If you’re vegan, I understand why it seems problematic, but not impossible.

    Claiming a tanning bed is the best way to get vitamin d is akin to saying you should smoke in order to breathe much-needed oxygen.

    1. You’re vastly misinformed. You would have consume insane amounts of any of those foods to maintain adequate vitamin D levels.

      95% percent UVA is very similar to the sun’s output actually, and tanning beds are most definitely a viable source of vitamin D (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15585781) (http://www.biomedexperts.com/Abstract.bme/23104230/The_effects_of_a_mid-winter_8-week_course_of_sub-sunburn_sunbed_exposures_on_tanning_vitamin_D_status_and_colds)

      I’m not saying that tanning beds are the best source of vitamin D, I’m saying that Ms. Gilchrest is blatantly lying in saying that they do not produce vitamin D. It is certainly a viable option, and I think it’s reasonable to make the assumption that getting it the natural way, through UV exposure, is better than taking a pill. To each their own.

  3. Shame on Dr. Gilchrest for mentioning Vitamin D in a negative manner. There is decent research being done with interesting results to read and from which to learn. It is a shame that Dr. Gilchrest uses this forum to continue a personal vendetta. That is so petty.

    1. You’ve sort of taken the Vitamin D comment out of context. It’s really only being mentioned as not well sourced from tanning and not a tanning-related benefit, not that there’s a problem with Vitamin D.

      Comments starting with ‘shame on’ are rarely, if ever, constructive.

      1. “”Unlike the vitamin D craziness, which the Institute of Medicine and everyone else has found doesn’t hold water,” it seems that this is a real effect. “My guess is it will replace vitamin D, because that’s been totally discredited.” The counterargument would be that there are essentially risk-free ways of achieving the same health benefit rather than exposing yourself to a known carcinogen.”

        Mr. L’Heureux, I think Dr. Gilchrest is saying precisely what I thought she said. See, above.

        1. Yes, the vitamin D craziness –> in the context of a tanning article. And that this other discovery *within the realm of tanning* will replace the vitamin D enthusiasts. And that vitamin D benefits *from tanning* have been totally discredited.

          You’re making my case for me. I’m certainly not going to suggest I know whether there are or are not vitamin D benefits from tanning, but I am going to say that you’re misreading the context of the statement and this person’s opinion appears to be that there is not a significant vitamin D benefit *from tanning*.

    2. I think she’s dismissing the idea that tanning beds are a viable source of vitamin d, nothing about vitamin d deficiency. Tanning beds use uva radiation, which is near useless for vitamin d production.

      1. The primarily UVA ratio mimics that of the sun. All other questions aside, tanning beds most definitely do produce vitamin D. See my other replies for sources.

  4. Putting sunscreen on then going outside will defiantly inhibit any vitamin D production as sunscreen blocks burning (uvb) which is also the same rays that stimulate Vitamin D production in the skin.
    most Tanning beds produce the same amount of uvb as the sun, and there are UVB meters and vitamin D meters that have been used on tanning units to prove this! You can obtain up to 10,000iu of vitamin D from a full session on these tanning units.

    Your actual risk which never makes it to the media of getting melanoma via UV exposure is only .035%, less than half a percent, which is a 75% increase (which is the scary number they like to blast) from .02% which is your risk without exposure. Funny thing though, the studies that got to these numbers had red heads who burn and cannot tan, which are turned away from professional salons, and when this skin type 1 group was removed from the studies, it showed no increase, and in some cases even a decrease as new studies are showing uv exposure is protective AGAINST melanoma. Do a little digging and you can find all this out for yourself.

    Even at .035% that is less than half a percent of a risk. Other things never show up on radar until they are 3% or higher. 5 teens in 10 years in Canada have died from melanoma, thats half a person per year, and there is no proof as to the cause. 7000 teens will die per year in transport accidents (driving, riding bikes etc) and drowning is a much higher risk, yet we never hear of a push to ban swimming.

  5. Vitamin D from either the sun’s or a tanning bed’s UV rays are the ONLY way to get a proper amount. No human can by diet or supplements alone create or swallow enough Vitamin D. Dereck has correctly answered the questions about the mix of UVA and UVB being roughly equivalent in tanning beds as from the sun.

    Research now tells us that UV light (apart from Vitamin D) lowers blood pressure – reducing risks of stroke and heart disease – DWARFING the concerns (potentially unfounded) about a minuscule amount of skin cancer which somehow increases as our fear of the sun and UV rays increases as well (odd, no?).

    The dermatologist likely has “phototherapy” device in her office. It’s a stronger, unregulated tanning bed for which dermatologists charge up to 100x the price of a UV tanning session.

    The multi-billion dollar marriage between dermatologists with a profit motive and the cosmetic (“skin care”) industry was conceived in junk science and raised by selling snake oil. All of this while convincing the public that the source of all life on this planet is somehow really an insidious killer.

    Follow the money. Do the math. Question the science that has YET to prove a linkage. Keep your money, people. Live your lives. When you get a sunburn, you’ve got too much sun. Nature’s crazy like that.

  6. Actually Jamie, the reason they started fortifying milk with Vitamin D was because of vitamin D deficiency’s causing rickets in children which was virtually eradicated until recently as its making a come back do to sunscreen use and more time spent indoors. In northern U.S states and Canada, after sept and until May the sun is at such an angle to the earth that UVB rays cannot reach us, preventing vitamin D production. indoor Tanners are the very few people during the winter months that do not suffer from vitamin D deficiency’s, which have been linked to even the common colds and flu’s. AS Vitamin D is actually a hormone, it plays far more rolls than we even know, but we do know being hormonally imbalanced can reek havoc on the body, and the more we learn, the more we’ve learned how even the health authorities current recommended amounts are not enough and were set only to keep rickets at bay.
    Using sunscreens prevent vitamin D production, but also most contain an ingredient called oxybenzone, (look at your bottle) which is in the “class 1 list” as a known carcinogen (cancer causing) so is it really tanning causing skin cancer, or the sunscreen we are using thinking we are preventing skin cancer?

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