Prior to the 1940s, swimwear was designed to cover and protect the skin. (BBC, The Science of Sunshine, http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/sunshine/index.shtml#for_against1)
The women in those days knew how to wear bonnets, large hats, and other fashion items to protect the skin.
In 1923, the Jewess Coco Chanel was out sailing with the Duke of Wellington. She got a tan, and thought her looks were much improved. So she started promoting tanning. (Anecdotes from Gates to Yates, http://www.anecdotage.com/index.php?aid=8373)
Chanel was, of course, a light of virtue comparable to Calvin Klein. She never bothered to get married, instead sleeping around with quite a variety of lovers. Like the polo player Etienne Balsan. Or the Jewish moneyman Arthur "Boy" Capel. (Lennie Bennett, Lukewarm Coco, Tampabay.com, June 5, 2005, http://www.sptimes.com/2005/06/05/news_pf/Floridian/Lukewarm_Coco.shtml)
LEADING LIGHT IN THE INDUSTRY
To understand the sunscreen/suntan lotion industry, we need to go back to the beginnings. To the Jew Abraham Plough. In 1908, at the age of 16, Abe started the Plough Chemical Company. His first big winner was Plough's Antiseptic Healing Oil, a "sure cure for any ill of man or beast." Selma Lewis, "Abe Plough", The Tennessee Encyclopedia of History and Culture, The University of Tennessee Press, http://tennesseeencyclopedia.net/imagegallery.php?EntryID=P033)
One oil was all you needed, he said, to cure any ailment. A con man? Snake-oil salesman? You decide.
After 1971, his company was known as Schering-Plough, Inc.
SERVING THE TANNING COMMUNITY
They produce the Coppertone line of sun-screen products. Coppertone is the industry leader in sales (Peter Malbin, "Bright year is forecasted for sun care", Drug Store News, Sept 8, 1997) . As you might guess, these products are a "sure cure" for any sun problems.
TANNING AND CANCER
"Long-term sun exposure has been associated with premature aging of the skin, malignant changes in the skin, development of lip cancer and corneal opacities. Skin cancer is the most rapidly increasing form of cancer in the United States. Recent studies indicate that the incidence of skin cancer is increasing at an alarming rate with 600,000 new cases being reported every year. One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in their lifetime."
(Sunscreens: Avoiding the dangers of the sun, Minnesota Poison Control System, http://www.mnpoison.org/index.asp?pageID=219) (emphasis added)
"Excessive sunbathing, obesity, binge drinking and smoking have been linked to spiralling rates of cancer, according to a new cancer charity study." (The cancer generation: how Britons' hedonistic lifestyles are taking a terrible toll, The Daily Mail, August 9, 2007.)
The experts say that sunning can be dangerous. Now who would promote something dangerous?
Tobacco companies do this. And, yes, the cosmetics business does too.
If we look at Coppertone's website, we see that beauty and family have a lot to do with "tanning":
- The art or process of making leather from rawhides.
- Browning of the skin by exposure to sun and weather.
- Informal. A beating; a whipping. (Tanning, The American Heritage Dictionary)
Generally, tanning is associated with laying in the sun for long hours, exposing tender areas of the skin to the merciless rays. Do it long enough, and one day the skin will look like leather.
"Normally, when ultraviolet light reaches the cells, it creates free radical molecules — high-energy molecules that damage the proteins and lipids in the cell and eventually lead to photo-aged skin." (Shari Roan, Sunblock that's more than skin deep, Los Angeles Times, May 28, 2007)
You get that free-radical action to cause cancer, plus the aged, leathery appearance.
FREE AND EASY PROTECTION
Obviously, for white people, at least, the smart approach would be to cover the skin with clothes as far as possible, and avoid peak periods of sun-exposure.
CHEMICALLY HACK THE SKIN
But if they did that, where would the profits be for all those "tanning products"?
Our skin naturally protects us from the UV damage by producing something called melanin. This is a substance that absorbs the harmful rays of the sun to protect our DNA. When our body produces melanin it darkens the skin thus, creating what we know as a tan.Yes, you can use chemicals to give your skin a darker appearance.
Sunless tanning lotions replicate this process by using a chemical called Dihydroxyacetone - DHA. DHA colors our skin by interacting with the amino acids in dead skin cells; when the dead skin cells shed so does the color. (Katie Buyer, The Best Sunless Tanning Lotions: Today’s top picks, Buzzle.com, September 4, 2006)
Or you could even go to the sun studio:
"Sunbeds produce ultraviolet rays, just like the sun. In fact, a sunbed can be even more dangerous than the sun. It’s estimated that 20 minutes in a solarium can be equivalent to approximately four hours in the sun." (BBC, The Science of Sunshine, bbc.co.uk)
In a study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, researchers found that when comparing people who use tanning devices to those who do not, users were 1.5 to 2.5 times more likely to develop common kinds of skin cancer.(Camille Richardson, A hidden danger: Restrictions should be placed on minors tanning, thebatt.com, February 22, 2002.)
Tanning, or regular exposure to the sun, is a bad thing:
"Dr. James Spencer, vice chairman of the department of dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, said it is worse to tan a little bit each day than it is to get an infrequent sunburn. Both can seriously damage the skin, he said, but the small, day-to-day exposure is worse for skin in the long run." (Richardson)(emphasis added)
Tanning is bad. According to Dr. Spencer, its about the worst thing to do.
Dr Charlotte Proby is a dermatologist with Cancer Research UK. She advises people "to seek shade and cover up between 11am and 3pm, especially in hot countries". (Celia Hall, Medical Editor, Teenagers 'are risking their lives for a tan', Telegraph.co.uk, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2004/03/31/ntan31.xml)Advertising gives you the idea that its safe (if you buy and use their products). And what happens?
Exposure to strong solar radiation may cause sunburn and skin cancer. Sunscreen products applied to the skin are therefore frequently used. Their main function is to protect against sunburn; their effectiveness in protecting against skin cancer is, however, also of interest. Articles published in the recent past have cast doubt upon the suitability of sunscreen products for protection against skin cancer. In order to clarify this issue, the BG Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BGIA) therefore conducted an Internet and literature survey. In the scientific literature, the protective effect of sunscreen is the subject of controversy. Accordingly, a certain efficacy in the prevention of skin cancer cannot be excluded; however, the products do not generally appear suitable for this purpose, particularly in the absence of any other protective measure. It is therefore recommended that a combination of measures be taken to protect the skin against the hazards caused by solar radiation. Besides general avoidance of exposure to strong solar radiation, these measures include wearing of suitable clothing, use of sunscreen, consideration of the individual skin sensitivity, and wearing of sunglasses. (Berufsgenossenschaften, BGIA-Report 3/2006e: Suitability of sunscreen for the prevention of skin cancer, http://www.hvbg.de/e/bia/pub/rep/rep05/bgia0306.html)The lotions don't really work. Instead, avoid a lot of sun exposure.
Just 600,000 new cases of skin cancer a year in the United States alone. If the tanning lotions worked, why would there be some many skin cancer cases?
WHEN SUNSCREEN USE CAUSES CANCER
While the sun blockers don't prevent skin cancer, they can be effective in stopping Vitamin D production, one of the main benefits from sun exposure. "But the increasing use of sunscreens and the decreasing amount of time spent outdoors, especially by children, has contributed to what many scientists believe is an increasing problem of vitamin D deficiency."(Jeremy Laurance, The virtues of Vitamin D: It's time we saw the light , The Independent, September 18, 2007)
Which is tied in to cancer yet again. "A 40-year review of research found that a daily dose of vitamin D could halve the risk of breast and bowel cancer, two of the biggest cancer killers. Scientists from the University of San Diego reviewed 63 scientific papers published since the 1960s and concluded that there was a need for 'public health action' to boost vitamin D levels. They said that a daily dose of 1,000 international units (25 micrograms) was needed; the recommended level in the US is currently only 400 units. Vitamin D deficiency 'may account for several thousand premature deaths from colon, breast, ovarian and other cancers annually,' they wrote in the American Journal of Public Health." (id.)
SO WHY SELL SUNCREENS?So why all the marketing?
These people make big money selling small containers of sun-tanning lotion. High profit margins: "about 32 percent to 35 percent on branded items and 60 percent to 70 percent for private label". (Malbin, id.)
The "sure cure" salesmen get the money, and the consumers get the disease.