We are nearing the official start of summer, and with that people of all ages are hitting up their local drugstores for their annual supply of sunscreen. I picked up ours a few weeks back and was surprised at the lack of sunscreen with an SPF of less than 30 on the shelf. With the rising increase of skin cancer, one of the most preventable types of cancer, it probably shouldn’t have been that surprising.
It’s fairly intuitive now that sunscreen is part of our daily life. With 90% of skin cancer caused by excessive exposure to the sun, it’s a no-brainer. But is it?
90% of skin cancer caused by exposure to the sun – this would seem to be a red flag to those who frequent tanning beds year round. Driven by the desire to always have that “sunkissed” look, tanning parlors are big business. And the government wants a cut.
Citing the ability to raise $2.7 billion over ten years, a 10% tax applied to tanning sessions would generate much revenue needed to help pay for healthcare reform. Will it stop people from tanning? The jury is still out, but even a minor reduction in the frequency of visits to the tanning booth could have implications on longer-term healthcare costs associated with treating suspected and diagnosed melanoma.
I’m certain that slathering on tanning lotion and soaking in the UV rays three times a week is considered excessive exposure. But for the rest of us, what defines excessive exposure? A bad sunburn? Repeated daily exposure? Not wearing sunscreen? How much is too much?
I recently ran across a photo of my kids taken last September. I was religious about their sunscreen use, slathering them up every day with SPF 50 – even on a mildly sunny day. In the photo they looked ghostly white. Like their skin had never even seen the sun.
Enter the studies on vitamin D deficiencies to complicate matters. Essential for bone strength, we need 1,000 units a day. A glass of milk gives us 100 and an average multivitamin gives us 400. So how much sun is required to manufacture the other 500?
It’s a constant struggle of moderation – trying to achieve a “healthy and moderate” exposure to the sun. With the rising rates of melanoma prevalence, it’s clear that not everyone is working to achieve this middle ground. Perhaps the tanning bed tax is just what the doctor ordered…Palio is a full-spectrum global pharmaceutical and consumer advertising, marketing, and communications agency that excels in brand creation and specializes in brand strategy, product launches, global marketing, and digital and integrated media.