A recent development in the Australian beauty industry reinforces the need for sunbed operators to act responsibly and be extremely diligent when providing services to their customers. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is taking court action against three solarium operators. ABC News reports the ACCC is alleging the organisations engaged in false, misleading and deceptive conduct. The three operators are the Australian Tanning Association, Tropical Sun Industries and Body Bronze International. Action is also being taken against Scott Meneilly, former president of the ATA and the current chief executive of Body Bronze. The court action follows the death of Melbourne anti-tanning crusader Clare Oliver. The tanning industry has for some years been besieged by such media headlines as, “Sunbed skin danger has trebled” (UK Mail), “Cancer alert as sunbed use on the rise again” (NZ Herald), and “Tan fans don’t get it” (Herald Sun, Australia). Even the Cancer Society of New Zealand has jumped on the bandwagon, commissioning a nationwide study to “investigate how this worrying trend [the rise of solarium use] is affecting New Zealanders”. Dr Judith Galtry told BeautyNZ that the findings are due to be published in the New Zealand Medical Journal, possibly this month (September). She says, “As a broad level finding, this audit showed a substantial increase in the solaria industry (operators and retail outlets) between 1992 and 2006.” Earlier this year several Australian states began changing their laws regarding sunbed use. In Victoria, solarium operators face fines of up to A$1 million for failing to display health warnings or register their business, or for treating customers under the age of 16. Under proposed new laws in Western Australia, the very fair and teenagers will not be allowed to use solariums. The WA Health Minister went so far as to say there was mounting evidence of a link between cancer and solariums. What this all points to is the need for operators to fully inform customers and act prudently and responsibly when providing sunbed services to their customers.Meanwhile, public submissions on the draft Australian/New Zealand Standard “Solaria for cosmetic purposes” have recently closed. For details on what the new standard will entail, please see page 40. What this all points to is the need for operators to fully inform customers and act prudently and responsibly when providing sunbed services to their customers. Sunphobia Mounting evidence supports the view that vitamin D, produced naturally by the body following exposure to sunshine or more specifically UVB, may be the most potent antibiotic that exists. ew Zealand and Australia were two of the first countries to latch onto the sunsmart concepts advertising the ‘slip, slop, slap’ message over 20 years ago. Today, we have some of the highest rates of melanoma in the world and other types of cancers have skyrocketed upwards as well. Scientific evidence has been growing that vitamin D plays a role in shutting down or activating genes which are involved in preventing diseases such as breast, prostate and colorectal cancers, heart disease, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, osteoporosis and others. Research released this year also shows that New Zealand and Australia have much better survival rates too; this also includes better survival rates for melanoma. Our Aussie cousins who get more sunshine than ourselves have better survival rates than even we do! When thinking about cancer and sunlight the first thought that comes to mind is the much publicised ‘sunbeds cause melanoma’. Studies have shown a link between UV exposure (sunbeds or sunshine produce UV) and non malignant skin cancers, (basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma). These are generally treatable. There is still much controversy over the link, however, to cutaneous malignant melanoma (melanoma) which can be deadly. Some of the reasons for the controversy include: • In New Zealand more than 80 percent of sunbed users are women but women make up less than 50 percent of melanoma cases per year. • The possible effect of the chemicals used in sunscreens in contributing to skin cancers. It is a proven fact that the free radical generators generally used in sunscreen have been found to be efficient carcinogens. • Most articles and research take no account of a person’s UV exposure history particularly sunburn or over-exposure history as sunburn is accepted as increasing melanoma risk. • A tan is not skin damage, it is Mother Nature’s natural means of protecting our skin. What is generally accepted is that sunburn (over exposure) is ALWAYS to be AVOIDED. Whilst it may be uncertain what causes various forms of deadly cancers and other diseases, there is clear, irrefutable evidence that vitamin D deficiency is linked to various cancers, the flu, diabetes and neurological disorders as well as bone health. A recently published study showed a 53 to 80 percent higher risk of heart attack or stroke in people with low levels of vitamin D. Two studies released in the US in 2007 show that both the incidence and mortality rates of breast cancer could be reduced by approximately 70 percent if a low level of vitamin D (75-80nmol/L) is attained and maintained. Books have been written on the benefits of having and maintaining sufficient levels of vitamin D including: The UV Advantage by Dr Michael Holick, and Solar Power for Optimal Health by Dr Marc Sorenson. The level of vitamin D you need is still uncertain, however 60-200nmol/L is the current ‘target level’ with some experts saying 120-150nmol/L is needed to prevent disease. In a New Zealand study of Cantabrians it was found that most people are vitamin D deficient most of the time. In February, 88 percent had levels below 75nmol/L increasing to 100 percent deficiency in June and July. Other studies with similar findings have included Auckland workers, pregnant women in Wellington, Dunedin elderly and children throughout the country. Clearly most Kiwis are vitamin D deficient most of the time. As vitamin D does not stay in your body it is necessary to continually generate or take supplementary vitamin D in order to maintain target levels. You need somewhere in the order of 1,450 to 2,600 IU (International Units) daily to achieve 75-80nmol/L or around 10,000IU to achieve 120-150nmol. Supplements of 1,000 or even 2,000 IU/day are recommended. Higher doses of supplements should not be taken due to the risk of toxicity; which includes nausea and even death. Taking 1,000IU daily will take about a year to get your body to the low level 75-80nmol/L of vitamin D. Further, supplements have less potent biological activity than UV radiation induced vitamin D i.e.: supplements are less effective than naturally produced vitamin D. Vitamin D is also contained in food such as milk and oily fish; however, it is virtually impossible to maintain optimal levels through diet alone. Sunshine and sunbeds both give out vitamin D effective irradiance; what is different is that sunbeds give out a controlled dose all year-round. On a sunbed it takes around 6 to 14 minutes to stimulate 10,000 IU of vitamin D, or around 8-25 sessions to reach levels of 120nmol/L. This will depend on the sunbed and the client’s skin type. Pale skin requires less exposure than dark skin to generate the same levels of vitamin D. Naturally produced vitamin D is not harmful. Moderate, responsible tanning, year-round, is therefore a sensible way to ensure you maintain optimal levels of vitamin D. The risk of dying from skin cancer is very small compared to the risk of dying from diseases such as breast cancer, prostate cancer, heart disease, MS, and diabetes, to name a few. In New Zealand 110 women die annually from melanoma and 640 women die from breast cancer. For every person who dies from overexposure to UV radiation there are said to be at least 300 people who die because of underexposure to UVR and their resulting vitamin D deficiency. Tanning advice for clients: • NEVER become sunburned. Over-exposure causes skin damage and increases the risk of melanoma. • Tan according to YOUR skin type. Pale skin requires less exposure for optimal vitamin D. • Moisturise. Keep your skin supple and healthy. • Maintain your tan all year round. A tan is nature’s way to a healthy beautiful body.
Responsible sunbed practice
Thursday, 04 September 2008