Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Suntan censorshop

It's bad enough having the government tell us what to do - now local chemists are telling us how deep our suntan should be.

Lloyds Pharmacies have, for the last two months, refused to stock suntan products with a protection factor of less than 15. This is an 'ethical stance' to protect us from excessive UV exposure. 'The trouble is there is a mentality out there among worshippers of the sun that if they use factor 15 they are not going to get a tan. People think it either makes them look more attractive or healthier if they have a tan,' said Sara Hiom of Cancer Research UK, welcoming the initiative.

Getting some sun, once regarded as a pleasurable break from Britain's typically grey skies, has now been twisted into a terrible health problem. Yet there is no evidence that sun-induced skin cancers are killing thousands of people every year. In fact, only 10 percent of melanomas are malignant, usually in areas of the body not normally exposed to the sun, and similar to the rate found in Japan where sunbathing is not a fashionable pastime. But the absence of such evidence clearly hasn't stopped these busybodies from telling us how to live our lives.

It may not be entirely sensible to turn pink and peel at the first sight of sun, but the worst we can expect from the experience is sore skin. Foreigners may laugh that Brits display sunburn like a trophy, but please allow us our little pleasures.

The dangers of 'safe sun', by Dr Michael Fitzpatrick and Br?d Hehir

Chemist trumpets 'ethical ban' on low factor sunscreen, Guardian, 15 July 2003

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