The 3-Second Downloads That Will Save You from a Nasty Sunburn

Reader’s Digest Article

Tanning isn’t the smartest thing you can do for your skin, but burning is far worse. Now there are smartphone apps that can help you enjoy the sun while minimizing the inevitable damage to your skin.
By Lauren Cahn

Readers DigestAh, that golden glow of a suntan. It makes us look and feel more attractive, but suntanning comes at a hefty price: irreversible damage to your skin. Even if you manage to avoid burning, you’re still in for premature wrinkling, sagging, and blotching, and you’re significantly raising your risk of skin cancer, including the deadly kind, melanoma. If only there were a hack of sorts for sunbathing—some way to get that beautiful bronzed look without the problems associated with sun exposure.

Well there’s good news and bad news. The good news is that if you’ve got a smartphone, you can download any number of apps that purport to make a science out of how long and under which circumstances you can bask safely in the sun while minimizing the damage to your skin. We’ll get to them just as soon as we let you in on the bad news, which is that we polled dermatologists from all over the country, and they agreed unanimously: There’s simply no such thing as a safe suntan. We may perceive it as attractive, but a suntan is nothing more than “your body’s defense system against the sun, and more specifically, the UV radiation that the sun emits,” according to Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and Medical Director of Minnesota’s Crutchfield Dermatology.

UV radiation, commonly known as “UV rays,” represent about 10 percent of the total light emitted from the sun, according to Fraye L. Frey, MD, a board certified dermatologist located in West Nyack, New York, and can be further broken down as follows:

UVC: These rays gets filtered out by the earth’s ozone layer (and are therefore not of immediate concern)
UVB: These rays cause sunburns but are also a natural source of vitamin D, which is crucial to good health (although Dr. Crutchfield points out that Vitamin D can be sourced naturally from tuna, salmon, eggs, cheese, D-fortified foods, and D vitamin supplements)
UVA: These rays penetrate the skin deeply, can fracture DNA, and are associated with premature skin aging, dark patches, wrinkles and skin cancer

“The intensity of UV light can be measured with a variety of instruments that are commercially available,” says Dr. Frey. Specifically, what is measured is the amount of UV radiation in any given locale at any given time, according to Jerome Potozkin, MD, a board certified dermatologist in Danville, California. That measurement is placed on an international index scale known as UVI, and forms the basis for the smartphone apps that purport to help you strategize your sunbathing. “The scale goes from 0 to 10, with the high number meaning the greater risk of sunburn from UV exposure,” adds Carolyn M. Kassabian, MD, a board licensed dermatologist with the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, California. “When the UVI is 6, it’s twice as easy to burn than if the UVI were 3.”

So what does that mean in terms of how long you can stay in the sun on any given day and with what level of protection? These smartphone apps were designed to crunch the numbers for you:

iTanSmart uses your phone’s GPS to determine your location, space satellites to measure the UVI in your location, and information that you input about yourself and your environment to tell you exactly how long you can be in the sun without burning. Except for the GPS and the space satellites, all of the information is self-reported, so you’ll need to be honest when inputting your eye color, hair color, tendency to burn, blister, tan, or freckle. You’ll also need to describe where you are (beach? mountain? city?) admit your goal (avoid sunburn versus get a savage tan). If you’re looking to use iTanSmart to develop a tan, you’ll have to pay an extra fee of $1.99, and whether it’s worth it will depend upon many factors, not the least of which is whether you’re prepared to accept the damage you’re doing to your skin in the process (which iTanSmart is fully transparent about reminding you).
SunZapp provides the same functions as iTanSmart but also assesses the sun protection you are getting from the clothes you tell the app you’re wearing. The results it spits out after you answer all its questions and does its UVI reading are easy to parse. In addition, even without all the warnings that iTanSmart provides, SunZapp’s vibe seems to lean more toward protecting your skin from the sun and away from getting tan.
My Tan Expert does essentially what iTanSmart and Sunzapp do, but slightly more complicated. MyTanExpert not only asks the usual battery of questions about your skin, hair, and eyes, but it also asks you to take a photo of your skin beside a white napkin. You provide the white napkin, and getting your skin and the napkin to fit into their respective outlines while taking the photo yourself, one-handed, is no easy task. Once you complete it, however, it’s difficult to understand what the recommendations mean. For example, it tells me, a very pale, freckly, redheaded, blue-eyed person that my skin can take “another 90 percent of the daily dose of ultraviolet radiation.” What?

It seems, however, that with a minimal understanding of UV rays, the following apps, which do little more than provide a UVI reading and a short and simple sun-protection recommendation, could also help you plan a sun-safe strategy every day:

UV Meter tells you the UVI at your current location and offers practical recommendations for sun protection (including not only sunscreen but also protective clothing) as well predictions on how long it will take before you get sunburned.
The EPA’s SunWise UV Index also tells you the UVI at your current location, offers practical recommendations for sun protection (including not only sunscreen but also protective clothing), including the recommendation to “seek shade.” Plus, the app was designed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, which is an excellent source of hard-hitting information about the current state of the ozone layer, which may have an impact on the way our skin is affected by UVCs.
Ultraviolet UV Index very simply and quite beautifully shows the current UVI for your locale as well as any other location in the world. In addition, it provides simple, easy-to-understand instructions on how to expose yourself to that day’s rays as safely as possible.
QSun has functions similar to those described for these other apps, but it adds further value by making sunscreen recommendations, including using your own weight and height to tell you exactly how much sunscreen to apply in order to maximize the sunscreen’s effectiveness.

Regardless of the UVI, Dr. Kassabian tells her patients to apply sunscreen with an SPF of between 30 and 50 every single day. “This gets them in the habit of applying regularly, and they are less likely to forget and consequently, less likely to burn.” She also recommends practicing sun avoidance measures, such as wearing a hat and a long-sleeved shirt, and seeking shade whenever possible. These are the sunscreens dermatologists use on themselves.

Dr. Crutchfield adds that your SPF of 30 or higher should provide not only UVB protection, but also broad spectrum protection so that it blocks the UVA rays as well. “Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure,” he advises, “and reapply every one to two hours, and more often if perspiring or swimming.”

You can still sport a bronzed look this summer if you want—if you get it from a bottle. As Dr. Potozkin says, “The only safe tan is one involving the application of self-tanner.”

WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection”

“Dr. Crutchfield featured on WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection

Good Question: What Doesn’t A SPF Number Tell Us?

Jun 12, 2007 10:41 pm US/Central(WCCO)

As much as we enjoy the outdoors, parents know we have to protect our kids and our skin from the sun. That often means slapping on the lotion with the highest SPF. That stands for sun protection factor, but many of us don’t use it, which is why skin cancer cases are on the rise.

“I see lots of sun damage,” said Dr. Charles Crutchfield, a dermatologist in Eagan, Minn. “Anytime you get darkening of the skin you’re promoting skin cancer, aging and all the things you don’t want.”

The sun exposure that matters most is that we get as kids.

“I have a 4- and 6-year-old and they spend basically the entire day outside,” said one woman at a Minneapolis swimming pool.

That’s why nearly 80 percent of our sun exposure occurs before age 21.

“The cruel hoax is by the time you’re smart enough or wise enough to sun protect it’s almost too late,” said Crutchfield.

So what do we need to know about sunscreen?

“I wear 35,” said one Twin Cities man.

That number refers to the sun protection factor and how long the sunscreen will protect us beyond our skin’s built in protection. For example, if it normally takes 10 minutes for our skin to burn without sun block, an SPF 15 would theoretically protect us 15 times longer or 150 minutes. However, the SPF number only refers to one type of the sun’s rays.

“The SPF is how much it blocks the ultraviolet B rays,” said Crutchfield. “B stands for burn.”

However, we also need to block the sun’s UVA rays.

“You can think of ‘A’ as in aging, wrinkles, damage to skin, skin cancer,” he said. “You need protection from both of those. That’s actually probably as important, if not more important, than the SPF number.”

The FDA is pushing to add the UVA rating to sunscreen bottles. New rules about that should be out in the next few weeks. Here are some other sunscreen tips:

• Regardless of what the label says, sunscreens won’t protect us all day. We should reapply every one to two hours.

• There’s really no such thing as waterproof sunscreen. The FDA doesn’t even recognize that term.

• It takes 20 minutes for sunscreen to become active on our skin, so we need to put it on before we go outside.

• Sunscreen does expire. The chemicals break down and lose their protective ability, so replace any sunscreen you have had for more than a year.

Continue reading WCCO (CBS) Television News’s “Good Question” by Ben Tracy discussing Sunscreen and Sun Protection”

8 Ways To Help Identify CPS – Cancer Prone Skin

cancer prone skinAmericans today recognize acronyms and abbreviations for a wide range of important medical terms:  ED, OCD, UTI.  However, we are not familiar with one that could help to save millions of lives: CPS.

CPS stands for Cancer Prone Skin.  Skin Cancer is the most common cancer, with over 2 million Americans diagnosed with skin cancer each year. It is imperative that we make a household term the primary aid in identifying skin that is most at risk.  No matter your skin color, you can get skin cancer.  Some people have a higher risk of developing skin cancer than others, placing them in the CPS category.

CPS typically includes several or more of the following risk factors:

  • Light colored skin
  • Skin that burns or freckles rather than tans
  • Blond or red hair
  • Blue or green eyes
  • More than 50 moles
  • Irregularly shaped or darker moles
  • Used or use indoor tanning devices
  • History of sun exposure from outdoor activities

With early detection and treatment, skin cancer is highly curable.  The most common warning signs of skin cancer include changes in size, shape, or color of a mole or other skin lesion or the appearance of a new growth on the skin. “If you have any lesion or mole change at all, or if you have a spot that bleeds and doesn’t heal in three weeks, see a dermatologist,” Dr. Crutchfield recommended. “That’s something everyone can do.”

A person with any of the CPS risk factors should not panic, but they should begin a lifelong routine of visiting their board-certified dermatologist for regular skin check. “Dermatology has made incredible advances in identifying risks and early diagnoses,” Crutchfield explained. “For patients with CPS, routine monitoring is the best means to early detection of skin cancer, leading to a great prognosis for successful treatment.”

“Also remember skin color doesn’t give you a free pass,” said Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III.  “It doesn’t matter what color your skin is, everyone can get skin cancer.”

About Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD:

dr charles crutchfieldCharles E. Crutchfield III, M.D. is a graduate of the Mayo Clinic Medical School and a Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School.  Dr. Crutchfield is an annual selection in the “Top Doctors” issue of Mpls. St. Paul magazine.  He is the only dermatologist to have been selected as a “Best Doctor for Women” by Minnesota Monthly magazine since the inception of the survey.  Dr. Crutchfield has been selected as one of the “Best Doctors in America,” an honor awarded to only 4% of all practicing physicians.  Dr. Crutchfield is the co-author of a children’s book on sun protection and dermatology textbook.  He is a member of the AΩA National Medical Honor Society, an expert consultant for WebMD and CNN, and a recipient of the Karis Humanitarian Award from the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.

Boy’s Acne Saves Father’s Life

Minneapolis-St. Paul- Eagan—July 7, 2015. It was just a routine follow up acne appointment. A father patiently read a magazine in the exam room as Dr. Crutchfield examined his son’s progress.   After Dr. Crutchfield reviewed the treatment plan for the boy, he began to exit the room. As he was leaving, he glanced back momentarily toward the boy’s father. Out of the corner of his eye, Dr. Crutchfield noticed a suspicious-looking, dark mole on the father’s arm.

Now outside the room, Dr. Crutchfield paused. His instinct led him to return to the room and speak with the boy’s father about the suspicious mole. Dr. Crutchfield expressed his concern about the mole and asked if he may investigate further.  The father responded that he and the boy were running late for work and school, and in any case, he had no personal health insurance.  Dr. Crutchfield assured the father, “It will take less than 5 minutes and I won’t charge you a penny.” Dr. Crutchfield’s concern and offer convinced the man to permit a biopsy of the suspicious mole.

Incredibly, the pathology report confirmed Dr. Crutchfield’s suspicion: Melanoma.  Clinic personnel immediately contacted the boy’s father, notified him of the diagnosis, and scheduled a complete and successful removal of the malignant Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.  Had the lesion gone unnoticed, it could have been life-ending for the father.

This man was in the right place at the right time. Many people do not realize their health — their life – is too important to rely on remarkable scenarios to catch dangerous health conditions.  If detected early, Melanoma is almost 100% curable. It’s important to have routine skin cancer screenings by a board-certified dermatologist and to receive proper education on how to perform a self-examination, what to look for, and how to identify warning signs. And if Dr. Crutchfield offers to examine a suspicious lesion on your arm, let him take a look!

Sunscreen – What Should I Be Looking For?

Mens Health February 2015

Ask the Men’s Health Expert –

When it comes to health, fitness, grooming, and any other subject we cover in Men’s Health, most guys have similar questions. So instead of racking our brains for what we think you want to know about skin, we dug through the archives and compiled every skin-related question guys have asked over the years. Don’t see the answer you’re looking for?

february 2015 Men's Health cover

Q: The sunscreen aisle confuses me more and more every year. What should I be looking for?

A: No single product can do everything, so you’ll need at least two different sunscreens to fend off the summer sun. For everyday face and neck protection, a recently FDA-approved sunscreen called Anthelios SX can’t be beat. It contains Mexoryl, a UVA-blocking compound that retains its effectiveness longer than other sun-stopping chemicals. As for the SPF, choose 15 or 30. “Anything greater than that has limited to negligible benefits,” says Charles Crutchfield, M.D., a professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota medical school. “In fact, the FDA is considering banning any numbers higher than 45.” The only downside to Anthelios is that it doesn’t come in spray-on or waterproof versions yet, and you’ll need both at the pool or beach. “Sprays guarantee better full-body coverage,” says Dr. Crutchfield. Buy a bottle of Bullfrog Marathon Mist for good UVA/UVB protection and excellent staying power against water and sweat. Plus, unlike some other waterproof sunscreens, Bullfrog is oil-free, so it won’t irritate your skin.
Full Q & A Article: Men’s Health online

Dr. Crutchfield in Perfect Skin Protection Magazine Discussing Actinic Keratosis & Skin Cancer

Perfect Skin Magazine

“Harmless” AK Precursor to Skin Cancer

Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield, III discusses actinic keratosis

Last year, fifty-eight million Americans were treated actinic keratosis (AK). Although the condition itself is not cancerous, if left untreated, AK usually results in squamous cell carcinoma. Given that “cancer” is a general term used to describe diseases characterized by abnormal changes in cells, actinic keratoses are usually included in descriptions of non-melanoma skin cancers.

We asked Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD, clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School and medical advisor for Perfect Skin Protection, to explain the condition and its treatment.

Q: What causes actinic keratosis?

perfect skin magazine pg 2A: First, you should remember that many
factors contribute to these skin
cancers: exposure to artificial UVR from
tanning beds; heredity; prolonged Q suppression of the immune system; exposure to X-rays; prolonged contact with coal, tar, pitch, or arsenic compounds; complications from burns, scars, vaccinations; and, even tattoos.

However, the overriding factor that both causes and compounds actinic keratosis is exposure to the harmful rays of the sun.

Q: Who is most likely to develop actinic keratosis

Perfect Skin Magazine page 3A: Actinic keratoses are generally seen on older, fair-skinned people who have been chronically exposed to the sun. They appear most often on skin least often covered by clothing – the hands, face, tip of ears, scalp and forearms. They can form in patients of all skin colors.

Q What are the symptoms?

A: Actinic keratoses are small bumps with rough, scaly surfaces or sores. They can be as small as the tip of a pencil or as large as a quarter. A person can have one or several at the same time. Some older patients find that they must be treated periodically for these lesions over many years. If this happens, your physician will carefully Crutchfield Magazinemonitor the lesions and recommend different treatments accordingly.

Most of the patients I see with actinic keratosis are age 50 and older, but I have seen some patients even in their 20’s with the lesions.

Q: How is actinic keratosis diagnosed?

A: Diagnosis is usually easy because the lesions have unique physical characteristics that physicians can identify by visual examination.

Occasionally, if the lesion is especially large or thick, it will need to be surgically removed
for microscopic examination (biopsy) to determine if it has evolved or changed to cancer. If cancerous, actinic keratosis will likely be diagnosed as squamous cell carcinoma.

Crutchfield MAgazine InterviewQ: How is it treated?

A: Once the diagnosis is made, dermatologists will consider a number of factors before choosing the most appropriate methods of treatment. Some of these factors include

  • Location, size and number of lesions;
  • The desired cosmetic outcome;
  • The patient’s age, health and medical history;
  • The patient’s ability to comply with treatment; and,
  • The patient’s history of previous treatments.

If diagnosed in the early stages, actinic keratosis can be removed by cryotherapy or freezing; surgical excision or curettage (scraping); by applying cream (5-FU, Solaraze or Carac); or by chemical peeling, laser surgery, or other dermatologic surgical procedures.Perfect Skin MAgazineIt is not usually a difficult condition to treat, but can and will spread, if left untreated.

Q How can actinic keratosis be prevented?

A: Actinic keratosis can be prevented by practicing sun protection early and throughout life. Outdoor workers, gardeners, people who live in sunny states and anyone else who is chronically exposed to the sun should be very aware of this condition. Since it is often cited as one of the most common reasons to visit a dermatologist, it is probably one of the more notable drains on Medicare and other insurance. Education about prevention and detection should eventually lower the number of people with this disease.

perfect skin magazineAs I mentioned, actinic keratosis is a pre- cancer that progresses into cancer if left untreated. About five percent of actinic keratoses, left untreated, will transform into skin cancer. Having it treated and removed is vitally important to the prevention of cancer. If you develop any of the symptoms described above, see your dermatologist.

Crutchfield Dermatology serves patients in the St. Paul, Minneapolis, Eagan and surrounding areas.

perfect skin magazineHe is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions and is medical advisor for Perfect Skin Protection magazine.

He can be contacted at

Yes, African Americans can get skin cancer!

Dark skin is not immunity, so be aware of the risks


We’ve just completed February, African American History Month. Among much else, it can serve as a fitting reminder about a myth that has persisted for too long: African Americans (and those with darker skin tones) can’t get skin cancer.

In fact, among the African American population, melanoma — the most serious kind of skin cancer — is much more deadly than among Caucasians. In fact, it does not matter what color your skin is: Everyone is prone to developing skin cancer.

You may have heard that naturally dark-skinned people have less chance of getting skin cancer, and that is true. Darker skin naturally has more melanin, the dark pigment that protects against the sun’s UV rays. But the simple fact is no one is immune to skin cancer.

The Skin Cancer Foundation shares these facts:

• The overall five-year melanoma survival rate for African Americans is only 77 percent, versus 91 percent for Caucasians.

• 52 percent of non-Hispanic Black patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients.

• Melanomas in African Americans (and other nationalities, including Asians, Filipinos and Indonesians) most often occur on non-exposed skin with less pigment. Up to 75 percent of tumors arise on the palms, soles, mucous membranes and nail regions.

• Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common skin cancer among African Americans. It tends to be more aggressive and carry a 20-40 percent risk of metastasis (spreading).

Skin cancer comprises one to two percent of all cancers in African Americans. One reason is that the familiar story about how darker skin has a higher SPF than lighter skin (which it does) has for too long translated into “My black skin dark skin prevents me from getting skin cancer” (which it doesn’t). It’s important to keep skin cancer top of mind; early diagnosis is often critical in successfully treating melanoma and other skin cancers.

The relatively higher incidences of skin cancers among Caucasians — and therefore the related training for physicians — makes it more difficult for professionals to diagnose skin cancer among African Americans and other ethnic groups. The lesions, moles and other symptoms that commonly help with a skin cancer diagnosis do not always appear as readily on someone with darker skin. Skin cancer in African Americans is also more apt to develop in harder-to-find areas such as under fingernails or toenails.

Education is one of our most effective tools to combat skin cancer. No matter what color your skin is, sun protection is the key. Use a broad spectrum sunscreen. I recommend VaniCream Broad Spectrum SPF30. Apply it 30 minutes before sun exposure and reapply it every 60 minutes. Use sun protective clothing whenever possible. I recommend Coolibar sun protective clothing (

Establish care with a board-certified dermatologist and have regular skin checks. Your dermatologist will let you know how often to have a skin exam. And remember: See spot, see spot change, see your dermatologist!


Charles E. Crutchfield III, MD is a board-certified dermatologist and Clinical Professor of Dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. He also has a private practice in Eagan, MN. He has been selected as one of the top 10 dermatologists in the U.S. by Black Enterprise magazine and one of the top 21 African American physicians in the U.S. by the Atlanta Post. Dr. Crutchfield is an active member of the Minnesota Association of Black Physicians,

Dr. Crutchfield on Weather Channel Discussing Dangers of Tanning

The Weather Channel

The weather is getting warmer and another Jersey Shore spinoff show is in the works. This can only mean one thing: It’s time to work on your tan.

Of course, if you’re among the one million Americans who frequent tanning salons each day, the winter probably didn’t stop you from reaching that ideal level of tan. Continue reading Dr. Crutchfield on Weather Channel Discussing Dangers of Tanning

Wall Street Journal

wall street journalEnd-of-Year Wellness Checkup
By JoeMullich

It’s easy toput off wellness visits to the doctor. You’re busy. It doesn’t seem urgent because you feel fine. Or you’re worried your doctor might find something is wrong. However, recommended screenings can
provide peace of mind, as well as identify potential threats such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer at an earlier stage when the chance of a successful treatment is highest. Here are some of the most vital tests toput on your wellness to-do list:

Eye Exam
The American Optometric Association says more than 43 million Americans suffer from some sort of degenerative eye disease, yet more than a third of adults don’t get regular eye exams. The eyes may or may not be the window to the soul, but they can provide a lot of information about your overall health. “Chronic conditions can present as hearing or visual abnormalities,” says Dr. Shyla High, a cardiologist and author of the upcoming book Why Most Women Die. “Blurry vision may be the only symptom of high blood pressure, for example.”The AOA recommends people have a visual exam (which checks how well you see) and an eye exam (which determines the health of the eye) once every year or two depending on age, health and medical history.

skin story wall street journalSkin Exam
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States. Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. It’s been estimated that one in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime. “The most important test for skin cancer is a comprehensive skin examination by a board certified dermatologist,” says Dr. Charles E. Crutchfield III, a clinical professor of dermatology at the University of Minnesota Medical School. “Everyone needs to have this done at least once in their lives from age 21 on—better late than never,” he says. The exam is simple: a dermatologist looks at all suspicious moles on your skin with a special microscope; if any lesions look highly suspicious, only then is a biopsy performed. “The frequency of subsequent examinations canbe determined based on the patient’s family and personal history,” adds Dr. Crutchfield.



Tanning Bed Dangers and Concerns

Dr. Crutchfield featured on Fox News discussing dangers of indoor tanning


Tanning bed dangers fox newsA new campaign was released this week by the tanning industry to show that responsible sunbed tanning is just fine for you. But reports dermatologists are fighting back, saying the ads are misleading the public.

This all stems from the founding of a new organization called the American Suntanning Association. Formed just a month ago, the coalition of sunbed centers is dedicating itself to increasing public awareness about the facts associated with moderate ultraviolet exposure and spray-on tanning. They also want to correct misinformation about sunlight and sunbeds.

Recently, dermatologists blasted the newly formed American Suntanning Association for disputing the medical consensus that tanning indoors increases the risk of skin cancers, including melanoma, the deadliest kind.

“The recent statements by the American Suntanning Association (ASA) are ridiculous and there is no data to support them,” the dermatology group said in a statement. “Indoor tanning is dangerous.”

charles crutchfield on fox newsThe ASA’s members have already mounted a huge effort to portray doctors and other health authorities as conspiring to unnecessarily scare the public about tanning. Meanwhile, the World Health Organization says ultraviolet light from sunbeds causes cancer.

DeAnn Lazovich, a cancer epidemiologist at the University of Minnesota Cancer Center, whose own research has linked sunbed use to melanoma, said the industry’s long-running efforts to cast doubt on the science are just “smoke and mirrors” and an attempt to continue selling a service linked to cancer.

The industry has argued that tanning is a good source of Vitamin D. It blames dermatologists for scaring people about exposure to the sun and inducing an epidemic of vitamin D deficiency in the process.

The tanning association is serious about fighting back. They hired the prominent public relations firm Global Strategy Group, which lists high-profile companies like Goldman Sachs, General Electric and the New York Yankees among its clients, to represent it.