Sunbed Ass Fights Back: Irish salons disagree with WHO, IARC on sunbed issue…

By Aisling | August 28 2009 | 32 Comments


Anyone vaguely interested in tanning and the dangers associated with sunbeds will know all about the recent WHO report on skin cancer risk. Cathyfly told us about it a couple of weeks ago and if you pick up this month’s copy of Image you’ll see that I’m singing from the same hymn sheet.

So I was not surprised when a mad email defending the use of sunbeds dropped into my inbox this week. Subject line: SUNBED ASS FIGHTS BACK. From a salon that makes money from sunbeds of course. Now you’ve no idea how many mad emails we receive at and normally we just click ‘delete’ and they never see the light of day again.

The main defense of sunbed use seemed to come from badly written press releases from the Sunlight Research Association which claims that sunbed use is perfectly safe. However two seconds of investigation revealed that the SRA represents thousands of indoor tanning manufacturers, distributors, facility owners and members from other support industries throughout Europe

Hardly impartial so. The head of the Irish Cancer Control Programme and our Minister for Health have both come out in favour of banning these contraptions (read about it here), and while sunbed tanning may be safe when properly regulated, the stark fact is that it hardly ever is. Legislation is being prepared to protect those most at risk – under 18s are in most danger of skin damage.

So listen sun bed tanning booth people – you’re going to have to come up with something better than made up reports and mad emails. Forget Sunbed Ass fights back. Try this one: Ass fights back.

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32 Replies to "Sunbed Ass Fights Back: Irish salons disagree with WHO, IARC on sunbed issue…"

  • CoCo says:

    The cheek of them!!

  • Liv says:

    Boy, does it ever fight back. Ass, face, skin … I swore I’d wear SPF 50 every day for the rest of my life when I saw pictures of former classmates on facebook. 29 years old going on 45. If you don’t care about cancer, just imagine some classmate staring at your facebook pictures in horror ….

  • Mise says:

    I’m 29, have never been on a sunbed and will never go on one. If I’m going out it’s fake tan all the way for me. yes, it can be a pain to apply, but at least it’s safe.

  • MontyC says:

    What that’s noise?

    I know what it is.

    It the furious sound of the SRA scraping the bottom of the barrel.

  • KellBell says:

    Idiots! Seriously, they think that they have the right to mislead people with nonsense when the WHO has even linked a higher risk of cancer?

    That kind of stupidity actually annoys me and i don;t know why …

  • John says:

    “However two seconds of investigation revealed that the SRA represents thousands of indoor tanning manufacturers, distributors, facility owners and members from other support industries throughout Europe”

    So what? They don’t have a right to defend their industry and livelihood against such misleading “studies” and attacks?

    There are two sides to every story, sites such as have lots of info and articles regarding uv exposure and the benefits of moderate exposure. And there is no edia hype or sunscreen money involved.

  • Cherry says:

    While i dont agree with the use of sunbeds either, i dont see how they can ban them without banning cigarettes too?! They are known to cause cancer too, so where is the difference? Oh wait, the government get tax revenue from ciggie sales, well then, just tax sunbeds too.

    And sunbeds are used by people with skin problems, like acne etc, so who are we to stop these people from relieving their problem skin if this is the only option that works for them?! I know i suffer from mild acne on my chest that flares up quite randomly and the only thing that clears it is the sun, which is fine as i live abroad at the moment, but when i move home and it flares up again, what do i do, live with it? avoid wearing strappy tops, v neck tops, what if i have a special occasion? I have tried all medication, topical treatment and nothing works only the sun or sunbed.

    By all mean regulate sunbeds and their use by underage people, perhaps limit sunbeds to a doctors surgery, for the treatment of skin ailments only.
    But enough of the nanny state PLEASE!!!!

  • Ed says:

    By Christiane Northrup – Board Certified Ob-gyn
    See two of her articles below.

    My perspective:
    I personally frequent my local indoor tanning salon. I am an office worker who lives in a Northern climate with a history of Vitamin D deficiency; both Breast Cancer and Osteoporosis run in my family. In my opinion it is all about moderation, and many of my friends as well. We all frequent this establishment and they never once have condoned over-exposure or burning.
    There is no study I have found that illustrates “cancer causing” when a person only tans, not burns. Have you?

    Protect Your Breasts With Vitamin D

    Excerpt from article
    I encourage every woman to check her vitamin D level regularly and keep it in the optimal range. This is easily done
    vitamin D-3 per day and getting regular, safe sun exposure. (You can even visit a tanning salon that offers UVB tann
    body will benefit. This is preventive medicine at its finest.


    Ensure you’re getting enough Vitamin D.
    The most recent research reveals that calcium is virtually useless without
    enough vitamin D. So if a bone density screening or a urine test shows any
    evidence of osteoporosis, get your vitamin D level checked with a simple
    blood test. Blood levels of vitamin D below 20 ng/mL show a deficiency.
    Adequate levels are 30–50 ng/mL. But Vitamin D expert Michael Holick,
    M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Nutrition at Boston
    University School of Medicine, believes the ideal level is 100 ng/ml. If your
    levels aren’t high enough, get some sunlight, and take supplements.
    We were meant to manufacture our vitamin D under skin that is exposed to
    ultraviolet light. I recommend up to twenty minutes of exposure without
    sunscreen during early morning or late afternoon, three to five times per
    week for four to five months out of the year (between April and October in
    northern latitudes—above the fortieth parallel). But be sure to never get so
    much that you redden your the skin. In the winter, you can use a tanning
    booth for eight to ten minutes once per week. Also be aware that as we age,
    our bodies become less efficient at making their own vitamin D. So if you
    are older than sixty-five, you may need more time in the sun to get the same
    To ensure you’re getting enough, take 800–5,000 IU of Vitamin D per day.
    Good food sources of vitamin D are liver, cod liver oil, and egg yolks. Don’t
    rely on fortified dairy foods, however. When Dr. Holick, studied the vitamin
    D content of fortified milk, he found that there’s often not enough vitamin
    D present because of processing problems. In fact, up to 50 percent of the
    milk tested had less vitamin D than noted on the label. Fifteen percent of
    the milk had no vitamin D at all! And in skim milk there is a problem
    getting vitamin D into the solution because vitamin D is fat soluble and
    requires some fat to blend with the product. Skim milk products may
    actually have little or no vitamin D whatsoever.

  • Kirstie says:

    People, stop trying to pretend that sunbeds are all lovely and shiny and happy and gorgeous. They are not. They are completely unregulated and that is the crux of the issue. No one checks that the levels of UV they emit are safe, no one enforces maximum time allowed on the beds. That is a huge problem.

    No one wears sunscreen to go on a sunbed, but it is increasingly in our consciousness to do so in natural sunlight, so we’re getting that vitamin D the dogs on the street know we need (so fudging the issue with this wonderful piece of research which naturally trumps anything the WHO can muster … NOT … is completely ridiculous and nothing to do with the danger and regulation issue) as well as essential sun protection.

    All tans are damage. The more skin damage you have, the more likely it is to lead to problems.

  • Ed says:

    Consider too the money trail.
    Take a look at “who” the sunscreen industries support…Schering Plough (Coppertone), for example. You guessed it, the Derms.
    Neither have produced any evidence that tanning is cancer causing…just burning.
    …spf’s 60 billion dollar industry with a history of timed reports that sun-scare when it is time to buy sunscreen

    Does one believe that a person who wants to overexpose and is bound and determined to do so, will not do the same outdoors? Is this better?
    Should we ban all 18 and under from going to the beach too. As one said above, not that I agree, many people overdo it in indoor sunbeds even though there are positive effects and therefore they should be banned,
    Well…do you think those folks are the ones applying sunscreen at the beach…I do not think so.

    Lets use our heads and not create the Nanny State! educate yourself and read both sides opinions.
    you do not have to read the indoor tanning positions if you are afraid they are biased.
    read Christiane Northrup, MD
    Michael Holick, MD
    Mark Sorenson, MD
    to name a few

  • Ed says:

    In all due respect, you say “All tans are damage. The more skin damage you have, the more likely it is to lead to problems.”
    Is it not your body’s natural way of protecting itself?
    The “damage” is repaired naturally by you body.
    No different than a cut scabs, and is healed before you know it.
    Why are people in Southern climates less likely to have breast cancer, osteoporosis, colon cancer???
    It is early on maybe…but the research has been coming in more and more to support getting sunlight in moderation.

    British Oncologist Speaks Out In Favor of Indoor Tanning
    A respected British oncologist has published an article in The London Daily Mail encouraging moderate indoor tanning as a means of manufacturing vitamin D reliably — adding to the growing list of defectors from Big Dermatology’s anti-sun, “sun scare” dogma.
    2009-01-27-doctors-orders-copy.jpgProfessor Tim Oliver, a Medical Oncologist at Barts and the London Hospital, made his statement very clear: “Current medical advice is to cover up in the sun, but I believe the health benefits of exposure to its UVA and UVB rays greatly outweigh the disadvantages, even if that means using a sunbed during winter months,” Oliver wrote. “This is because the body converts sunshine into Vitamin D, a substance that helps build a healthy immune system and strong bones, and may even fight off depression and cancer. Seen the light: Using a sunbed carefully during winter months will boost your Vitamin D levels.”
    A growing number of doctors are starting to do the math: You can’t make vitamin D naturally and reliably any other way than by getting regular UV exposure.
    “In Britain just after the turn of the 19th Century, children in cities had less exposure to sunlight and became crippled by rickets. It was also discovered that TB — which was commonplace — could be treated with cod liver oil, another good source of Vitamin D, and sunlamps — early versions of sunbeds that provide artificial UV light similar to sunlight,” Oliver continued in his article. “But in more recent years, antibiotic-resistant strains of diseases such as TB are emerging, proving that medicine may no longer be enough.”
    In other words: Good day, sunshine.
    “In 2009 we are simply not getting enough sunlight to make the Vitamin D we need to stay healthy,” he writes. “Dietary sources of Vitamin D include oily fish, liver, eggs and fortified foods such as cereals, margarine and powdered milk. There are supplements, such as cod liver oil, but it’s almost impossible to get sufficient Vitamin D from diet alone. A person would have to drink ten tall glasses of Vitamin D-fortified milk each day just to get the minimum levels.”

    entire article

  • Kirstie says:

    Ed. I too have spoken to many, many dermatologists – face to face, would you believe – who see and treat the effects of sun damage with no help from sunscreen money.

    Not one of them has ever denied we need exposure to sunlight, of course we do, and to try to switch the arguement from the regulation of something dangerous (our concern) to bleating about milk and vitamin d, which no one mentioned above, to support your obvious fandom of sunbeds (just declare your interest,eh?) is not going to wash with me and I will not be derailed by a side issue. Sunbeds are dangerous, too much sun exposure is dangerous too.

    But the message is getting across to people that they must protect their skin (UV levels are far higher now than they used to be, in case you weren’t aware, and it is leading to a much greater incidence of skin cancers, Ireland’s most common form of the disease) when they are out and about. The information is there, and now the information is coming with regards to sunbeds. Of course you will always have idiots who refuse to take heed, but you’d have them in any walk of life, and to refuse to take action because of a minority is incredibly foolish.

    Lastly, linking to the daily mail as a source of factual, unbiased, info is absolutely hilarious.

  • Ed says:

    okay fine…the Daily Mail
    Professor Tim Oliver, a Medical Oncologist at Barts and the London Hospital??

  • Ed says:

    I agree on the over-exposure.
    Education, not regulation…do we really need the “Beach or Sun Police”?
    Will we get fined for not wearing sunscreen? Or not putting in on our children under 18?
    I understand the increase in incidence of skin cancers…keep in mind MANY more die of other cancers due to lack of Sunshine, or Vitamin D as research now shows.
    In the states, 7500 +/- will die from melanoma…and not one is okay, however MANY more die from the lack of exposure.
    Do you not agree that the benefits of exposure outweigh the negatives?

  • KellBell says:

    Well i guess Ed – unfortunately it’s not Oncologists who prescribe the use of sunbeds for medical reasons. As it stands it seems anyone can go and buy a sundbed and joe bloggs can walk in and use it without knowing what the potential damage could be.

    As for the ‘nanny state’ – the ‘nanny state’ is the one that will probably be expected to PAY – at least something – towards treating people who might develop skincare as a result of a largely unregulated industry.

  • Cherry says:

    The same nanny state that will pay for smokers who develop lung cancer!

    Its double standards.

    Why not ban the sun too, and sun holidays, and alcohol, well thats a poison, freely available, abused by many, including underage teens, and causes many many health issues.

    And im sure, like those smokers and drinkers, sunbed users are paying their tax to the government too, so are as entitled as any tax paying citizen of Ireland to receive the benefits of any necessary free healthcare.

    And are you aware that sunscreen prevents you from absorbing vitamin D, so how many of us are actually getting what we need?
    Dr Chris Steele from This Morning recommends that we all sit in the sun for 15mins WITHOUT sunscreen, whenever possible, to ensure we get our recommended levels of Vit D.

    So by all means put a tax on sunbeds, or sunbed use, limit them to doctors surgeries for controlled medical purposes(ive never understood the reasoning behind a sunbed in a dvd shop?!), regulate them, but you cant ban them unless you’re prepared to ban all cancer causing products in the world.

    Just my opinion.

  • Ed says:

    No Oncologists do not prescribe Sunbeds…they treat cancers, many times which may in fact be caused by the lack of Vitamin D.
    Do you not agree that the benefits of exposure outweigh the negatives?
    Can you present a study that would indicate that tanning is harmful?
    Burning we all can.
    I believe in moderation…a glass of wine a day…not a barrel!
    Some sun is probably okay.

    Is the IARC report not Sensational?
    It tries to convey that you should NEVER be exposed.
    I believe this is not the correct message.

  • Ed says:

    You say….
    So by all means put a tax on sunbeds, or sunbed use, limit them to doctors surgeries for controlled medical purposes(ive never understood the reasoning behind a sunbed in a dvd shop?!), regulate them, but you cant ban them unless you’re prepared to ban all cancer causing products in the world.
    Should red wine…a glass each day only be available at the cardiologist?
    What about aspirin? you can buy it over-the-counter…if you take too much you can die.
    Therefore ban it from the drugstore and reduce us to idiots…you realize that means we have no faith in our own decisions.
    Somebody larger and smarter needs to tell us what to do?

  • KellBell says:

    Cherry & ED – Firstly, i haven’t said that i don’t think there are benefits to sunlight so not sure why you’re mentioning banning the sun?

    Secondly, ‘poisons’ like alcohol and cigarettes (again don’t think they should be banned) – are regulated, in that they are not to be sold to those under a certain age. Totally another argument how effective that is – but there is at least some attempt at regulation.

    There doesn’t seem to be for the use of sunbeds. I don’t think this post was attempting to vilify sunbeds or people who use them – but to point out that an organisation tied into making profit from sundbed use is probably not the most credible source for making an informed decision.

    Now can everyone just the f*ck out

  • KellBell says:

    :that should read: CHILL the f*ck out :)

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