While most of the dermatology profession has an inexplicably myopic view about tanning, some enlightened dermatologists have broken ranks with their peers in recent years, urging their profession to re-think its one-sided dogma about sun exposure. Two of the most recent:
Research dermatologist Dr. Sam Shuster, professor emeritus to the Department of Dermatology at Newcastle University in northern England, challenged his peers to quantify the alleged increase in skin cancer incidence, which is not based on actual numbers but only estimates. In the book, “Panic Nation: Unpicking the Myths We’re Told About Food and Health” Shuster calls his peers to acknowledge that a tan is the body’s natural protection against sunburn – a reality that has been all but stampeded under the establishment’s rhetoric. “Unfortunately our attitude to sun and ultra-violet (UV) light is subject to much perverse and dubious technical ‘advice’, which society has passively accepted without questioning its provenance,” Shuster writes.
Boston University Professor Dr. Michael Holick – the scientist who was involved in the discovery of the active form of vitamin D in the early 1970s – wrote the book “The UV Advantage” in 2004, urging people to embrace moderate exposure to ultraviolet light as the body’s natural way to produce Vitamin D. Holick is one of the world’s leading authorities on vitamin D production. “Since some exposure to sunlight is beneficial to your health, it is reasonable that if you wish to be exposed to sunlight, that you can do so with relative safety if you make sure that you do not receive a sunburn,” Holick says.
Many rank-and-file dermatologists have more moderate views about sensible sun exposure, but have been intimidated by their peers not to discuss these views publicly. Indeed, upon publishing “The UV Advantage” in 2004, Holick was forced to resign his post at Boston University as a professor of dermatology, with the chair of that department calling his work “schlock science.” In spite of such rhetoric, in the two years since publishing his book, most of Holick’s positions have become mainstream thinking.