Dr. Holick reveals if there are health benefits associated with indoor tanning.
Well, I don’t advocate tanning, just to make it very clear, and I do get some support from the UV Foundation, which is a non-profit foundation that helps fund our vitamin D research and cancer. So just for everybody to be aware of that, but we did do a study in tanners in Boston at the end of the winter. And we found that tanners that went to a tanning salon that had a tanning bed that made vitamin D, that is, it had UVB component to it, that they had robust, healthy levels at the end of the winter, but adults that did not go to a tanning bed that were matched for both sex and age, all were vitamin D deficient, and we found in the tanners that they had a higher bone density.
So it may be that tanners are on to something, that if they have higher blood levels of vitamin D throughout the entire year, maybe in fact that will decrease their risk of common cancers, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as maybe even heart disease. But there’s no question that if you’re going to go to a tanning salon multiple times a week and if you get sunburned, you’re going to increase your risk of significant skin damage.
So what I recommend, if you want to use a tanning bed for your vitamin D, is to wear sun protection on your face and go in for 50% of the time recommended by the manufacturer so that you won’t significantly damage your skin and get the benefits of making vitamin D and feeling better, and if you wish to go to a tanning salon, you could do so.
About Dr. Holick, Ph.D., M.D.:
Michael Holick, Ph.D., M.D., is the Professor of Medicine of Physiology and Biophysics at Boston University School of Medicine. He received his medical degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison and performed his residency and fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Holick specializes in vitamin D, calcium, bone metabolism, photobiology of vitamin, and osteoporosis. Dr. Holick is also the recipient of the American Skin Associations Psoriasis Research Achievement Award, the American College of Nutrition Award, the Robert H. Herman Memorial Award in Clinical Nutrition from the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, and more.